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How balanced are you?

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How Much Can You Lift

by Brad Kaczmarski

 

A few years back I remember reading Charles Poliquin's article on upper body structural balance. It was very intriguing.

 

Since then, over seven years have passed. I've graduated college and trained high school, college, and pro athletes, along with regular gym goers. During this time I've been asked one question more than all of the others combined. Nearly ten to fifteen times a day I hear, on any given exercise, "What weight should I use?"

 

By sheer observation and trial and error, I was able to figure out how much weight someone could do on one lift, by how much weight they did on a different lift. I've been refining this info for a while now, and it's finally time to share it.

 

 

A Few Formalities

 

Before we dive right in, there are some important things to consider prior to using this:

 

• This is in no way scientific. It's observational.

 

• Everyone is different (age, experience, sex, injury history, training style, build, etc.). Therefore, this won't be exact, and that's okay.

 

• As stated above, it's impossible to truly do this correctly for everyone; that being said, it's pretty accurate.

 

 

Finding Your Balance

The following three percentage charts are each based off a major lift. You can use anything from a max to a ten rep set. Just be aware that it'll stay at that rep range for all the lifts and poundages given. So if you use a five rep max on the bench press chart, you'll get a five rep weight for all the lifts.

 

Deadlift Based

 

• Deadlift — 100%

 

• Back squat — 71.4 %

 

• Bench press and pull-up — 55.6 %

 

• Front squat and close-grip bench press — 50 %

 

• Hang clean — 45 %

 

• Dumbbell bench press (two dumbbell total) and one-arm row (two dumbbell total) — 43 %

 

• Push press, jerk, and dumbbell incline bench press (two dumbbell total) — 40 %

 

• Dumbbell overhead press (two dumbbell total) — 32.5 %

 

• Hammer curl (two dumbbell total) — 31.5 %

 

• Dumbbell curl (two dumbbell total), barbell curl, and dumbbell overhead triceps extension (one dumbbell) — 30 %

 

• Bulgarian squat (weighted) — 27.5 %

 

• Lunge (weighted), split squat (weighted), and press-down — 25 %

 

• E-Z bar skull crusher — 24 %

 

• Dumbbell skull crusher (two dumbbell total), preacher curl, and concentration curl (two dumbbell total) — 22 %

 

• Seated calf raise and pec fly (two dumbbell total) — 20 %

 

• Single-leg Romanian deadlift (one dumbbell) and standing calf raise (one dumbbell) — 13 %

 

Back Squat Based

 

• Back squat — 100 %

 

• Bench press and pull-up — 77.8 %

 

• Front squat and close-grip bench press — 70 %

 

• Hang clean — 63 %

 

• Dumbbell bench press (two dumbbell total) and one-arm row (two dumbbell total) — 60 %

 

• Push press, jerk, and dumbbell incline bench press (two dumbbell total) — 56 %

 

• Dumbbell overhead press (two dumbbell total) — 45.5 %

 

• Hammer curl (two dumbbell total) — 44 %

 

• Dumbbell curl (two dumbbell total), barbell curl, and one-dumbbell overhead triceps extension (one dumbbell) — 42 %

 

• Bulgarian squat (weighted) — 38.5 %

 

• Lunge (weighted), split squat (weighted), and press-down — 35 %

 

• E-Z bar skull crusher — 33.6 %

 

• Dumbbell skull crusher (two dumbbell total), preacher curl, and concentration curl (two dumbbell total) — 30.8 %

 

• Seated calf raise and pec fly (two dumbbell total) — 28 %

 

• Single-leg Romanian deadlift (one dumbbell) and standing calf raise (one dumbbell) — 18.2 %

 

• Deadlift — 140 %

 

Bench Press Based

 

• Bench press — 100 %

 

• Front squat and close-grip bench press — 90 %

 

• Hang clean — 81 %

 

• Dumbbell bench press (two dumbbell total) and one-arm row (two dumbbell total) — 77.3 %

 

• Push press, jerk, and dumbbell incline bench press (two dumbbell total) — 72 %

 

• Dumbbell overhead press (two dumbbell total) — 58.4 %

 

• Hammer curl (two dumbbell total) — 56.6 %

 

• Dumbbell curl (two dumbbell total), barbell curl, and dumbbell overhead triceps extension (two dumbbell total) — 54 %

 

