T Nation

Percentage Concerns


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am fairly new to the powerlifting world and have a question.
I have many questions, but just one for now.
How concerned should I be with my percentages between my squat, bench, and dead?
I read an older article on here about roughly where your lifts should be based off your 1RM or 5RM, can't remember exactly which one it was.

Either way, is this something I should be putting energy into, bringing my lagging lift (squat) up, or just continue with my training? What my thought was, when my lifts start to go up, will the disparity between the different lifts be an issue, or cause imbalances?
I could be over thinking all this, but any thoughts or advice would help.

I am 5ft11in. 190lbsish.
Squat = 295lbs maybe 300 1RM
Bench = 250lbs 1RM
Dead = 375lbs 1RM
These numbers are from 2-3 months ago when I tested.
They could be different now obviously, but I hope this info helps.

I started Canditos program this week and am basically sticking to his template, except I am only dead lifting once a week. Also, I am throwing in one or two days of one specific Olympic lift, keeping the weight light, just because I enjoy those lifts.
Thanks to all.


If you are able to correctly squat, bench, deadlift, do any sort of clean from the floor and you can get your arms over your head to snatch, You Are Already Pretty Well Balanced. You are moving every which way, so you should stay safe from imbalances.

Nothing hurts, right?

Continue on with your training! Keep squatting! If you are making progress don’t mess it up. Maybe post a squat video to see if you have a specific weakness that is holding your squat back.

You could always squat early in the week, when energy is highest.


At a 190 bodyweight, none of your lifts are competitive, so I would focus on all of them. I don’t know why you think your squat is lagging. Lagging behind what? Everybody is different, and there are no ratios between the 3 lifts that you should be striving for. Bench press is almost entirely independent of both the squat and deadlift, and the squat and deadlift are only loosely related to each other. I’ve seen a guy squat 300 lbs more than he deadlifts, and I’ve seen a guy deadlift 300 lbs more than he squats. Both were tremendous athletes, and I wouldn’t call either ‘imbalanced’.


Take a look at strength standards like the USPA Classification for Raw Elite to get an idea of strength ratios for a general powerlifting population that competed raw in USPA. Keep in mind that these standards are just for reference since they are likely based off a normal distribution and your ratios will differ because everyone is different.

No matter which lift you want to bring up the fastest, generally you want to minimize risk for injury so you can stay in it for the long haul. Consistency over time is what makes progress. With that said, there are two common ways to approach a lagging lift. People either work hard to bring up that lift since they assume they’ll get the most returns on effort since the lift has so much room for improvement or they continue focusing on their strong lift to continue working off their strengths instead of their weaknesses (assuming these gains are more consistent). For the short term I would suggest to choose whichever method that will contribute the most to your total within the given time frame. In the long run, you have to continually get all lifts stronger to increase your total. I guess my choice for both short and long term is whatever increases your total the fastest.

Think about getting as much carryover between lifts as well. For example, if you rely a lot more on hams than quads for squat, it might be a good idea to choose a hamstring dominant style for deadlift.

IMO, you only need to worry about the disparity if it’s actually causing a problem like an injury.



…yeah, I realize none of them are near competitive, which I am not overly concerned with, but it is nice to have a reference point. My short term goals are to be at a 315lb squat, 285lb bench, and a 405lb dead. If I did not screw up this Candito program too much by slightly modifying it, I am hoping to be at those numbers relatively soon.
And like I said, I was just overthinking the possible imbalances.


Definitely overthinking. But I get it. Those things used to matter to me. These days I just work hard and hope for the best, lol.

As far as your short term goals are concerned, those are definitely reasonable, although I would expect you to hit your squat and DL before the bench goal. Hell, you could probably hit the DL number right now if you were having a really good day. 3 plate squat and 4 plate deadlift are very respectable milestones. Most people will never see those numbers.


You’re new. Just train and you’ll be fine.