Monday, March 8, 2010

How to find your 1RM


"1 RM: The greatest amount of weight that can be lifted with proper technique for only one repetition; "Repetition Maximum: The most weight lifted for a specified number of repetitions."  NSCA Essentials of Strength & Conditioning

Lately in the studio we have been lifting fairly heavy, sometimes in an effort to find our 1RM or 5RM max lift.  These are the protocols laid out by the National Strength & Conditioning Association on how to find your 1 RM.
1. Warm up with a light resistance that easily allows 5-10 reps.
2. 1 minute rest
3. Estimate a warm-up load that will allow the athlete to complete 3-5 reps by adding:
         10-20 lb or 5-10% for upper-body exercise or
          30-40 lb or 10-20% for lower-body exercise
4. 2 min rest
5. Estimate a conservative, near-max load that will allow the athlete to complete 2-3 reps by adding
     10-20 lb or 5-10% for upper-body exercise
     30-40 lb or 10-20% for lower-body exercise
6. 2-4 min rest
7. Make a load increase
       10-20 lb or 5-10% for upper-body exercise or
       30-40 lb or 10-20% for lower-body exercise
8. Attempt a 1RM
9. If the athlete was successful, provide a 2-4m min rest period and go back to step 7.

If the athlete failed, provide a 2-4 min rest, decrease the load by subtracting
     5-10 lb or 2.5-5% for upper-body exercise or
     15-20 lb or 5-10% for lower-body exercise
AND then go back to step 8.

Continue increasing or decreasing the load until the athlete can complete one repetition with proper exercise technique.  Ideally, the athlete's 1RM will be measured within five testing sets.

Once you know your 1RM, look on our chart on the wall of Estimating 1RM and Training Loads.

2 comments:

Brian P said...

Hello, great post! I always wonder what are the steps to get the 1RM. question though: what would you constitute as a lower body exercise vs upper body exercise. I'm assuming the Press variations are upper body, and the squat is lower body. But what about the deadlift?

Pacific Personal Training said...

Brian,
I just saw this post.

The prime movers in the deadlift are the glutes, hams and quads. While there is certainly co-contraction of the entire musculature, the upper body muscles are not the prime movers of the weight in this closed kinetic chain exercise.

CG.

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