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1RM Rest Between Sets


I've been lifting for about half a year now but I've never really tested my 1RM for any lifts until this weekend.

How long should I wait between sets when testing my 1RM in order to make sure that I've recovered enough to get an accurate test?

Say for instance I estimate 170 lbs for an exercise, but when I lift it I actually get 5 reps before failure. So if I want to figure out my actual 1RM, I rest then try the same lift at 180 or 190, how long should I rest?

I've been using a couple of CW's programs followed by a week off before starting another one. My idea is to take the first day of my week of and test my 1RM for all my basic lifts (squat, deads, bench, etc.) - rest 6 days then have a better idea of how much I should be using when I start my next program and it calls for 80% or whatever of my 1RM for a certain number of reps.


I believe the suggested interval is 3 minutes. This allows creatine stores to be replenished to about 85% of baseline. Waiting longer is not efficient as 4 minutes give you around 86%, 5 minutes 88% etc.

Again, don't quote me on the numbers but you can get the general idea.


I don't know if you were just using it as example, but to go to failure when you're warming up.


Proper 1 RM testing should involve a progressive increase in weight while using minimal effort. Take your example of projected 1 RM of 170. Warmup with 45lb bar 5 reps, 95 3 reps, 125 2 reps, 145 1 rep, and 170 1 rep. If 170 was easy add 10lbs. Keep adding weight (5-10 pounds) until you reach your true 1RM in good form. Your rest on the light sets can be less than a minute. When you get close to 1 RM rest 3-5 minutes.

Powerlifting meets typically involve a 10 minutes or longer between attempts. Doing excessive reps on the way up to the 1RM will only reduce your strength for the testing set.


I'm not talking about warming up. What I mean is if I don't know what my 1RM is for a certain lift and I estimate it, but accidently estimate it too low (like low enough to get 5 reps or whatever). That's what I meant about 5 reps at 170 then adding more weight to get a more accurate 1RM weight.

As for the poster above, thanks. I used 4 minutes when I tested them yesterday. The longest rest periods I ever used in any of CW's programs was 2 minutes. So I just doubled it and hoped it would be enough.


Why are you mentioning creatine stores? We're talking about a max effort, which probably doesn't diminish energy stores hardly at all.

The real reason you need rest after a max effort is for your CNS. The CNS takes longer to recover than your metabolic system.

Most will need 5 mins or longer after a 1RM.


Why would you do 5 reps with 170? Just do 1 rep. And if you want to show your spotter that this isn't your 1RM, you could do 2. But don't do 5.


Agreed on all counts.

Just a note since it's winter, make sure you stay warm by wearing sweats or whatnot between attempts.



My preferred method is to work up in approximately equal lb. jumps. First warm up set is about 50%. I do 3-5 reps on that, then all the next sets are 1-3 reps, until 3 gets hard, then I move to singles. I rest between 3-6 minutes, depending on how good I feel. Although I did hit a 60lb DL PR with 5-8 min rests. It just depends on how you feel. I wouldn't go any lower than 3 minutes though, personally.

Of course, if you're used to short rest intervals, 3min will seem like an eternity and should be more than enough. It's at least as much psychological as CNS recovery.


Because it was my first time trying my 1RM and I was too ignorant to even consider that. Seriously, I don't know why I didn't stop after the 2nd rep. Lesson learned.

And I'll bump the rest up to 5 mins. next time. I'll be able to estimate the weight better the first time from here on out. I didn't really have a clue how much each lift would be before yesterday because I never lift to failure, so I just guessed at what weights to use for my 1RM attempts.


A 5RM feels alot different then a 1RM. Won't you be able to tell the difference fter one repetition and know that you need to add weight?


Am I only one who thinks that MACHINE AZ and BUFFALOKILLA should be featured in the authors locker room. Then again , Id bet Im not the first to bring this up.


Yeah. Like I said, it was idiotic to try to get 5 reps out. I was just expecting it to kill me after 1 rep, and I was surprised when I was able to get the 2nd, and the 3rd, etc. I just kept going - caught up in my idiotic excitement that I could pump out more than 1 rep.

Now I know better for next time.


As long as it takes for you to feel ready.