How-much-can-you-lift-wimp

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.

11/28/07