In strength training, a 1-Rep Max (1-RM) gives you much more than just bragging rights. The 1-RM is considered the 'gold standard' to assess an individual's strength capacity. It is a benchmark for quality training, programming & conditioning.
1- Rep Max is the absolute maximum amount of weight you can lift (or move) for just one rep of any desired workout. A true 1-RM will leave nothing left in your tank & come along with the feeling of literally giving it all on this one rep.
1-RM is the maximal amount of force being put into one lift, leaving you no more reps to perform.
Why is it essential to know your 1-Rep max?
If don't know your 1-RMs for various workouts, you are pushing too high or too low, may lead to serious injuries.
Well, knowing your 1-RM is a handy tool for strength training because it adds depth & understanding to multiple aspects of your workout.
Knowing your 1-RM enables you to program your workouts better & progressively establish the load settings.
If don't know your 1-RMs for various workouts, you are haphazardly pushing too high or too low, which is less than ideal for longevity in the gym and may lead to serious injuries.
1-RMs help create better workout programs
You need to use enough weight to provide sufficient stimulus to achieve growth.
Workout programs prescribe a specific number of sets and a specific number of reps for each set. How do you know how much weight to use for the workout? You need to use enough weight to provide sufficient stimulus to achieve growth and not too much weight as it may injure you. 1-RM comes into play for this very important weight calculation.
A very generalized rep range – weight suggestion looks like this:
1-3 reps – 90-100% of the 1-RM (Maximal strength)
3-5 reps – 85-90% of the 1-RM (Relative strength)
6-8 reps – 78-83% of the 1-RM (Functional hypertrophy)
8-12 reps – 70-75% of the 1-RM (Classic bodybuilding parameters)
13+ reps – 68% down to around 60% as you near the 20 rep mark (High volume bodybuilding, moving more into endurance training parameters)
If you happen to test your true 1-RM on the overhead press and find that you were only using 60% of your 1-RM for eight reps, it means you are not lifting enough and your delts and triceps would not grow!
1-RMs help track progress
1-RM helps you track your progress in strength training & also helps to rank your muscular strength based on the standard norms. Standard norms determine your relative strength ratio. To determine muscular strength based on your body weight, divide the total amount of weight lifted for 1RM by your body weight.
For example, if an 80kg male lifter has achieved a 1RM of 150kg on the deadlifts, his strength ratio would be 1.875. This figure helps to rank the lifter's strength from poor to excellent for this particular lift.
Helps bust plateus
Using your 1RM, combined with other training techniques such as variable resistance training, can also help you overcome a training plateau. It's a tool that you can use to increase strength strategically — it's not just for bodybuilders and powerlifters.
How To Find Your 1-RM
There are a couple of ways to which you can find your 1-RM. You either have to test it yourself in the gym or estimate it using our 1-RM calculator.
Max Out Days
The first method of finding your 1-RM is to go all out in the gym. This is the day when there's only one goal in mind & that is maxing out on the desired lifts.
For testing your true 1-RM, there are a couple of requirements that need to be met to set you up best for the lifts:
It would be best if you were clear about which muscle group you are targetting & the exercises you are including.
Take adequate rest before this day.
Properly warm-up before lifting the weights.
Always perform the exercises in the presence of a spotter.
Incrementally add a small amount of weight over subsequent sets of each exercise until you cannot do a single rep at a certain weight. The weight lifted before this set would be the 1-RM.
Take a good 3-5 minutes of rest in between sets.
Re-test your 1-RM every 5-6 weeks to monitor training progress. Use the same equipment and exercises during successive testings. Also, try to test under the same conditions (temperature, lighting, nutrient intake, etc.)
Epicvita 1-RM Calculator
The second method to find your 1-RM is to our 1-RM calculator. It's a modern method to estimate your 1-RM without actually testing it in the gym. Scientists have devised a reasonably accurate formula for most people to assess each movement's 1-RM.
How does it work?: Let's say you can bench press 80 kgs for ten reps with good form. Based on that, you can estimate not just your one-rep max (100% of your 1-RM) but other loads as well: your 85% 1-RM, 70% 1-RM, or 55% 1-RM.
The calculator below estimates your 1-RM based on the amount of weight you can lift on a given movement and the number of clean reps you can achieve before muscle failure.
Click on button below to load the calculator.
Knowing your limits is what will push you to break through it. Knowing your 1-RM & keeping a regular track on it could significantly improve your strength & physique. It will give you a feeling of accomplishment as it is often very satisfying to see the increase of one maximum lift! You will set a benchmark that would serve as a target to inspire you to become stronger & achieve your goals. All the best!