Finding Your True 1RM – Learn How Much Weight You Can Really Lift
Are you about to attempt a new 1RM? Use the 1RM Warm-up Calculator above! You can also keep reading to determine how much weight you should use to warm up for the best results!
Enter the weight you plan to attempt. Then the 1RM warm-up calculator will show you exactly what weight you should lift for your warmup.
More experienced lifters will benefit more from a true one rep max test as theirs takes longer to increase. Just make sure to lift safely and intelligently. Remember, your true max is the most weight you can lift with good form.
Here is another proven method from Layne Norton for finding your true max.
Warming up to a 1RM
Warming up can make all the difference in your training. It is especially important when you plan on attempting a 1RM. A good warm-up may lower your chances of injury. It also increases the likelihood of a successful PR attempt.
How to Calculate Warmup Sets
Here is a simple and effective way to calculate warm-up sets and reps:
- 30% estimated 1RM for 8 reps
- 40% for 6 reps
- 50% for 4 reps
- 60% for 2 reps
- 70% for 1 rep
- 80% for 1 rep
Testing for Your 1RM
- 90-94% of estimated 1RM for 1
- 96-100% of estimated 1RM for 1
- 100-104% of estimated 1RM for 1
When testing, it’s essential to use a spotter or another similar safety precaution, especially for bench press. There is no point in injuring yourself.
How Often Should You Test 1RM
You should only check your maximum strength once every 3-4 months at most. Lifting loads over 90% of your max can lead to damaged muscles and tendons. It also increases your chances of serious injury and even decreases gym performance.
Testing your 1RM too often can lead to:
- overuse/chronic injury
- serious injury
- neural fatigue
- hormonal disturbances
- decreased immune function
- muscle atrophy
- increased body fat
Alternatives to Testing Your True Max
Performing a one rep max set isn’t the only reliable way to find your max for a particular exercise. Although it is the most accurate, it is also the hardest on your body and will not increase your strength. Here are some safer alternatives.
Multiple Rep Test
One common way to gauge strength on a specific lift is to perform a 2-5 rep max set. This is less dangerous and can be performed about once a month. You are still lifting heavy so it’s more accurate than options with a higher number of reps.
This is precisely what 1RM calculators come in handy for!
An RPE-based rep max is similar to a rep test; but, you aren’t taking yourself to true failure with it.
Say you lift a specified weight for three reps at an 8 RPE (8 out of 10 rate of perceived exertion). If you lift a heavier weight for the same reps at the same RPE, you know you are making progress.
This style of repetition maximum test is significantly easier on the body. It also helps increase strength (unlike a true 1RM test) and can be done about once a week.