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I see that in SL5x5, the weight increments are bigger for Squats and Deadlifts. I am curious about that. It seems obvious too that you are not expected to lift the same weight in an isolating, small muscle exercise like Reverse DB Flies, than the amount you lift in a big compound Bench Press.

What are good proportions between weights in different exercises, for a well balanced athlete?

Is there any canonical, numerical proportion between loads for different exercises?

(I guess we could have a rough idea by looking at the training statistics of some known athletes. Any idea about where to get such data?)

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    The website Exrx publishes "weight lifting standards", which are recommended strength goals for people of different bodyweights who have been training for different lengths of time. They only cover a handful of major lifts (press, bench, squat, deadlift, clean). You may find it useful. exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/StrengthStandards.htm
    – DavidR
    Jul 15, 2013 at 21:38
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    @DavidR Make that an answer! Score the upvotes! Jul 15, 2013 at 21:40
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    Starting Strength also has a breakdown of proportions between the big 5 it teaches, as I recall, but I don't have the book handy. I think it was deadlift/squat/bench/power clean/overhead press, but I don't know the numbers. Jul 15, 2013 at 21:41
  • @DaveLiepmann It seems sound, I will have a look. I wonder too about the small curls and shoulder elevations, flies...
    – Mephisto
    Jul 15, 2013 at 21:55
  • @Mephisto ...why? Jul 16, 2013 at 1:08

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The website Exrx publishes Weight Lifting Standards, which are recommended strength goals for people of different bodyweights who have been training for different lengths of time. They only cover a handful of major lifts (press, bench, squat, deadlift, clean). You may find it useful.

I believe that this information is derived from Lon Kilgore, who is a frequent co-author with Mark Rippetoe.

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  • I used to look at those standards so much
    – aaronman
    Jul 15, 2013 at 22:17
  • EXRX seems an excellent source. Thanks. I'll accept your answer, I think. But let's wait a couple of days, perhaps someone can add data about minor muscles. Specially I am interested in relating biceps curl to the big compounds. I am interesting in adding biceps curl in order to help achieving chin-ups, but just in the correct proportion (I am recovering from a biceps tendonitis among others. Next time, I want to work biceps in the right proportion)
    – Mephisto
    Jul 15, 2013 at 22:26
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    @Mephisto the truth is for most sports biceps aren't particularly important, hence the curl not to important for athletes
    – aaronman
    Jul 15, 2013 at 23:11
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    @Mephisto If you're specifically looking for curl numbers, look up strict curl competitions. But in general, isolation moves aren't tracked in relation to compound movements, and people can simply lift much less with them. As for using curls to enhance your pull-ups: consider negatives and lat pulldowns. Jul 16, 2013 at 0:07

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