Benchmark weights for various lifts.

Discussion in 'Barbell' started by Kozushi, May 16, 2018.

  1. Kozushi

    Kozushi Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum

    A friend at judo who is a "serious lifter" and I talk a lot about lifting, and he pointed out some benchmark goals for different barbell lifts. I wonder what y'all think about them:

    2X bodyweight:


    1.5X bodyweight:

    bench press

    1X bodyweight:

    overhead press

    This also got me thinking about how kettlebells compare to this. I get the impression that the only kind of kettlebell moves that can compete with barbells for "pure strength" are presses and curls. This may be why Pavel sets 1/2 bodyweight pressing and TGUing as the ultimate goal for us in ROP and S&S Sinister, if the barbell benchmark is your full bodyweight in two hands. At the same time, this kind of benchmark makes me think of the TGU or overhead press as being a full-out full-strength move that can compete with any "serious lifting" move, and maybe why I always felt the TGUs in S&S were just as important as the swings. (Sorry, maybe this has turned more into a kettlebell post than barbell.)

    Another thought is that by analogy thinking of my ring dips as comparable to the bench press, my bodyweight only dips are too light. I should attach a 48kg kettlebell to me to get to the 1.5 bodyweight level.
  2. Papa Georgio

    Papa Georgio Double-Digit Post Count

    I heard an interview with Mark Rippetoe where he said that a 200lb guy on his program should be able to realistically work up to:
    500 deadlift
    400 squat
    300 bench press
    200 military press

    These are all 1RM

    Hope you ain't lactose intolerant. Cus you be drinking a gallon of milk a day
    Kozushi likes this.
  3. adam80

    adam80 Triple-Digit Post Count

    Rippetoe's numbers look about right for a younger, coached, injury free, healthy guy. It seems to get a bit tougher beyond that point for a lot of guys.

    Here are Dan John's benchmarks for men from the post Strength Standards…Sleepless in Seattle

    For Men:
    Expected = Bodyweight bench press
    Game-changer = Bodyweight bench press for 15 reps
    Expected = 5 pullups
    Game-changer = 15 pullups
    Expected = Bodyweight to 150% bodyweight deadlift
    Game-changer = Double-bodyweight deadlift
    Expected = Bodyweight squat
    Game-changer = Bodyweight squat for 15 reps
    Loaded Carry
    Expected = Farmer walk with total bodyweight (half per hand)
    Game-changer =Bodyweight per hand
    One left and right, done with a half-filled cup of water
  4. LukeV

    LukeV Triple-Digit Post Count

    Any idea what distance is referred to here?
  5. adam80

    adam80 Triple-Digit Post Count

    It doesn't seem to say in the article. Perhaps someone who's read "Intervention" (the book from which they're from) can chime in with more info.
  6. LukeV

    LukeV Triple-Digit Post Count

    Just did a quick search. In a 2016 post here on StrongFirst Dan John is quoted as saying bodyweight for 100 yards (90 metres for we progressives) is the strength test for farmer's walk. Assumedly that's half bodyweight in each hand
    adam80 likes this.
  7. jca17

    jca17 Helping Make Others Stronger

    Those look like pretty solid barbell goals, along the lines of what I've heard many coaches say is the point of diminishing returns for most athletes apart from the strength-sports.
    They are also the numbers that many novice barbell programs tend to indicate they will get you too.

    I agree that the military press is one of the only purely grind strength kettlebell moves comparable to barbell grinds. Other possibilities include renegade row (recommended to use a stable platform for off hand instead of a kettlebell for safety), double kettlebell front squats, if you go full range of motion: deep and upright torso.
    Then again, we also have side press and bent press. So all the varieties of one arm pressing are great grinds with the proprioceptive feedback of the kettlebell.

