The CoActive Health Journey – Part 3 – Performance
Training for structural balance and a healthy body composition are great goals however to really take your health and fitness to the next level we need to start looking at having some performance targets.
The first step towards peak performance once you have sound structural balance is to optimise your strength ratios.
Strength ratios are a comparison of different strength levels amongst various exercises in order to determine optimal balance.
I first learnt of the concept of strength ratios from the late Charles Poliquin who devised his ratios after many years of working with elite athletes.
“The chain is only as strong as its weakest link”, was one of his favourite sayings, once you have identified your limiting lifts you can focus on building on these with a periodised program.
The ratios are percentages of the ‘mother lifts’ for the upper and lower body, so called because they are the best indicators of overall strength.
For the lower body the mother lift is the back squat and in the upper body it is the bench press.
As a general starting point a good goal to strive for with the mother lifts are:
- 1RM Back squat = 1.5 x body weight
- 1RM bench press = 1 x body weight
Once this standard has been met then the following strength ratios should be the goal.
Lower Body strength ratios
- Squat: 100%
- Front Squat: 85%
- Deadlift: 125%
Upper Body Strength Ratios
- Bench Press: 100%
- Overhead Press: 72%
- Dip: 117%
- Chin up: 87%
These numbers are based on a 1 repetition maximum. If don’t know your 1RM then you can determine your estimated number using the 1RM continuum chart:
The most common strength deficits tend to be the front squat for the lower body and the overhead press for the upper. The great thing with improving these 2 lifts is that they tend to bring the other lifts up too.
The natural progression once your strength ratios are balanced is to go after some performance targets.
Here at CoActive we have a variety of performance standards that you can strive to achieve. We have divided these into both strength and cardio standards with intermediate, advanced and elite levels in each.
These standards are by no means definitive, but they offer a good guide on your current level and hopefully can also inspire you to keep progressing!
We appreciate that not everybody wants to compete in the Crossfit Games but having a specific day or event to train towards and perform on can really help maximise your performance potential.
The great thing with having goal driven performance training is that it inevitably helps with other aspects of fitness such as:
- Improved body composition
- Better nutritional habits
- More motivation to train
I know from personal experience that competing regularly over the last few years has been a huge help in keeping me motivated to train and strive towards new performance peaks.
The two organisations we recommend most here at CoActive are:
Both run regular individual and team competitions that are well run and inspiring fitness events to compete in. If you want to take up the challenge, then here at CoActive we’d love to coach you towards your chosen event.
In the meantime, we will be hosting our first CoActive Health Open later next month on Saturday the 16th of October 2021. The event will run from 9am – 11am and include a variety of different individual and paired competitions. If your interested in getting involved, please contact us or sign up on the gym notice board!