What are the recommended weight ratios for power clean, bench press and squats in terms of your bodyweight? You can see my old weight training program, a discussion on how to determine 1 rep max (1 RM) and another sample weight training program from another coach.
I try not to get hung up on numbers in the weight room. After all, for me, it’s the stopwatch (and FAT time) that’s more important on the track.
But I do like to see a guide to general strength for my sprints and jumps group. I look at every athlete’s strength and weakness and assess a training plan from there.
We used to hold "mini-competitions" during our testing phases.
In College, we did 1 rep max (1 RM), but today we do doubles or triples (2 or 3 reps) to avoid injury. No pec tears here (**cough cough Asafa Powell cough cough**).
The 3 tests were:
- Power Cleans – off the floor
- Bench Press – normal grip and width
- Squats – to parallel, to ensure adequate hamstring recruitment.
I’m purposely leaving out my weight numbers, just to give you an idea of the increases and guidelines, and to focus on the ratios, but my bodyweight at the time was 185 lbs ( I am 6 feet tall)
The first goal was:
- Power Cleans – 1.0X bodyweight
- Bench Press – 1.25X bodyweight
- Squats – 1.5X bodyweight
My total weight lifted was almost 700 lbs (the sum of all 3 lifts)
My next set of goals were:
- Power Cleans – 1.25X bodyweight
- Bench Press – 1.5X bodyweight
- Squats – 2X bodyweight
… and this totalled almost 880 lbs.
Finally, by the end of 2003, my lifts were as follows:
- Power Cleans – 1.3X bodyweight
- Bench Press – 1.7X bodyweight
- Squats – 2.17X bodyweight
… and this totalled 965 lbs.
But I never reached that exclusive 1000 pound club. It was more of a status symbol than anything else.
The Moral of the Story
The moral of the story is adjust your weights to your bodyweight, AND remember weight lifting should be a supplement (or complement) to your training.
For me, I reached 400 lbs in the squats with thighs parallel to the ground (not full squats). How strong do I need to be? Especially for 400 meters? I have no aspirations on being a Ben Johnson with his 2 x 6 reps at 600 lbs full squats.
The corollary of the story is taken from the late Bishop Dolegiewicz, who sadly died in 2008. He quoted, "You can never be too strong, but not at the expense of flexibility".
Otherwise, you might as well join the Weight Lifting club 3 doors down. Or Gold’s Gym.
Thoughts from strength coaches out there?