• Bulgarian squat (weighted) — 49.4 %

 

• Lunge (weighted), split squat (weighted), and press-down — 45 %

 

• E-Z bar skull crusher — 43 %

 

• Dumbbell skull crusher (two dumbbell total), preacher curl, and concentration curl (two dumbbell total) — 39.5 %

 

• Seated calf raise and pec fly (two dumbbell total) — 36 %

 

• Single-leg Romanian deadlift (one dumbbell) and standing calf raise (one dumbbell) — 23.3 %

 

• Back squat — 128 %

 

• Deadlift — 179 %

 

Front Squat and Close-Grip Bench Press Based

 

• Front squat and close-grip bench press — 100 %

 

• Hang clean — 90 %

 

• Dumbbell bench press (two dumbbell total) and one-arm row (two dumbbell total) — 86 %

 

• Push press, jerk, and dumbbell incline bench press (two dumbbell total) — 80 %

 

• Dumbbell overhead press (two dumbbell total) — 65 %

 

• Hammer curl (two dumbbell total) — 63 %

 

• Dumbbell curl (two dumbbell total), barbell curl, and dumbbell overhead triceps extension (one dumbbell) — 60 %

 

• Bulgarian squat (weighted) — 55 %

 

• Lunge (weighted), split squat (weighted), and press-down — 50 %

 

• E-Z bar skull crusher — 48 %

 

• Dumbbell skull crusher (two dumbbell total), preacher curl, and concentration curl (two dumbbell total) — 44 %

 

• Seated calf raise and pec fly (two dumbbell total) — 40 %

 

• Single-leg Romanian deadlift (one dumbbell) and standing calf raise (one dumbbell) — 26 %

 

• Deadlift — 200 %

 

• Back squat — 142 %

 

• Bench press and pull-up — 111 %

 

 

Calling All Curl Junkies

 

This final percentage chart is humbling for anybody, but especially you curl junkies. Be prepared to complain, cry, or maybe do both when you see how much you should be lifting based off the weight you curl. Remember, cheat curls will bump up your weights on everything else making it inaccurate, so try to be as true to strict form as possible.

 

Dumbbell Curl, Barbell Curl, or Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension Based

 

• Dumbbell curl, barbell curl, dumbbell overhead triceps extension — 100 %

 

• Deadlift — 333 %

 

• Back squat — 238 %

 

• Bench press and pull-up — 185 %

 

• Front squat and close-grip bench press — 166 %

 

• Hang clean — 150 %

 

• Dumbbell bench press (two dumbbell total) and one-arm dumbbell row (two dumbbell total) — 143 %

 

• Push press and jerk — 133 %

 

• Dumbbell overhead press (two dumbbell total) — 108 %

 

• Hammer curls (two dumbbell total) — 105 %

 

• Bulgarian squat (weighted) — 91 %

 

• Lunge (weighted), split squat (weighted), and press-down — 83 %

 

• E-Z bar skull crusher — 80 %

 

• Dumbbell skull crusher (two dumbbells total), preacher curl, and concentration curl (two dumbbell total) — 73 %

 

• Seated calf raise and pec fly (two dumbbell total) — 66 %

 

• Single-leg Romanian deadlift (one dumbbell) and standing calf raise (one dumbbell) — 43 %

 

 

How Balanced Are You?

 

Now it's time to breakout your training logs and calculators and start crunching those numbers.

 

Let the madness begin.

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If you want to, and i would suggest doing it, pick one of the categories(more if you want), work out your weight and then put your percentage in bold next the 'should be' percentage.

 

 

If you want to, and i would suggest doing it, pick one of the categories(more if you want), work out your weight and then put your percentage in bold next the 'should be' percentage.

 

This is me for example:

 

Deadlift Based

 

• Deadlift — 100% - 210kg

 

• Back squat — 71.4 % - 73.8%

 

• Bench press and pull-up — 55.6 % BP- 52.38%

 

• Front squat and close-grip bench press — 50 % - front squat= 66.6% close grip bench= 50.0%

 

• Hang clean — 45 % - 38.1%

 

• Dumbbell bench press (two dumbbell total) and one-arm row (two dumbbell total) — 43 % - DB bench = 42.85% one arm row = 47.6%

 

• Push press, jerk, and dumbbell incline bench press (two dumbbell total) — 40 % - PP= 40.4% jerk = 41%

