STRENGTH STANDARDS

For Men:

Push
Expected = Bodyweight bench press
Game-changer = Bodyweight bench press for 15 reps

Pull
Expected = 5 pullups
Game-changer = 15 pullups

Hinge
Expected = Bodyweight to 150% bodyweight deadlift
Game-changer = Double-bodyweight deadlift

Squat
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

Getup
One left and right, done with a half-filled cup of water

For Women:

Push
Game-changer = Bodyweight bench press

Pull
Game-changer = Three pullups

Hinge
Game-changer = 275-pound deadlift

Squat
Game-changer = 135 for five in the back squat

Loaded Carries
Game-changer = 85 pounds per hand

Getup
One left and right, done with a half-filled cup of water

An older photo of Kelly’s class learning the basics.

My High School Standards, for Girls Varsity:

Big Silver Club (Girls)
One Arm Bench 12kg10 Right/10 left
Standing Press 70
Power Clean 95
Deadlift 205
Back Squat 135
Front Squat 95
Power Clean & Jerk 75
All done in one workout, by the way.

High School Standards, for Boys Varsity

Big Blue Club (Boys)
One Arm Bench 32kg5 Right/5 left
Standing Press 115
Power Clean 205
Deadlift 315
Back Squat 255
Front Squat 205
Power Clean & Jerk 165

Now, the issue is that I have known for a long time that this is fine and all, but, if I truly believe that “Regressions are the Best Corrections,” then I am missing a lot here. So, with the help of Paul Lysengos and Josh Hillis and others, I am working on this:

Men’s Standards

Squat Movement
1. Proper Form in the Goblet Squat
2. Goblet Squat: 24K x 10
3. Double KB Front Squat: 32K x 10
4. Bodyweight Back Squat
5. Bodyweight Front Squat
6. Bodyweight Back Squat x 15
7. Bodyweight Overhead Squat x 15

Press Movement
1. Push Ups x 10
2. One Arm KB Press: 24K x 5 per Side
3. Double KB Press: 32K x 5
4. Bench Press: Bodyweight
5. One Arm Overhead Press: ½ Bodyweight
6. Bench Press: Bodyweight x 15
7. Two Arm KB Press: Bodyweight

Hip Hinge Movement
1. Hip Hinge with Proper Form (From stand, floor and loaded)
2. Kettlebell Swing: 24K x 20 (Proper Form)
3. Double Kettlebell Clean: 32K x 10
4. Barbell Clean: Bodyweight
5. Barbell Deadlift: Double Bodyweight
6. Barbell Snatch: Bodyweight
7. Barbell Deadlift 2.5 x Bodyweight

Pull Movement
1. Batwings, thumbs in armpits, 16K x 10 seconds
2. Bodyweight Row on Rings/TRX x 20
3. Bodyweight Row, feet elevated, x 10
4. Chin Ups x 5
5. Pull Ups x 8–10
6. Pull Ups x 15
7. Weighted Pull Up with 48 K

Women’s Standards

Squat Movement
1. Proper Form in the Goblet Squat
2. Goblet Squat: 12K x 10
3. Double KB Front Squat: 16K x 10
4. Back Squat: 135 x 5
5. Bodyweight Back Squat
6. Bodyweight Front Squat
7. Bodyweight Overhead Squat

Press Movement
1. Push Ups x 1 (Excellent Pushup)
2. One Arm KB Press: 10K x 5 per Side
3. Double KB Press: 12K x 5
4. Double KB Press: 16K x 5
5. One Arm Overhead Press: 1/3 BdWt
6. Bench Press: Bodyweight
7. Two Arm KB Press: 2/3 Bodyweight

Hip Hinge Movement
1. Hip Hinge with Proper Form (From stand, floor and loaded)
2. Kettlebell Swing: 16K x 20 (Proper Form)
3. Double Kettlebell Clean: 16K x 10
4. Barbell Deadlift: 1.5 x Bodyweight (or 135×5)
5. Double KB Swings: 24K x 10
6. 5:00 Minute Snatch Test: 16K x 100
7. Barbell Deadlift 2 x Bodyweight (275lbs.)

Pull Movement
1. Batwings, thumbs in armpits, 8K x 10 seconds
2. Bodyweight Row on Rings/TRX x 20
3. Bodyweight Row, feet elevated, x 10
4. Chin Ups x 1
5. Chin Ups x 3
6. Pull Ups x 3
7. Weighted Pull Up with 24K

Now, if you know me…it’s going to change a little. The idea is that 4 or so is where we would want like a high school, athlete, 6 is the “Game Changer” from the book…usually…and 7 is around where you discover that “strength is not your issue.”

None of it matters, save one thing: it’s the balance of the FOUR!!! (Sixth moves, like groundwork, and Loaded Carries are usually just a simple, do you do it or not?)

1–2–3 are where we want to explore for untrained and detrained people.

Being a perfect square at twos might be better than being a 7–1–7–7…perhaps. Don’t lose your mind on this, this is a process.


Dan John has spent his life with one foot in the world of lifting and throwing, and the other foot in academia. An All-American discus thrower, Dan has also competed at the highest levels of Olympic lifting, Highland Games and the Weight Pentathlon, an event in which he holds the American record.

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