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1RM is the maximum weight you can lift if you only have to do one repetition of an exercise.
It's considered the “gold standard” test of strength. When you lift your 1RM weight, you shouldn't be able to complete a second repetition. The idea is that you give everything you have in that first rep that's where the name comes from.
Knowing your 1RM enables you to choose the correct weight for each exercise, ensuring that you maximise your training benefits and build strength systematically. It can also help you to overcome a training plateau.
Weight x reps x 0.0333 + weight = estimated 1RM
For example, if you can usually bench 60kg for 6 reps, your 1RM calculation will look like this:
60 x 6 x 0.0333 + 60 = 71.988. Round it up to 72kg, and you have your estimated 1RM
When doing a 1RM remember that form comes first.
To improve your endurance, use a weight that’s 70% of your 1RM for sets of 12-20 reps.
To stress your muscle fibres, use a weight that’s 80% of your 1RM for sets of 7-12 reps.
To teach your muscles power and speed, use a weight that’s 90% of your 1RM for 3-4 sets of 3-4 reps. Make sure you take enough rest and recovery time in between each set.
To push past your limits and focus on strength, use a weight that’s 95% of your 1RM for sets of just 1-3 reps. This will feel heavy, so make sure you have a spotter to keep you safe during each lift.
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