15 Crossfit and Strength Ratios for Elite Performance


We all know the best way to get better at crossfit is to improve our weaknesses.  In fact, the best designed plans prioritize training, in order to shore up those weaknesses.  Targeting those lagging areas is the difference between a recreational bro, and someone who is serious about improving their fitness.  To do this effectively, you will need some data to point you in the right direction.  Keep reading to discover what these 15 crossfit and strength ratios say about your performance, and how they can help you improve your fitness.

It should be said at the outset that these are merely guidelines based on a variety of data sources.  They are not strict rules, nor are they your personal limitations.  These ratios are designed to show you how a perfectly balanced athlete would perform if he met every single one of these ratios.  All of us will have some that are better, and some that are worse, but knowing which ones we need to work on will be able to save us time and energy, and allow us to work on our weaknesses much more efficiently.



The first area we are going to discuss is weightlifting, which I specifically mean the clean and jerk, snatch, squat, as well as its variations.  We all know that crossfit is heavily biased towards strength in weightlifting.  Just take a look at this video if you still have some doubt.

Squat to Clean and Jerk 131%

The first weightlifting ratio you need to know is your squat to clean and jerk.  Your back squat should be 131% of your clean and jerk. This data comes from a nationally renowned weightlifting coach, Bob Takano. This is important because it will allow you to predict the back squat strength level you will need in order to clean and jerk a given load.

Snatch to Clean and Jerk 80%

Next on the list is your snatch to clean and jerk.  Ideally it should be 80% of your clean and jerk.  This also comes from Bob Takano.  Remember, this will only be true once you have consistent, stable form in both lifts.

Front Squat to Clean and Jerk 105%

Your front squat to your clean and jerk should be 105%.  Ideally it should be a little heavier, but this is a good goal to shoot for.  The higher this ratio is, the more slop you can get away with in the bottom of lift.  Often times you will see an olympic lifter catch a clean and sit at the bottom and only stand up once they feel secure with the weight.  While this isn’t ideal, the extra front squat strength does come in handy.

Power Clean to Clean and Jerk 85%

Power clean is one of the most popular movements in both weightlifting and crossfit. It’s great for developing power and ideally it should be 85% of your clean and jerk.  If it’s very close or even the same as your full clean, it is likely that you are not proficient with the full clean, and thus you need to spend some more time working on your technique.

Power Lifting

Next we will move on to more traditional gym lifts, including the power lifts, as well as some common accessory movement such as dips, presses and chin ups.  This data comes to us courtesy of T Nation.

Front squat to Back 85% 

Your front squat should be 85% of your back squat.  I find that those that are naturally gifted at the olympic lifts will have a ratio closer to the 90% mark. Often times this statistic will be very influenced by your torso and limb lengths.  Generally speaking the more upright you naturally squat, the better front squatter you will be.

If you tend to low bar back squat naturally, then you are likely to have some issues with your front squat, and consequently fixing them will likely have a carry over effect to your preferred method of squatting.

Deadlift to Squat 120%

Now there is some controversy in this figure for truly elite power lifters, as they sometimes have a squat that is as heavy or heavier than their deadlift; however, generally speaking our deadlifts will be stronger than our squats, with deadlift being 120% of your squat.

Strict Press to Bench 60%

Strict press, sometimes called military press, should be a staple of any serious training plan.  In fact, it used to trounce the bench press in terms of popularity.  I find that if you have reached a sticking point with your bench press, focusing some effort on the military press will yield excellent results.  Here we are looking for a press that is 60% of your best bench press.

Weighted Dip to Bench 105% with bodyweight

This is probably one of the most effective upper body strength exercises.  It is one of the few that will increase your bench press and strict press simultaneously.  The weighted dip should be 105% of your bench press including your bodyweight.  I do not recommend trying a 1RM dip until you have spent some time with lesser weights, as this can be harsh on the shoulders if you aren’t accustomed to it.  The other side benefit is it looks totally badass when you can dip like three 45’s.  It makes for good Instagram shots bro.

Chin Up 90% with bodyweight

Chin ups are probably the most underrated movement for the upper body.  This movement should be 90% of your bench press including your bodyweight.  Crossfitters need a lot of upper body pulling strength due to the high number of rope climbs, muscle ups, and pull ups that show up in various workouts.



These ratios rely heavily on my 9 years experience, both as a crossfit athlete, and a coach.  These are more representative of the balance between your energy systems.  As of yet, there are no good studies that have validated these numbers, but I’d be surprised if these ratios change once someone with a lab coat does decide to study them.

Clean to Bench press 100%

Ideally these should be the same.  Often times crossfitters neglect the bench press to their own detriment.  It is a great exercise for your triceps that will carry over to all of the overhead lifts, and having a big chest never hurt anyone either.

Mile Run to 400m: 20% slower speed

This comes from Coach Chris Hinshaw.  He was a very good Iron Man triathlete and has become a top aerobic capacity coach for games level crossfit athletes.  This statistic states that you should run approximately 20% slower for a mile as compared to 400m. This stat is true for good crossfitters and marginally competitive runners.  Elite runners are 6-8% which is truly freakish.

Fran to 1 Mile: 50% 

I’ve also noticed that, if you are well rounded with your energy systems, you should be able to manage a Fran time that is roughly 50% of your mile time.  They both use the same types of energy systems with Fran being slightly more anaerobic than the run because it requires more upper body muscle mass than running does.  It is also easier to push your self harder for 3 minutes or so than to really push yourself for the 6 minutes it might take for you to run a mile.

Unbroken Thruster 95lbs to Kipping Pull Up: 100%

Thrusters in many ways are the opposite of pull ups and are roughly the same amount of work per rep.  Thus, your max rep thruster should be the same amount as your kipping pull ups.  Note this value will change if you add or subtract the thruster weight.

GHD situp to Handstand Push up  100%

These aren’t really directly related, but if you are well rounded in your core strength you should have the ability to do the same reps in both glute ham developer situps and Hand stand push ups.

1k Row to 800m: 90%

Rowing is a little more heavily favored in crossfit than running, especially if you happen to have a little more mass, which makes rowing easier and running harder.  Your 800m run should be about 90% of your 1k row.


As we said earlier these should give you a good idea of where your weaknesses are so you can more effectively target them. We know that to be a complete athlete, you need to be strong as well as well developed in your energy systems.  I encourage you to take the results from these stats and pick one that is most out of balance, and work on that for the next few weeks until its in the right area.  Keep doing this long enough and we might be seeing you on ESPN.

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