T Nation

Lifting Percentage

Not sure where this belongs, but I’ll start here. I have read several rreplies here that made statements like, “your (military press, squat, deadlift, etc.) seems low compared to your bench”. My question, is ther some kind of percentage scale I should be working by? I mean, if I bench 100 lbs, how much should I be able to miltary press, or squat, deadlift, etc? Seems like there would be some kind of scale I could use to find out where I’m weak at so I know what needs the most work.

You don’t need to work by it but a fairly typical situation would be military press 2/3 of bench press.

It would be reasonable to total three times as much in combined squat and deadlift than what one has in the bench press. For example, if someone can bench 300 and total 900 in the squat and DL, they’re not weak in either upper or lower body. But if someone can bench 300 but their squat and DL total out to say 500 lb, then yes that would be a sign that training priorities haven’t been right and need to be adjusted.

You may well have used 100 lb simply as an arithmetically convenient value, but if you meant it literally, at that strength level all the major lifts should be worked hard. It would not be the case that one would choose to back off of one as it was “strong enough already” or “out of proportion.”

Percentage is based on 100. So I can say that military press is 66% of my bench, an easy calculation. If I bench 325, then I can calculate that I should military press 215. If combined squat & deadlift is 3X bench, how is that calculated? Using your example, should it be split 50/50 or can it be 60/40? Should I be getting 450 on each or does it matter if I get 400 on 1 and 500 on the other, aas long as my total is 900? What about curls, rows, incline or decline bench? I’m just wondering.

Lifters will vary on how their squat and DL relate.

Combining them is just a way of reducing effect of individual variation when considering “overall” strength.

A traditional set of standards is the 300/400/500 lb bench/squat/DL.

But, you may not happen to be built with leverages that work out that way.

If it happened that your DL and squat were instead for example 450 each – assuming the squat was parallel, not a partial – then that would still be comparably strong overall.

There would be no indication of an error or imbalance in your training: more likely you’d just have a different structure than another lifter who also totals 900 lb between the lifts but divides it as squat 400, DL 500.

Some coaches have come up with values for other exercises such as curls, but I haven’t made any record of them. Probably someone will contribute that, which will be helpful.

On rows, a good general (but only general) value is rowing roughly comparable to benching.

Incline bench is typically moderately less than the flat bench; decline is often about the same as the flat bench.

But let’s say for example that your incline bench was only 2/3 the flat bench: I think it would be fair to say that that would be a sign that inclines need more work.

I can’t give any precise figures though, but also there doesn’t seem to be need for them. It’s more a question of picking or creating good programs and sticking with them, and noticing weaknesses, when they exist, in usually other ways than calculation of ratios.