CFS Standards [Click Above for a Larger Image]

Our strength standards chart came about to help everyone answer 3 really important questions about their training:

1) Where am I now?

2) Where do I need to get to for my goals?

3) Is my body in balance?

Once you have a clear picture of where these points 1 and 2 are, all you have to do is connect the dots. By contrast, if you don’t know where you are now, or where you want to get to, you’ve got a problem!

Along the way, to stay healthy, perform at your best and look after your joints, you need to also have an eye on balance. As an example: If you can bench press a house, but you can’t do a pullup, you’ve got some shoulder issues waiting to happen. Correcting that will do infinitely more for you than adding another 2kg to your bench press.

In fact, it’s much better to have a “4″ in everything than it is to have a 6 in 3 categories and a 1 in another!

This chart should be used to assist you with goal-setting, give you achievements to aim for and celebrate milestones that you’ve accomplished in your training. It should also help you spot imbalances and identify gaps you need to work on.

So how strong do you need to be for you goal? Let’s talk about what each level represents:

Level 1 – Represents the really fundamental skills, movement patterns and strength that everything else builds on. If there is anything in this section you cannot do yet, you should stop doing everything else until you can do it!

Level 2 – Is what we would generally call a “healthy beginner”. Don’t despair if you’re not there yet. It can require a reasonable amount of work, but is still achievable for almost every person who begins training before retirement age (and most of uninjured ones that start later!). The weights might look a little light to some, but the key is that they are done with 100% textbook perfect form and full range of motion. Not always easy!

If you’re not there yet, getting to this level of strength gives you a great foundation for anything else you want to do, and will do a hell of a lot to start moving your body composition in the right diretion!

Level 3 – Represents a point that many people are very happy with. You’ll feel good, you’ll probably be one of the fitter people in your social circle, and you’ll likely look pretty darn good in a t-shirt! In fact, if you can hit these standards and you’re not happy with your body composition, you have a nutrition issue, not a training issue.

You’ll also have reaped about 80% of the health benefits of being strong by this point. Your metabolism, joint health, bone density and resistance to many kinds of injuries will be in a way better place.

Level 4 – is the entry point for anyone interested in playing sports competitively or looking more athletic. I can almost guarantee you that your performance at any sport that requires you to produce force (so, all of them) will improve significantly when you reach these standards.  You’ll also turn heads in a swimsuit unless you eat like a complete asshole.

Level 5 – is becoming braggable. You can walk into a gym anywhere in the world, do these things and people will nod and say “ah yes, that person knows what they’re up to”.

Level 6 – These lifts are game-changers for most people. If you can get here, you’re usually strong enough for anything other than competing in Strength sports. It’s around this point that you’ll start to see diminishing returns outside the gym. Your physique might not really improve that much more by getting stronger than this. You might not see an awful lot more carryover onto the field once you can do everything in this section. It’s usually time for most people to start focusing more on other qualities at this stage.

Level 7 – If you’re interested in being competitive at a Strength sport (like CrossFit, Weightlifting etc), this is around the point you need to be aiming for. You’re not necessarily going to win anything yet, but you’ll be able to show up, put in a solid showing and make the other competitors sweat for their points. Getting to, or beyond this level requires dedicating a massive chunk of your life to training, and is definitely not for everyone.