Calculating actual load during squats and chin-ups

Since you are also lifting your body weight, how do you calculate the actual load during some of the key exercises such as squats or chin-ups? It's true, more precise calculations are required to take into account the average weight of individual body parts. Let's review some data from Hartmann and Tunnemann's excellent text Fitness and Strength Training for All Sports:

head ........... 7.0%
trunk ......... 43.0%
upper arm ...... 3.5%
forearm ........ 2.3%
hand ........... 0.7%
thigh ......... 11.4%
lower leg ...... 5.3%
foot ........... 1.8%

In squats/deadlifts, you do not include the feet or lower legs - take 86% body weight. In chins/dips, you do not lift the hands or forearms - take 94% body weight.

So, for example, if a 200 lb. individual squats with 225 lbs. on their back, they are actually lifting 397 lbs. (calculation = 200 x 0.86 + 225) If that same person performs chin-ups with 50 lbs. hanging from a chin/dip belt, they are actually lifting 238 lbs. (calculation = 200 x 0.94 + 50)

About The Author

John Paul Catanzaro is a certified kinesiologist and professional fitness and lifestyle consultant with a specialized honours Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health Science. He owns and operates a private gym in Toronto, Ontario providing training and nutritional consulting services. For additional information, visit his website at or call 416-292-4356.

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  • Name: John Paul Catanzaro
  • Date: 08/27/04 at 11:36
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