How to Estimate Your Weightlifting 1 Rep Max
Written by Fritz Nugent

I know you all love math as much as I do, so I decided to share with you all the numbers that flow through my head during weightlifting class. 

What is your 1 Rep Max Potential?

How do you determine your potential for snatch and clean and jerk based off of your squat maxes?  

Here’s the math. You can start with your squats.

Estimate Your 1 Rep Max Front Squat Potential from Your Back Squat

Front squat should be about 80% of your back squat. If your front squat and back squat are almost the same (greater than 80%), then you may have strong quads and a weak posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and adductors). This type of athlete’s back squat and deadlift maximums will often be similar. If your back squat is way higher than your front squat, then you may be missing out on some quad strength and are a hip-dominant athlete. With this type of athlete, there is usually a large difference between back squat and deadlift, with the deadlift much higher. So based off of your back squat, you can estimate where your front squat should be. 

Estimate Your 1 Rep Max Clean & Jerk Potential from Your Front Squat

Take 90% of your front squat 1RM and you have your 1RM clean potential. If you have a strong jerk, you should be able to jerk that weight, too. 

Estimate Your 1 Rep Max Snatch Potential from Your Clean & Jerk

And any well-balanced Olympic weightlifter’s snatch should be about 80% of their clean and jerk!  

Example of a Balanced Athlete’s Numbers

Here’s an illustration of a hypothetical well-balanced athlete with sound technique:

– 350 lb Deadlift

– 300 lb Back Squat (85% of Deadlift)

– 240 lb Front Squat (80% of Back Squat)

– 216 lb Clean and Jerk (90% of Front Squat)

– 172 lb Snatch (80% of Clean and Jerk)

If I saw those numbers for an athlete, I would say, “Wow, you’re a really well-balanced athlete”

Example of an Athlete With Potential for Higher Oly Lifts

What I see most of the time, even with very good lifters, are discrepancies. For example:

– 270 lb Deadlift

– 240 lb Back Squat (89% of Deadlift, suggesting weak posterior chain)

– 220 lb Front Squat (92% of Back Squat, suggesting a weak posterior chain)

– 175 lb Clean and Jerk (80% of Front Squat, suggesting their technique on the Clean and/or Jerk needs work because they are 23 lbs below where they COULD be with optimal technique)

– 130 lb Snatch (74% of Clean and Jerk, and remember that C&J is below where it should be, so this snatch is way below their potential based on their squat strength. Technical improvements here would yield significant gains!)

Example of an Athlete With Potential for Improved Strength Balance

Now, let’s get personal. I was not a great weightlifter. I loved weightlifting, and I still do. Here are my PR’s from when I was training heavily (not current):

– 486 lb Deadlift

– 365 lb Back Squat (75% of Deadlift, suggests very posterior-chain dominant. Side note: I could Power Clean 290 and only Clean 275)

– 276 lb Front Squat (76% of Back Squat, suggests weak anterior chain strength, limb lengths not suited for squatting, and limited joint range of motion)

– 275 lb Clean and Jerk (99.6% of Front Squat, suggests my Clean technique is really, really good, but if my front squat was where it COULD have been, my clean could also have been higher)

– 222 lb Snatch (81% of C&J, suggests my training was well-balanced)

How Much Should You be Able to Snatch and Clean & Jerk?

What are your PR’s? I’d be happy to do an assessment for you to show you where you stack up, and what your potential is.  Send me your data!


Back Squat

Front Squat

Clean and Jerk


Everyone is Different – Train Based on Your Goals

Something interesting to keep in mind with these ratios is that everyone is a little different, and some people are VERY different. 

