I often see people asking online what the ATG standard is for a certain exercise, so I decided to create a full list of the standards that can be easily referenced.
These standards are set/rep/weight benchmarks you should be aiming for in order to have a solid foundational level of strength.
They’re designed to test your abilities across 20+ different areas and will highlight your strengths and weaknesses.
Regardless of where you’re at in your knees over toes journey, knowing what you’re working towards is really important for your growth as an athlete.
Remember that ATG is not a sport.
It’s not about who can do the most reps or lift the most weight.
It’s about perfecting your form and developing that fundamental strength over time.
The standards in this article come directly from Ben Patrick himself as well as his Standards program.
Note that these standards evolve over time and I’ve seen several different versions of these standards posted in different locations, so expect these to continue evolving over time.
Why These Standards Are Important
The objective of the ATG standards is to establish a foundational level of strength that will serve you regardless of where you’re heading athletically.
Becoming elite in any athletic endeavor is a long and difficult road and you simply cannot cut corners if you want to succeed.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
If your (kinetic) chain is lacking in any one area, you’re in for years of plateaus. frustration, and potentially injury.
If you, like me, strive for an elite vertical jump, you simply must have strong foundations.
You simply cannot build the lower body strength and power necessary for a 45+ inch vertical jump if you can’t at least hit these strength benchmarks.
And for those who manage it anyway, the risk of injury is always looming.
The ATG standards are a “first things first” stepping stone on your journey to elite athletic ability, whatever it is you’re aspiring to achieve.
Note that not all ATG exercises have standards, but the following exercises do.
ATG Lower Body Standards
We’ll start out with the lower body exercises and I’ll include the core exercises at the bottom of this list.
In the next section I’ve included the upper body standards.
If you’re unsure of how to perform any of these exercises, head on over to my full list of knees over toes/ATG exercises article where I’ve included clips and detailed instructions for ensuring your form is correct.
- Reverse Sled Pull – The ATG standard for the reverse sled pull is 50% bodyweight. Unfortunately we don’t have much more information than this – it wasn’t made clear whether that refers to total weight (including sled) or additional weight on the sled, and for what distance. In any case, Ben has said the objective of the reverse sled pull is to maximize the burn, which means finding the balance between weight, distance, and speed. If you’re able to get roughly 50% BW on the sled and can pull that with your feet in the right position, using a consistent rhythm, and with adequate speed over ~40meters or so, I’d say you’ve done a pretty solid job! If anyone is able to clarify the standard, let me know so I can update this post!
- Poliquin Step Up – The ATG standard for the Poliquin step up is 20 reps with 66% of your bodyweight on your back, using a 3-4″ box with your heels elevated at least to 45-degrees.
- Jefferson Curl – The ATG standard for the Jefferson curl is 10 reps with 25% bodyweight with your wrists going below your toes.
- Tib Raise/Tib Bar Curl – The ATG standard for the tibialis raise (referring to tib bar curls here, not standing tib raises) is 25% bodyweight for 5 sets of 5 reps.
- Sissy Squat – The ATG standard for the sissy squat is to be able to perform 20 reps using just your bodyweight where your shins are parallel to the floor.
- ATG RDL – The ATG standard for the barbell Romanian deadlift is 100% bodyweight for 10 reps, but with your back parallel to the floor without rounding. Ben isn’t completely clear here as he says the standard is “lower back arch below parallel to the floor” but only ever mentions the back being parallel in the demonstration video. He also says in a later video that the ATG standard for the dumbbell RDL is 25% bodyweight per hand for 20 reps.
- ATG Split Squat – The ATG standard for the ATG split squat is 25% bodyweight per hand (dumbbells) on flat ground.
- Nordic Hamstring Curl – The ATG standard for the Nordic is 10 repetitions with a 4 second eccentric (lowering) with a 1 second pause at the bottom before exploding up.
