1RM Made Easy!

1RM stands for one repetition maximum. It is the amount of weight that you can lift only once with perfect form. Typically your one rep max is measured by a few basic exercises such as the squat or bench press, but it can be tested using any exercise.

You want to measure it so you know what weight to lift when you first start your program. Read on to find out more.

More often than not, your 1 rep max is the standard tool professional trainers use for measuring results and gains in strength. 1RM needs to be determined before you start an exercise program, when switching an exercise program, and/or when testing for results.

So how do you find your 1RM and what should you do with it? To find your 1 rep max, it is recommended that you warm-up for 5 minutes and perform one warm-up set (using light weights) for each muscle group.

Once you have warmed up, you want to choose an exercise and choose a weight that you can lift approximately 6-12 times using perfect form.

For example, let’s say you choose to do a 1 rep max test for the bench press. You decide to lift a 10 pound dumbbell and discover that you can only lift that weight 7 times until your muscles are completely fatigued.

*One Rep= 100%

*Two Reps= 95%

*Three Reps= 90%

*Four Reps= 88%

*Five Reps= 86%

*Six Reps= 83%

*Seven Reps= 80%

*Eight Reps= 78%

*Nine Reps= 76%

*Ten Reps= 75%

*Eleven Reps= 72%

*Twelve Reps= 70%

By using the above percentages, you can see that the ability to lift a weight 7 times until muscle failure is equal to 80% of your 1RM. Use a calculator and divide the weight you lifted by the percentage. That will give you the 1 rep max for any exercise. Stay with me here… this is easy!

So let’s finish our example: we lifted a 10 pound weight for 7 repetitions. The chart above tells us that 7 repetitions equals 80% of our 1 rep maximum. So we take 10 divided by 80% (.80). Our trusty calculator tells us that the answer is 12.5 pounds. That is our 1 rep maximum.

I would record this number in your progress chart. Every month I would go back and perform another 1RM test for the bench press. You will see that your 1RM has increased! This is one of the many ways to track your progress or gains in strength, but as mentioned before it is the one most widely used by professional trainers.

When you choose a strength training method, you will want to use approximately 70% of your 1RM for toning and sculpting. Just remember… if you are a beginner stick with the basic 3 sets of 12 repetitions for each muscle group. Your muscles should be fatigued on rep number 12. As you can see from the chart, 12 repetitions is 70% of your 1RM.

Final Word On 1 Rep Max

* Take a 1 rep maximum test for your chest and quads. It’s easy to do and will give you a better overall picture of your results.

* Log your results on the progress chart.

* Re-take your 1RM each time you change your program and/or want to measure results.

* Use approximately 70% of your 1RM for each exercise thereafter.