T Nation


If you can bench 135 lbs/7 times, what is your approximate 1rpm? If you wanted to find out what your 1 rpm is for bench press, without referencing a 1 rpm chart or table, how would you warm up as to “not tear anything”, and yet have enough strength to find the approximate 1rpm?

Big: Most trainers (including the GOOD ones!) will recommend doing this calculation from a chart. Finding the actual 1RM by lifting is usually not a good idea, for the very reason you alude to; injury. Also, as you try and try to “push” it to that 1RM by lifting, you expend a LOT of energy, so that what ever weight you assume to be your 1RM may not be a true reflection because of all that expended energy.

This is a little off from your question, but I would like the gangs thoughts on warm-up sets; Some say about 25% 1RM, 50% 1RM then WORK sets at 80% to 90% of 1RM. Any thoughts? (Hope this helps).

Oh…from my chart, your 1RM (135 lbs/7 reps) is ABOUT 170 pounds. (Remember that these charts are APPROXIMATIONS.) That would make your work sets BETWEEN 135 (80%) and 155 (90%).

Thanks for the reply

I have to disagree. Charts are crap. Ask Bill Starr what he thinks of charts. People use charts because they like to think they can lift more than they actually can. The only way to lift big singles is to train for big singles, and if you’re doing that, you don’t need a chart to tell you what your max is. The stress placed on your body by doing higher reps does not prepare you for the stress placed on your body by doing singles, doubles and triples. For example, at the end of a 20 rep squat routine, i hit 225 lbs 20xs. Run that down a chart and it probably translates into a 370-400 single. I gaurantee you that if i had tried a single with that weight at my next workout, that it would have crushed me. And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why.
Until you get under a weight and lift it, its not your max single, I don’t care what any chart says.

Let me say it again; they are APPROXIMATIONS and a STARTING POINT, especally for the beginner. EAG, if you’re throwing around that kind of iron,you certainly are not a beginner. Seasoned lifters have no more need for charts than they do for weighing out every morsel of their food. NO beginner (or even intermediate lifter, for that matter) needs to be pushing the limit in order to see what their 1RM is. They are begging for injury. My recommendation still stands…

Mufusa,since you are doing some PT, I thought I might mention this, it is my understanding that women have a higher endurance (able to do more reps)at closer to their 1rm than men, while men of course have the greater overall strength. In other words, a male and female with the same muscle mass ( upper body), the female may be able to do 5 reps at 90% of her 1rm. The male’s 1rm may be 20lbs higher, but he can only do 3 reps of his 1rm. Do you have separate charts for M/F ? I think I read this on the Meso site, or possibly Scientific American.I am just generalizing the #s here, I don’t remember the specific %'s. Any questions, comments, concerns people? If I am confused, please enlighten me.

A Girl: No, I think you’re right, but for some reason, I have not seen separate charts.

Again, keep in mind that all these numbers are merely a guage, not some physical absolutes. In a response to a previous post of mine, JB mentioned (and I agree), that many people will not sufficiently overload the muscle, which will lead to suboptimal gains. So, if your CALCULATED 80%1RM max lets you do 20 easy reps, UP THE WEIGHT and RESET YOUR NUMBERS. IF it allows you to barely to two reps of that particular exercise (as 1RMs are, of course, exercise specific), lighten the weight. (You will almost never see this type of descepany, but you get the point. These charts are actually pretty good guages). I then advise people to check the ego’s at the door. This is not some contest, but again 1) one (of many) subjective guages of ones progress and 2) a subjective measure (again, among others)that we are sufficiently overloading the muscle. Regrettably, too many people use the 1RM like they use BF%, bench press max, and biceps/penis size; more as some “bragging” point and/or out of some need to impress somebody. Not for me. It is merely a tool.

(A Girl; I’ll keep my eyes out for those separate charts).

A Girl I have been searching the net for some time to get a chart that will give 1 rpm estimations for femail lifters as i too had read the same statistics that you had but so far i searces have turned up nothing so i came up with using the sam chart men do and take 8% off of the estimated 1 rpm not ten percent as i have found through some of my femail lifting friends that this is the closest estimation that they can get to there 1 rpm and it is nearly the same as it when they test it hope this helps.

A Girl, good point. I don’t have anything special to add to what you said, but it is obvious that women and men have different strength curves, and whatever charts exist should reflect that fact. Mufasa, Big A, here’s what I always used: When I first started lifting I trained with a bunch of powerlifters, and their rule of thumb was that you can 1RM about 11% above your 3RM. So if your best 3RM on incline presses is, say, 215, then your 1RM for that exercise would be about 238, give or take. I found this to be a pretty good method of calculation myself, although everyone is, of course, different.

A Girl, i think the reasons that females can do more reps at given percentage of their 1RM is due to muscle fiber makeup and neuromuscular strength and not necessarily that they have more “endurance”.

Ah, yes, the 1RM…maybe TC will chime in…that was in jest, TC, just in case you come across it…please don’t open up a can of whoopass on me, big guy:-)

The King has Returned! Hey, Lion King, great posts lately…meant to respond to a few of the others but time has been valuable…were you away from the jungle for a while? On to proper warmup for 1RM–just answering the questions, not advocating one way or the other–from Anabolic Muscle Mass (bear with me, it’s lengthy):
Do five continuous reps with 50% of estimated max triple. Rest three minutes, perform a second set of three at 70% of that weight. Rest three minutes, perform a set of two at 75% of the weight. Rest two and a half minutes, do a set of one rep with 85% and rest another two and a half minutes before doing a final warmup of 90-95%. Rest four minutes and take first attempt (weight is max triple). Since this poundage is max triple, you should expect to lift between 10 and 13% more. Increase poundage 5-6.5% on second attempt. On third attempt take another 5-6.5% increase, which takes you beyond your mathematically projected new max single.

Complicated, I guess. These are mock contest conditions also, as stated by the authors.

I also remember Poliquin discussing the strength discrepancies among men and women at identical percentages of 1RM.

Thanks, Timbo! Simply outstanding!!!

Again…the use of 1RM, %of 1RM and 1RM charts are TOOLS…that’s all…

well, all i have to say is this. after lifting for a year or so i could do 135 15-16 times. at the time i maxed under 200. now i max near 300 and can actually only get 135 11-12 times. see how that compares to the charts.

Maybe your muscular endurance went down some Nic, that’s why you can only do the 135 for 11-12 reps i think it was.