Take me for an example: my quads might have been weak, or maybe I have poor ankle mobility and long femurs…I do, from years of track and field. In that sport, long femurs are an advantage to many events in the decathlon, and poor ankle mobility could be tied to increased muscle-tendon stiffness of the ankle joint which is an advantage by increasing ground reaction force, which increases sprint speed. A decathlete who can sprint faster garners big points in the 100m and 400m, long jumps further, pole vaults higher, and those stiff tendons also allow for a higher high jump and quicker force transfer during throwing events like the shot put, discus, and javelin. One could argue that even the 1500m, the final event in the decathlon, is positively affected by increases in rate of force development facilitated by muscle tendon stiffness

Moral of the story here is to keep in mind the athlete’s goals. If success in Olympic Weightlifting is paramount, then I’d better shorten my femurs and mobilize the shit outta my ankles! 😉

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May 1, 2024 6:42 am

If I squat 135 for 12 with perfect form what should be my max

Matt Johnson
Matt Johnson
December 24, 2023 10:22 pm

Just dropping these off for an analysis if you are still doing them! Thanks! Happy Holidays!!

Deadlift 405

Back Squat 315

Front Squat 285

Clean and Jerk 225

Snatch 165

November 17, 2023 10:18 am

Hey! Would love to hear insight if you’re still doing assessments.
5’ Female 30y/o prior gymnast
Only one year into CF

Deadlift 210
Back Squat 230
Front Squat 175
Clean and Jerk 125
Snatch 95

Struggle with grip strength on DL a lot. Deadlift would be heavier if my arms / grip strength could keep up with my legs.

Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong
January 26, 2023 7:41 pm

Hey Fritz, not sure if you’re still doing assessments or not, but if so I’d love to get a clearer picture for myself.

Deadlift – 405
Back Squat – 355
Front Squat – 315
C&J – 265
Snatch – 215

Thanks for any insight!

November 8, 2022 8:08 pm

Hi Fritz! Are you still making assessments?

Would love to understand more.

Deadlift – 380#
Back Squat – 255#
Front Squat – 220#
C&J – 165#
Snatch – 105#

I realize I have some work to do dripping below the bar with my shoulder on the snatch.

November 8, 2022 8:08 pm
Reply to  Lisa

Dropping 🤣

Tyler Brinson
Tyler Brinson
August 22, 2022 7:55 pm

This article had great information.

Deadlift 545
Back squat 380
Front squat 335
Clean and jerk 315
Snatch 241

May 13, 2022 7:12 am

Hey Fritz,

Thank you in advance for looking at this, there is some excellent advice and feedback below, appreciate you taking the time.

Deadlift – #418

Back Squat #275

Front Squat #264

Clean and Jerk #176 (can power clean #202) struggle with the Jerk tho.

Snatch #110 (can power #154)

My numbers are all over the place, mobility (ankle & shoulders) and technique are areas of improvement.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rich
Katie McGowan
Katie McGowan
March 19, 2022 7:16 pm

This article is so interesting.

Deadlift 285#

Back squat 205#

Front squat 175#

Clean and Jerk 155#

Snatch 115#

Thank you,

Jenna Razeq
Jenna Razeq
March 5, 2022 10:00 pm


Deadlift 350

Back Squat 270

Front Squat 225

Clean and Jerk 185

Snatch 145
Thank you 🙂

March 5, 2022 4:53 am

Very interesting article, thank you.
Martine, 63 years old. Weighlifting pretty difficult for me.

Dead lift: 198 lbs

Back squat: 150 lbs

Front squat: 123 lbs

Clean and jerk: 84 lbs

Snatch: 62 lbs

Thank you for your feedback

March 4, 2022 8:43 pm

Hi Fritz, Great article to read, thank you. I’ve been Olympic lifting for about 9 months now. I feel relatively strong in my Back Squat and Deadlift but feel my technique and mobility is lacking and holding me back after an initial period of improvement. Improvements now are coming but at a relatively slow pace – which is fine as not wanting to rush anything and focus on form but feedback on the below is greatly appreciated. Deadlift: 400 lbs (I didn’t push too hard when I did this as I was returning from a lower back injury. I haven’t… Read more »

March 10, 2022 1:27 pm
Reply to  Fritz

Thanks Fritz, enjoy the vacation!

