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Training for Athletes: Standards vs. Structural Balance

Matt Sweeting

@Kneesovertoesguy thanks for the reply re arthritis and training. Curious do you yourself suffer from it with all the knee surgeries you’ve had? 

Am working with a couple of clients as well as myself who suffer from it.

Ben Patrick

Matt no arthritis that I’m aware of, but I never have my knees checked out. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is significant damage in my knees from my past. Maybe one day I’ll find out what’s in there, but at the moment my goal is to dunk till I’m 50 and do all the Standards till I’m 75 lol! So I think there’s some worth in me not knowing. I kind of don’t want to know what internal junk there may be

On the note of Standards… I highly advise getting athlete clients to Standards before explaining Structural Balance numbers… It can be hard to think with them so early on. Once someone can do a dozen chin ups, half bodyweight split squat, Nordics, etc., then I do feel Structural Balance may be needed to find the true potential.

It’s still unclear to me the difference long-term between:

A) just keep working every damn exercise “above Standard”

B) follow Structural Balance

But bear in mind the Standards are like simplified Structural Balance. Perhaps the specific goal comes much more into play, like Ben Clarfield’s proposed Freak Checklist by Sport.

Since my sport is basketball I think very generally increasing all the ATG exercises is probably pretty damn close to what the basketball Freak Checklist would look like. Here’s what I will do… I’ll consult Ben Clarfield and get an up to date Freak Checklist by Sport write up done this week .

Ben Patrick

Freak Checklist by Sport


 1. Bodyweight x 20 cable reverse squat

 2. DOUBLE bodyweight RDL x 10 strict


 1. Squat with CHAINS and never stop!

 2. Poliquin Step Up 100% 6” x 15 reps


 1. Chase absolute perfection MSL Nordic x 5

 2. Negative-accentuated Garhammer Raise x 12 reps


 1. 45-degree Incline DB half bodyweight x 6 full range!

 2. Rotator 15% BW x 8 strict!

This is not it. This is just a mock-up example. I will have Ben Clarfield grill it and then I will keep it in my Notes the rest of my life lol. Magic for us coaches The idea is:

Virtually ANY athlete should be able to do all the Standards


NO ONE in the world should be able to do all the Freak Checklist. And perhaps if someone tried, it would be maybe a 100m sprinter or freak MMA fighter or decathlete world record breaker.

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