- Seated Good Morning – The ATG standard for the seated good morning is 50% bodyweight on your back with abs touching the bench and no rounding of the lower back (your thighs should be parallel to the floor also).
- Back Extension – The ATG standard for the back extension is the single leg variation with 100% of your bodyweight on your back. You must hold the top position for 2 seconds and aren’t allowed to bounce the weights off the floor.
- ATG Squat – The ATG standard for the ATG squat is 25% of your bodyweight for 20 repetitions. Note that this squat variation is not to be confused with a normal ‘ass to grass’ squat and is actually a unique variation of the goblet squat. To perform this exercise make sure your heels are elevated, hold a dumbbell under your chin, and make sure your elbows must stay in front of your body (not flared outwards) and don’t touch your thighs. Your knees must also track forward over your toes.
- Single Leg Calf Raise -The ATG standard for the single leg calf raise is 25% bodyweight (dumbbell) for 10 repetitions.
- MonkeyFeet Knee Raise – The ATG standard for the MonkeyFeet knee raise is 10% of your bodyweight for 20 reps.
- Reverse Squat (Low Cable Pull In) – The ATG standard for the reverse squat (formerly referred to as low cable pull in) is 50% bodyweight for 20 reps.
- Hanging Leg Raise – The ATG standard for the hanging leg raise is to be able to get your toes to the bar for 10 reps. You also have to be able to control the movement for 2 seconds on the eccentric before exploding upwards.
- Garhammer Raise – The ATG standard for the Garhammer raise is 10 reps at level 2, which is a bent knee concentric followed by straight leg eccentric.
- L-Sit – The ATG standard for the L-Sit is 15 seconds on flat ground.
If you’re unsure what any of that looks like, have a look at my ATG exercise list for video demonstrations.
ATG Upper Body Standards
There’s also 8 upper body standards you should think about aiming for as well.
- 45 Degree Incline Dumbbell Press – The ATG standard for the incline dumbbell press is 66% bodyweight for 10 reps (33% each hand).
- Face Pull – The ATG standard for the face pull is 33% bodyweight for 10 reps.
- ATG Dip – The ATG standard for the ATG dip is 12 reps.
- ATG Shoulder Press – The ATG standard for the ATG shoulder press is 50% bodyweight for 10 reps (25% each hand).
- ATG Chin Up – The ATG standard for the ATG chin up is 10 reps. This chin up variation requires fully extended arms at the bottom of the movement and shoulders must touch the bar at the top.
- External Rotation – The “ATG elite athlete standard” for the external rotation is 10% bodyweight for 10 reps. Ben however mentions that 5% bodyweight is excellent for the vast majority of people.
- Cross Bench Pullover – The ATG standard for the cross bench pullover is 25% bodyweight for 10 repetitions.
- QL Extension – The “ATG athlete standard” for the QL extension is 25% bodyweight for 10 explosive repetitions.
If I’ve missed any standards, especially the ones not listed in the Standards program, please contact me so I can add them into the article!
Do I Need To Hit All Of These Standards?
You definitely don’t need to be able to do every standard on this list, but it largely comes down to what your goals are.
If you want to achieve any elite level of athleticism in any domain, being able to hit each of these benchmarks means you’ve got a super solid foundation on which you can start building specialized strength.
It is possible to get a 50″ vertical jump without a large number of these standards, but the safest and smartest road there involves working your way through them.
I see these foundational abilities as a ‘soft’ requirement for elite athletic performance, particularly when it comes to jumping, which is why I’m working through these standards on my own vertical jump journey!
Why You Need The ATG Standards Program…
Knowing what the ATG standards are is one thing, but knowing how to efficiently program these exercises into your routine, to the point where you can start checking them off one by one, is a whole nother story.
The Standards program is a 4 day program but there is also 3 and 5 day variations you can choose depending on your schedule.
I highly recommend signing up for the ATG Online Coaching where you’ll get access to the full workout program used to guide you through the completion of each of these standards.