 

• Dumbbell overhead press (two dumbbell total) — 32.5 % - 30.95%

 

• Hammer curl (two dumbbell total) — 31.5 % - NA

 

• Dumbbell curl (two dumbbell total), barbell curl, and dumbbell overhead triceps extension (one dumbbell) — 30 % DB curl= 23%, BB curl = 28.5%

 

• Bulgarian squat (weighted) — 27.5 %- NA

• Lunge (weighted), split squat (weighted), and press-down — 25 % lunge =38.1%

 

• E-Z bar skull crusher — 24 % - 21.4%

 

• Dumbbell skull crusher (two dumbbell total), preacher curl, and concentration curl (two dumbbell total) — 22 % -NA

 

• Seated calf raise and pec fly (two dumbbell total) — 20 % - NA

 

• Single-leg Romanian deadlift (one dumbbell) and standing calf raise (one dumbbell) — 13 % - NA

 

 

 

 

Interested to see some people's weaknesses and strengths. Obviously not entirely accurate as stated, but a great guide nonetheless

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Simon, I assume it means raw lifts, like if your dead is raw, you use your raw squat, bench etc. I never use any equipment, so you other guys posting up, you cant count your shirted bench and wrapped squat.

 

As a side note, other than Spiros NOBODY is yet to do a 4 plate squat in my gym raw, plenty over, but none raw.

 

 

 

Deadlift Based

 

• Deadlift — 100% 210kg

 

• Back squat — 71.4 % 86%

 

• Bench press and pull-up — 55.6 %71.5%

 

• Front squat and close-grip bench press — 50 % NA

 

• Hang clean — 45 % 48%

 

• Dumbbell bench press (two dumbbell total) and one-arm row (two dumbbell total) — 43 % NA

 

• Push press, jerk, and dumbbell incline bench press (two dumbbell total) — 40 % NA

 

• Dumbbell overhead press (two dumbbell total) — 32.5 % 43%

 

• Hammer curl (two dumbbell total) — 31.5 % 33.5%

 

• Dumbbell curl (two dumbbell total), barbell curl, and dumbbell overhead triceps extension (one dumbbell) — 30 % 38%

 

• Bulgarian squat (weighted) — 27.5 % NA

 

• Lunge (weighted), split squat (weighted), and press-down — 25 % NA

 

• E-Z bar skull crusher — 24 % NA

 

• Dumbbell skull crusher (two dumbbell total), preacher curl, and concentration curl (two dumbbell total) — 22 % NA

 

• Seated calf raise and pec fly (two dumbbell total) — 20 % NA

 

• Single-leg Romanian deadlift (one dumbbell) and standing calf raise (one dumbbell) — 13 % NA

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sorry, i actually used my raw bench of 115, but forgot i used knee wraps on the 180. Will change that to 155 then. :)

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so from that markos we could probably conclude that your deadlift needs a little work... all your other lifts are comparitively stronger than they should be...?

 

*edit* am I schizophrenic or did markos just have his numbers up there.. :S

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Limb lengths play a role, plus I'm not sure of the accuracy. I think the squat and dead should be much closer, everything else seems about right.

 

My deadlift definitely needs work, no question, but I have short arms, thats why my bench and overhead press score is so high compared to my dead.

 

Its not a back weakness, see my hang clean score is higher than the average, its just a leverage issue with deadlifts.

 

Simon has long arms, his bench and overhead DB is below average, mine is miles higher. You would assume his back is strong by his dead, but his hang clean is way under average, again hampered by long arms.

 

Pretty good test though.

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Markos or Simon can you work out mine, my calculator is broken......or it's not broken, I just don't know how to use it...that percent sign thingy is throwing me off :/

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I dont know your raw 1RM Mike.

 

Here is an easy way for you. Say you Dead 165kg. Type in 165 x 77%, it will give you 134.75. If you squat more than that, try 78%, if its less, try 76%. Easy and effective for you.

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type it in google if you want an easy way. 70% of 132.4567 and it will tell you :yes:

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WELL did it with deadlift based . based on 1rm maxes

 

and squat is above that andbench is right and hang cleans , DB Curls need a lot of work and a few others i dont really know coz have not done them for such a long time. overhead db press mine is about 7kg below. what that says. so judging from it i got a bit of work to do. but the whole formula thing gives a fairly good indication

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