    I wouldn't count the curl as a good kettlebell grind. The curl is "imposed" on the kettlebell, rather than the kettlebell being a natural choice for the motion. The crush grip or goblet grip curl are solid, but not ideal. With dumbells, you can train each arm separately, whereas with kettlebell you need to intentionally loosen your grip so that the handle can slide, and the bell runs into your forearm towards the end range of motion if you try one arm at a time. If you want to train both arms at the same time, then a barbell or curling bar are the better choice and allow you to progress the load more specifically. They also allow call for shoulders more externally rotated, which is nice. Kettlebell curls are better than no curls, but they are a side dish of the kettlebell world, and one of the moves where they are probably the least ideal implement (compared to dumbells, barbells, and just plain chin-ups).
    Kozushi likes this.
  8. KIWI5

    KIWI5 Helping Make Others Stronger

    I'm pumped to be meeting the 'expected' standards from Dan John- but the 'half filled' cup of water seems a bit too easy- I get that the TGU is a control movement, but I'd love to hear Dan's rationale behind the 'half cup of water'. What size base on the cup? Paper cup? Tea Cup? EDIT: My dumbells only go to 29.5kg, so at a body weight of 83 I'm still a way off achieving the standard.....still..
    Kozushi likes this.
  9. Kozushi

    Kozushi Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum

    Interesting that a lot of his game changers are high reps instead of higher weight.
  10. Papa Georgio

    Papa Georgio Double-Digit Post Count

    I really enjoy most of Dan's stuff except for his fondness of high rep back squats. Every time I've tweeked or injured my self lifting is because of form breakdown from fatigue.
    Kozushi likes this.
  11. jca17

    jca17 Helping Make Others Stronger

    I think Dan John had a phase where he didn't use weighted get ups with his clients because he didn't like the theoretical risk-reward of it. I say theoretical because I don't know if there were actual injuries occurring frequently, or just the thought of the kind of injuries that could happen, say if you let go of the kettlebell on the way down. From a recent article he wrote though, it looks like he's back on board with them. I don't know if that would change his recommendations from the post you mentioned.
    Also, perhaps he went with such high rep numbers because strength endurance matters in so many team sports: needing that "body armor" to exert against your opponent. The muscle built with higher reps (say 6-12) might also be more "brute strength" as opposed to "groove strength." Judd Biasiotto (highly recommend his autobiography: the Search For Greatness, which I came across in a StrongFirst preview article) was noted for at one point squatting 600 pounds at a bodyweight of 132 (at 5'7" tall). His training was very neural/skill based. He mentioned that he feels like more than other lifters, he was a "groove lifter", the slightest deviation from his squatting technique would get him buried under the weight.
    Also, if someone wants 15 reps at bodyweight in either the squat or the bench press, they are probably going to want to own a 1.5 bodyweight one rep max to make that a realistic goal. You won't be hitting 15 reps with your 80% 1RM (for example if your one rep max was 1.25 bodyweight).
    Kozushi, Shahaf Levin and MikeTheBear like this.
  12. Glen

    Glen Strong Member of the Forum

    A lot of variables will skew ratios for different people.

    One thing I will say is no way should bench and squat be on par.

    I've always liked the 200lb man and the 300/400/500 ratio as a good goal if strength is a priority (bench, squat,deadlift)

    If strengths not a priority drop the targets potentially but ratio should still be the same IMO
    Kozushi and Geoff Chafe like this.
  13. MikeTheBear

    MikeTheBear Strong Member of the Forum

    I was going to post the same thing but you beat me to it. I think the charts all say that 12+ reps are for endurance, so 15 reps will build just a bit of strength endurance. I agree that some level of work capacity is needed in just about every sport. Look at baseball. Obviously, swinging the bat is an expression of power, and batters swing one at a time (they don't do 15 swings in a row; heck they would've struck out 12 swings ago). But, batters don't get to rest 3-5 minutes between pitches. It's a few seconds at best. Ever see one of these battles where the batter fouls off pitch after pitch for like 20 pitches? That requires a bit of strength endurance. I realize that strength endurance requires "strength" first. But, in my experience, training must be specific or the body won't adapt. Take two guys with the same 1RM in a lift and I will give the edge in strength endurance to the guy who has done a few sets of 15 reps vs. the guy who never goes above 5 reps.
    Rob67, Kozushi, Glen and 1 other person like this.
  14. MikeTheBear

