1 rep max test (1RM)
The more weight you can move when weight training the stronger you will beome. Unlike the press up test the 1 rep max strength test assess total strength rather than relative strength.
Why perform the 1 rep max test?
Not only will the 1 rep max test allow you to assess your total strength but it will also allow you to tailor your workouts to your goals.
For example, when training between 70% and 85% of your 1 rep max (1RM) yo can add muscle size. Working at less than 70% of your 1 rep max will allow you to improve your muscle endurance.
Performing the 1 rep max strength test
When performing a 1 rep max strength test you must make sure you warm up properly. Not doing so may increase your chances of causing an injury.
It is also advisible to enlist the help of a friend or a gym goer to help you during this test.
Set 1: Warm up with 10 reps of a light weight. Rest for 60 seconds.
Set 2: Do 3 to 5 reps with a weight which will not allow you to perform a 6th repetition. Rest for 2 minutes.
Set 3: Do 2 to 3 reps with a weight that will not allow you to perform a 4th repetition. Rest for 3 minutes.
Set 4: Add 20% more weight to the bar and try to perform a single rep. You you can manage more than 1 repetition rest for another 3 minutes, load the bar with slightly more weight and try again. Remember, you goal is to perform 1 rep only.
NOTE: All repetitions should be performed under control and without cheating or using the aid of a friend to help you complete a rep. The friend is on hand just in case you can't manage the weight.
How to improve your 1 rep max
To improve your strength and 1 rep max you need to workout with weights that are challenging. Use a weight that allows you to perform sets of more more than 5 or 6 repetitions. Do 5 sets, rest 2 minutes in between each set.
What exercises allow me to test my 1 rep max?
It is best to test your 1 rep max on big compund exercises like the bench press, deadlift, squat, pull up or bend over row. However, having said that you can perform the 1 rep max test in exercises like bicep curls, close grip bench press and others.
Watch exercise videos to see correct exercise form
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