1RMcalculators and rep tables are essential training tools. Doesn’t mater if you’re a veteran or a rookie lifter.
Discover what 1RM tables are are and how to use your one rep max in training programs.
What Is a One-Rep Max and How Do I Find It
Your one-rep max (1RM) is the maximum amount of weight you can lift for a single repetition. It’s specific to each exercise. Though most only measure it in the major compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench, and the likes.
Ideally your 1RM is done with perfect form. That means a full range of motion with your technique being spot on.
However. If I’m being honest, technique does suffer slightly when pushing limits. But, it needs to remain near perfect.
There’s no need to give 110%. Your health is more important than adding another 5 or 10 pounds to the bar.
The Athlete’s Physique programs and coaching are designed for a lifetime of looking and feeling good. Always errors on the conservative side.
Do I Really Need to Do My 1RM Test
Of Course not.
It’s a good idea.
So what’s the big deal with a 1RM than?
While bragging rights might pop into your head, calculating your one-rep max is good for more than that.
Sure, it’s fun to know how you stack up against other guys and gals in the gym, but there are better reasons to care:
- Better results in a shorter time.
- Programming your workouts based on your one-rep max helps you achieve optimal workout intensity leading to optimal results.
- Keeps you on track and healthy.
- It guides your training intensity so you reduce your risk of injury or running yourself into the ground through overtraining.
- Lets you see progress.
- It allows you to track your efforts. You can see if you’re getting stronger and building muscle. If your 1 RM is going up. You’re getting stronger and building muscle.
Too Much of A Good Thing
While tracking your 1RM has many benefits and the only 100%-accurate way to know your 1RM, is to actually lift as much as you can. But heavy frequent testing is not without risk.
Some serious powerlifters only test their true one-rep max a couple of times a year.
But you can get a rough estimate by doing a rep-max test instead.
This is a better option because it doesn’t leave you as drained. Easier to maintain technique. And It doesn’t interrupt your training.
No Need to Push Your Limits
You don’t have to overload the bar and risk injury to determine your 1RM.
Sometimes referred to as an AMRAP test, (As Many Reps As Possible), the rep-max test uses lighter weight and a little math to determine your 1RM.
While there’s a rep-max test equation for any value up to 30 reps, accuracy drops fast after 10 reps. Using a weight you can lift for 6 – 10 reps provides a satisfying balance between accuracy, intensity, and not as draining as a true one-rep max.
After performing your rep-max test, use a table, RM calculator, or equation to predict your one-rep max based on the number of reps your completed and how much weight you used.
With this rep-max table, predicting your 1RM is easy.
Using 1RM Table to Determine Your Max
- Along the top row find the number of reps you want to convert to a 1RM.
- Once you have found the reps column, follow it down until you hit the weight you used.
- Then follow the row of the weight use all the way to the left. The weight there is your estimated one rep max.
Image you pushed your dumbbell bench press to the limit. You used 60 pounds and completed 8 reps.
Looking at the top rows we see that 8 reps is about 80% of a 1RM. So we go down the 8 rep column until we find 60 pounds.
Once we locate 60 we follow that row all the way to the left where is says 75.
That means your estimated 1RM is 75 pounds.
all 1RM calculations are estimations.
Everyone is a little different. Some are better at pumping out reps while other think anything over 5 is cardio.
Women tend to be better at pushing out more reps than men with lighter weight.
However, the table will get you in the ballpark. Definitely close enough to use in training, and gauge your progress in the gym.
The 1RM table is independent of units. Meaning that the same table can be used to determine your one rep max if you use pounds, kilos or even stones.
But I Want To Test My 1RM
So you still want to test your true one-rep max. The heck with the 1RM calculator, you want the real deal.
So, how often can you test it?
I recommend about every 4 months.
Any shorter and you run the risk of injury. And you don’t give yourself enough time to adapt to your training.
Two or 3 max tests per year is frequent enough to deliver sufficient feedback on your training. And provide accurate numbers for programming your workouts.
On the flip side it’s infrequent enough that it doesn’t get in the way of your normal workouts.
Note: Testing only applies to your major exercises!
Isolation exercises, like lateral raises and biceps curls don’t benefit from 1RM testing.
Measure a few key lifts like a variation of a squat , deadlift, and press. This provide more than enough information to tell if you’re getting stronger and building muscle.
Using 1RM Table to Determine Your Working Sets
These tables work in both directions. Not only do they predict your one rep max, but put you in the ballpark for your working sets.
Let’s say you’re doing a 5×5 protocol for dumbbell bench press.
Using your bench press 1RM and referencing our tables, it’s easy to estimate how much to use for each set on the dumbbell bench.
For this example imagine your bench press max is 200 pounds. Splitting that number in half to determine how much to use for each arm we end up with 100 pounds.
Because dumbbells aren’t as stable as the bench press we can’t lift as much. So we’ll drop it down to 90 pounds per arm.
Finding 90 in the 100% column then taking that row across until it intersects with the 5RM column we can see your estimated 5 rep max for the dumbbell bench is 80.
Now that’s your 5RM. You can’t use that for every set so stay in the 90 pound row for but start with your 10RM weight. As you get deeper into your sets follow the chart to guide your weight increases.
Now that yo know your 1RM and the weight you can expect to max out on at different reps, you can use the relative intensity table below to help choose your training weights.
As you can see from the table, the majority of your sets and training belongs in the moderate plus category represented by the yellow rows.
The relative intensity of a moderate intensity set is about 86% of what you could do. Absolute and relative intensity can get confusing. But it’s not that bad if you follow the table. Follow the link below if you want an example….
Relative Intensity Tables
- Click here for reps between 1and 10.
- Click here for reps from 11-20.
- More detail on the the use of a Relative Intensity Table.
Printable one rep max chart (1RM Table) for maxes between 0 and 100.
Printable one rep max chart (1RM Table) for maxes between 100 and 200.
Printable one rep max chart (1RM Table) for maxes between 200 and 300.
Printable one rep max chart (1RM Table) for maxes between 200 and 300.
Printable one rep max chart (1RM Table) for maxes between 400 and 500.
Printable one rep max chart (1RM Table) for maxes between 500 and 600.