How To Calculate Your 1RM

How To Calculate Your 1RM

How To Test Your 1RM

If you’re following a training plan, you may have noticed percentages across the board of your program.

Here’s an example:


20 reps at 40% max
15 reps at 50% max
15 reps at 50% max
15 reps at 50% max

These percentages are a reflection of your 1 Rep Maximum (or 1RM for short). A 1RM is the maximum amount of weight you can lift for a single rep for an exercise. Often, the exercises tested for 1RMs include the squat, bench press, deadlift and overhead press.


Testing your 1RM is important for a few key reasons:

    • Measuring strength progression
      Knowing your 1RMs gives a good indication of your progress if you set aside time to test every few months.

    • Lifting the right weight
      Basing your working weights (the weights being lifted during your regular BOD workouts) on 1RMs ensures you are strategically selecting weights that are ideal for the kind of session or volume about to be lifted.

    • Indicator for other weights
    • Your 1RM is also a good indicator for your working weights for other exercises.


How to safely test your 1RMs:

It’s always a good idea to have a coach or training partner present on your Max Testing Day for spotting and encouragement. If you have a Testing Day scheduled, try avoiding strenuous training the day before or after. Start by warming up with your own selected weight and roughly 40-50% of your predicted 1RM for 6-10 reps. From there you can move up to 60% of your predicted 1RM and perform 5 or so reps. Then, moving onto 70% for a few reps and so on. Your 1RM is your absolute max possible weight lifted. You should give it everything you’ve got (with correct technique and safety your main priority).


Make sure you also get adequate rest between each of your sets!

Your programming will often prescribe a percentage of your 1RM. If there is no weight percentage outlined in your program, aim for between 40-60% of your 1RM depending on the number of reps required. The lift should be challenging, but achievable!

If you’re following the home program, you can test your strength and fitness abilities in different ways.

You can record your best plank time and work to increase the time each week, or record your maximum reps for exercises like push-ups and chin-ups.

You can test as frequently as every four weeks, or at the end of a program (12 weeks).


What challenges have you faced when it comes to testing? Is it mentally scary for you? Are there physical barriers? Let us know in the comments below.


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