How Strength Level Calculates Your Overall Strength

We recently added overall ranking to user profiles to help you compare yourself to other lifters. The overall ranking is based on your total in the Big-3 exercises — bench press, squat and deadlift.

What does it look like?

Here is an example profile. Jack Hudson has been lifting consistently for a couple of years:

Overall Rating in Training Log

We add up his maximum lifts from bench, squat and deadlift, to give an estimated total of 500 kg. We then compare Jack’s total to other lifters at his body weight and find that he is stronger than 62% of lifters and has Intermediate relative strength.

How do we set the standards?

Strength Level calculates thousands of lifts every day. We take the lifters who do all three big lifts and calculate their totals. From this list of totals, we can count how many people can lift 300, 400, 500, 600 kg. We find your position in that list and show you the percentage of people you are stronger than.

We also take into account your body weight. We put people of different body weights into different lists, so that when you submit your lifts, we find the appropriate list for you and report your place in that list.

Conclusions

We hope this will give you some motivation to be an all-round lifter. Make sure you add a max lift for bench press, squat and deadlift, otherwise your overall ranking will be lower than you deserve.

Go to your Training Log

How to easily track your bodyweight

When you add your workouts on Strength Level, we ask you for your latest lifts and what bodyweight you were at the time. This allows us to accurately estimate how strong you are compared to other lifters at your bodyweight. The purpose is to see whether you are getting stronger and to adapt your routine to continue strength gains.

One of the reasons this approach is better than tracking your lifts and bodyweight separately is that there is less to think about. Either you are getting more athletic or you are not. There is no need to worry that your eating is exceeding your strength gains because everything is combined into a rating you can track. It helps you to relax your concerns about bulking muscle or cutting fat and simply concentrate on getting stronger.

We found that some of our users wanted to understand how their bodyweight changes over months of consistent lifting. This is why we added a bodyweight chart to the My Profile page. We show you the days you lifted, and what bodyweight you were on those days:

Bodyweight Graph

Instead of showing you every workout, we wanted to keep it simple and only show you when your weight changes:

Bodyweight Table

We hope you find your bodyweight chart useful and continue to make strength gains using Strength Level.

Rating strength better, the early years of Strength Level

Strength Level began with a post back in 2007. Back then I was breaking my own lifting records weekly and training over 5 times a week in the gym. I noticed back then I was not always just increasing muscle mass. If I ate a lot I would also put on fat. I wanted a way of detecting this so that you would realise that more strength is not always a good thing if you are becoming less athletic overall.

The first weekend

I came up with the idea during lunch at college and coded the first version that weekend.

I have created a new Internet utility to measure strength levels. It is unfair to judge strength on the magnitude of weight lifted alone, or even as a ratio to bodyweight because people are built in different ways.

This is what the first version looked like:

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 13.16.12

How did I create the strength levels? The source data was ExRx.net’s strength standards. I copied these standards into an Excel spreadsheet and used a mathematical technique (linear regression) to come up with a formula.

The strength ability calculator processes data on experience against bodyweight and weight lifted and calculates an experience level. These levels generally range from untrained (1) to elite (5). Of course the top professionals and world record holders exceed this range and some people may not reach untrained.

I used the new calculator to find the strongest powerlifters pound-for-pound. Konstantin Konstantinovs received 8.49 for his massive 430 kg deadlift at 125 kg body mass. This beat Andy Bolton’s world record deadlift of 460 kg  at 160 kg bodyweight, rated at 7.97. I felt that the calculator was showing me a number corresponding better to the physique of the lifter than any other rating I had seen.

Detecting imbalances in the body

I tried to refine the description back in 2009. At that point, I was very strong at the deadlift, and intermediate in the bench press. However, my squat was about 60 kg (absolute beginner). I wanted to detect these imbalances in the body so that I could work on my weak points.

… bodyweight affects your health, your strength level should be consistently high across all the main compound exercises. For a normal body type, a strength level of 3 indicates that you are strong and athletic. If the levels vary across the exercises it is a bad indicator: young lifters often overdevelop their chests without thought to their back or legs.

I wanted to provide lifters with advice to work on these imbalances:

My strength ability calculator can be used for more than gauging strength in compound exercises. An athlete with a strength level over intermediate (3) in every compound exercise will have an impressive physique. To have a balanced physique the levels should not vary — there should be no weak points. Put additional effort on ironing out these problem areas.

Using it myself to get stronger

I built the tool because I wanted to use it. My goal was to become advanced in every exercise by improving my technique and losing body fat. This meant I had to get these 1RM with the original standards:

Exercise Target 1RM /kg
Clean and press 77
Bench press 122
Power clean 114
Deadlift 192
Squat 167

I never made it to advanced across the board, but I still believe in the original concepts of balance and overall athleticism. These days, I work on my squat the most and it is no longer a weakness.