How to test your one rep max

Knowing your one rep max (1RM) will tell you exactly how strong you are for any given lift. That's critical for indicating where your fitness is and allowing you to determine where it needs to be. 

Once you know your 1RM, you'll know how heavy the weights should be for you to use in many of the workouts we use in our strength and conditioning programming, based on percentages of your 1RM.

Here's how you should test for your one rep max, without compromising on your technique or putting yourself at risk of injury.

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One rep max test

  1. I highly recommend you are properly warmed up before attempting a 1RM. This can be done through specific upper or lower body exercises or my favourite would be a 500-metre row and some foam rolling.
  2. If required, always have capable spotters on hand,or set up your equipment to ensure your safety, eg. use the spotting arms in the squat rack. 
  3. Start by doing one repetition with perfect technique at around 50% of your max lift weight.
  4. Slowly progress from one weight to the next, adding around 10% per lift. This way you will get to your perceived 1RM in around five sets and ensure you are not too fatigued to perform the lift. I recommend around 1-2 minutes rest between sets - 1 minute at the lighter end of the scale and closer to 2 minutes before a maximal effort. 
  5. Perform as many sets as you need to lift the heaviest weight you can. This should take around 20 minutes. 

If you miss a lift, the chances of getting it on a second attempt dramatically decrease. If it was a technique fault, then you might need a second attempt, but more often than not it is more beneficial to walk away and try again another day.

Fall in love with the process and the results will come. 

Now let's go lift some heavy ass s***t.

- Reece #noexcuses