    MikeTheBear Strong Member of the Forum

    Higher reps are actually better at building strength in the connective tissue. Adding in some high rep sets should improve your resiliency to injury rather than cause injury. Probably another reason why Dan's "game changers" involve higher reps. If you tweek something every time you do higher reps you are likely going too heavy. Start light. Crazy light. So light that you would rather walk through your gym buck naked than be seen using such a light weight.
    Kozushi, KIWI5 and jca17 like this.
  15. Shahaf Levin

    Shahaf Levin Strong Member of the Forum

    Paper cup... And not easy for someone that muscle the weight. It is a safe version of BU TGU, anything jerkiness or loss of control will get you wet...
    KIWI5 and jca17 like this.
  16. KIWI5

    KIWI5 Helping Make Others Stronger

    Reviewing my training, I see a shocking gap in higher rep training. All my strength training is 5 reps and under. I suppose my kettlebell swings count as higher rep (10 swings max), and my 'life' training (wood chopping) is higher rep... But I'm going to add a high rep "drop set' to my squats/benchpress immediately. Thanks MikeTheBear.

    Back Off Sets: What They Are and How to Use Them - BarBend
    Kozushi and jca17 like this.
  17. Tirofijo

    Tirofijo Helping Make Others Stronger

    And you won't be 200lbs after a gallon a milk a day for how ever many years (or months) it takes to work up to those numbers. :)
  18. Papa Georgio

    Papa Georgio Double-Digit Post Count

    Maybe the guy starts out at 150.

    Anyway. I do like Dan John's preference of PB&J sandwiches over the milk. I could really mix it up. One day I'll go extra crunchy, the next creamy. Maybe today I'll go grape, tomorrow strawberry. Whole wheat or rye. Just kidding. Who'd use rye with pb&j??

    As far as high reps on technical compound lifts, no offense but you can count me out.
  19. jca17

    jca17 Helping Make Others Stronger

    A gallon of milk a day, and you will reach that weight soon, whether you get stronger or not. Ideally you get stronger and are adding muscle.

    I think a half gallon a day is way (or whey?) more reasonable. Youll be increasing your weekly calorie intake by 8400 calories. Thats before taking increased food appetite into account from the hard lifting. Gallon of milk a day makes sense for 250 lb lifter, but maybe a 180 pound lifter can do well with less, especially if health or physique have non-zero importance to your goals.
    MikeTheBear and Oscar like this.
  20. jca17

    jca17 Helping Make Others Stronger

    Dan John figures risk-reward highly in what he has his athletes do, so if he came to the conclusion that he wants his athletes backsquatting more in the 8-12 rep range than the 3-6 rep range, I count that as something.
    That could also be because he prefers front squat for higher intensity low rep pure leg strength and deadlift for pure posterior chain strength. The advantage of the backsquat is that keeping the weight in place isnt as difficult for high rep sets as it is in front squat. Plus high rep back squats have been building size/physique and body armor type grit longer than most training programs have been around (even John Grimek used the protocol for a while, adding 12 pounds of muscle to an already muscular frame in a few months, before he decided thighs bigger than his waist is bad symmetry haha).

    As Ive started exploring higher rep (8-12) training, I found that I need to work on the skill of high rep training. I need to know how to double down on focus. Its not something to jump into too aggressively, just like I wouldnt have a novice jump into frequent one rep maxes. Fives are the ultimate starting point to learn technique, build strength, and gain some natural size. As your skill goes up, you learn to push your self with near limit triples, doubles, and singles to really push limit strength. Or you learn enduring focus to care about rep 8 as much as rep 1. Either way, you eventually come back to the beautiful five: sustainable size and strength stimulus, with outcome depending on total volume and diet.
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
    IonRod and KIWI5 like this.

Share This Page