April 6, 2022 3:40 am
Reply to  Fritz

Hi Fritz, hope you had a great vacation! Sorry to be cheeky and follow up but would be hugely appreciative if you get a chance to post your thoughts on the above 1RMs. Thank you in advance! Manders

April 7, 2022 12:01 am
Reply to  Fritz

Hi Fritz, Firstly, the pictures of the Inca trail looking incredible! It’s on our list to visit at some point in the future. Secondly, a huge thank you for taking the time and effort to respond and with as much detail as you have. It is invaluable and zero offence taken – quite the opposite in fact. In terms my femurs – they are not long. I actually have a very long torso in comparison to my legs. I am 5ft 11in with an inside leg of 30in so I should be built for squatting! Especially as my background is… Read more »

March 4, 2022 4:00 pm

Deadlift – 475

Back Squat – 376

Front Squat – 320

Clean and Jerk – 255

Snatch – 215

Last edited 2 years ago by Adam
March 11, 2022 4:44 pm
Reply to  Fritz

Awesome! Have a great vacation!!

May 12, 2022 12:25 pm
Reply to  Fritz

you still on vacation?

March 4, 2022 3:55 pm

50+ female, 135#, former competitive tennis player then distance runner, then 1-time triathlete (Ironman). Started resistance training in 2018, and oly in 2021 after a horrible car accident that left me with two herniated discs. I started slow and light. But with Jared’s 3-day programming I’ve seen great improvements in my numbers after 6 months.
Deadlift: 200
Back Squat: 170
Front Squat: 135
Clean + Jerk: 130
Snatch: 95

March 9, 2022 10:04 am
Reply to  Tina

Hey Tina! Thanks for posting. I’m the author, Fritz. Happy to hear that you have had success working with Jarod’s 3-day OLY programming! I’m glad that you have healed up seemingly well since your accident. First off, I ran your PR’s against the USA Weightlifting Master’s Qualifying totals (your weightlifting PR total is 225 lbs) and you are well over the mark there. For international world championships, you are also over their qualification standard, too! So similar to Candy below (and two other master’s females who I have looked at just this month), you are ALL good enough weightlifters to… Read more »

March 21, 2022 10:52 am
Reply to  Fritz

Hi Fritz! Thank you so much for your response. So interesting… I used to do a ton of plyo and conditioning, but really backed off after my accident. It seems accurate that I am not as fast/aggressive. Have never lifted in competition- I’m still just learning! Really appreciate the comments- do you coach remotely? I hope you’re enjoying your vacation!

Tina Wilson
Tina Wilson
January 2, 2023 10:00 pm
Reply to  Fritz

Hey Fritz, I just saw you replied back to me now😲 I have been following Jared’s programming on my own at home or a gym. I tape all my lifts and watch a lot of instagram videos to improve. I don’t belong to a CrossFit gym and weightlifting doesn’t seem to be very common anywhere else so I just lift alone mostly. I’m going to look you up and reach out to you bc I’m not progressing the way I’d like to!

Aron Megyik
Aron Megyik
March 1, 2022 12:30 am

Deadlift: 418 lbs
Back Squat: 341 lbs (81% of the DL)
Front Squat: 302 lbs (88%of the BSQ)
Clean and Jerk: 267 lbs (88% of the FSQ) My 1RM Clean is 286 lbs, which is 95.5% of the FSQ, so the limiting factor is obv. the Jerk
Snatch: 209 lbs (78% of the CL+J)
Looks kinda all right, but i know i have huge leaks at the snatch form, since my 1RM OHS is around 265lbs.
Also my posterior chain is very weak. There is so much room for improvement damn.

