The Weightlifting Performance Standards by Dr Kilgore are quite motivating, giving targets to aim for and a sense of accomplishment when a level is reached.

I appreciate that these charts are based on classification systems used in competition, but are there respected figures for other popular type exercises, for example, bicep curls and lat pulldowns?

Even a basic list for a single bodyweight would be helpful (e.g. lat pulldowns: untrained 75kg, novice 90kg, intermediate.... for 100kg man) I respect the estimations of experienced lifters on this board just as much as many web pages, so a published chart is not necessary.

  • I think the estimations would have to have the same variation based on weight as provided by the Kilgore/Rippetoe/Pendlay standards you linked. I've never been a huge fan of these standards since they don't account for limb length... a 5'4" 90kg lifter is obviously going to have a bigger clean than a 6'2" 90kg lifter. Otherwise, if you are looking specifically for an estimation of standards for your own dimensions, you'd need to provide us with them.
    – Daniel
    Feb 14, 2013 at 2:14
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    Somewhere in this video they mention a world championship in the bicep curl, and what do you know--it exists. I'd start researching there. But why is this helpful? Your own numbers are what are important. Having numbers to compare to in the important lifts (C&J, squat, pull-up reps) are useful because those are benchmarks for the whole body. Using benchmarks on less-important lifts risks premature optimization. Feb 14, 2013 at 2:33
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    I always thought those standards were estimates of when one could expect to need more complicated training cycles (weekly, monthly periodizations instead of just an A/B split). I never saw them as targets to aim for. Isn't the target just "more than before"?
    – user4644
    Feb 14, 2013 at 18:58
  • "more than before" = short term. Weight performance standards = longer term.
    – jontyc
    Feb 16, 2013 at 6:24
  • "more than before" can mean, "more than last year"
    – user4644
    Feb 24, 2013 at 8:37

1 Answer 1


A couple thoughts:

1) The lifts referred to in the standards are the core performance lifts. Enhancing these will help an athlete perform better. We have these standards so we know what their weaknesses are and what we need to work on.

2) The lifts that you are referring to work the synergists of the standard lifts. For example, you could say a bicep curl will help with grip strength for the Olympic lifts like cleans & snatches.

3) The smaller lifts are harder to standardize because it's easier to "cheat" the lift by swinging hips or using momentum.

Unless you are a bodybuilder working on increasing the girth of particular muscle groups, doing max or high percentage sub-max weights on smaller muscle groups isn't really advised. Focus on training the movement, not the muscle.

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