March 2, 2022 9:51 am
Reply to  Aron Megyik

Hey Aron, thanks for your comment. I’m the author, Fritz. Your front squat is a high percentage of your back squat, suggesting that you may benefit from adding more posterior chain accessory work into your training (RDL, good mornings, GHD hip extensions, and reverse hypers). Your snatch to C&J ratio looks good. Your 265 lb overhead squat is massive compared to your front squat! You are right – there’s a TON of room for improvement in your snatch. The fact that you can squat much more than you can pull under for the snatch suggests two things to me –… Read more »

Aron Megyik
Aron Megyik
March 4, 2022 2:35 am
Reply to  Fritz

Hey! Thank you for taking the time to reply. Funny, but everything which you say sounds exactly right, and exactly how i feel. As soon as i can get back into routine again (no proper access to gym, and also covid positiv at the moment), will try to imply these drills, because i can feel they are really the parts of my movements, where i need the extra work. Maybe lower a little the % work, and add instead a few sets from these. Unfortunately i train alone, without any help or feedback, and it does not make my case… Read more »

March 4, 2022 10:26 am
Reply to  Aron Megyik

Wishing you a speedy recovery! I look forward to hearing from you in a few months, Aron.

Aron Megyik
Aron Megyik
January 25, 2023 6:00 am
Reply to  Fritz

Hey, It is really nice of you to come back to this topic and check on me. Unfortunately didn’t really have too much opportunity in the last year to evolve in weightlifting, not to mention fitness wise. Still looking for the best solutions in this matter, hopefully sooner than later will something show up, and I can continue right where I’ve left it. In the meantime, still doing some fitness, mostly outdoor or in the living room, following the competition program and try to not lose myself. We’ll see in under what condition can we get back to this topic… Read more »

Candy Olkey
Candy Olkey
February 28, 2022 1:12 pm

50 yr old female – 4’11” tall – approx 130-135 # Always led an active lifestyle…but until 2014 it was mostly running. Started CF in 2014 (following Invictus since 2015) and have never looked back. No home gym, have VERY well equipped garage gym. Coaching only through Invictus online since early 2015. Taking 1RM from the past year only. Seems a bit more realistic at this point. Deadlift – 235# Back Squat – 185# Front Squat – 158# C&J – 125# (SC w/o Jerk 130# / PC 120#) Snatch – 100# ***Goals*** It’s always an amazing feeling to PR..but lets… Read more »

March 4, 2022 10:22 am
Reply to  Candy Olkey

Hey Candy! Thank you for your post. I’m the author, Fritz. We coaches ARE available to you, and all you have to do is ask! So thank you for doing so. Let’s break down your percentages, shall we? back squat / deadlift = 78%. This suggests a strong deadlift, good. front squat / back squat = 85%. This is a bit high, meaning your front squat is strong compared to your back squat. Similar to Aron, the other person who posted on this article thread, you may benefit from adding or increasing the amount of posterior chain training that you… Read more »

Candy Olkey
Candy Olkey
March 5, 2022 7:30 am
Reply to  Fritz

Thanx so much for your insight Fritz! I would never be offended by any of the suggestions you have. Matter of fact you are fairly spot on. I have a strong back and my core strength is probably above average. I know for a fact that I use those 2 things to my “advantage” even though I know it’s not correct. But I cannot seem to fix that. One thing I notice with squats…my decent is far too slow the heavier the load gets, and my turn around time in the hole is not quick enough either. I also know… Read more »

March 7, 2022 11:57 am
Reply to  Candy Olkey

Candy, I would have to see videos of you squatting, especially front squat, to see where the strength/power leaks are coming from. To improve the speed out of the bottom of your squat, you can perform lighter and faster full ROM box squats with a 40X1 tempo to really focus on DRIVING AGGRESSIVELY out of the hole as soon as your back side taps the box. IF you lose tension at the bottom of your squat, then add height to the box until you can maintain tension. You can perform this drill with front and back squats. If you want… Read more »

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