T Nation

20 Rep Max to 1 RM Ratio Look Normal?


#1

I’ve struggled for a while to add any meaningful weight to my bench max, I generally feel I gain more when working in higher rep ranges on bench. A couple of months ago (at the time my bench PR was 325) i set myself the goal of getting 225 for 20 reps (touch n go), i think the first time i tried i got 16 and about 6 weeks later i hit it for 20 - but saw no real movement in my 1RM.

Anyway it raised another question for me, being able to hit 225 for 20 i’d expect to have a 1RM of 350+. It means by 20 RM is 70% of my 1RM which seems high, I’m wondering if that is a similar ratio for others here?


#2

Try the 80-85 % test and see how many reps you get. It should tell whether 70% is likely to be your 20 RM.
Some people’s is more like 10 reps is 70 %.


#3

I’m generally extremely sceptical of how well an RM relates to your max if the RM is above five. Even a 5RM isn’t a great indicator compared to a 3RM.

What you get for 20? Hell, I figure that wouldn’t indicate anything much.

So given you find bench progresses better with higher rep work, you may do well to take a day every four to six weeks where you work up to a 5RM or 3RM just to get an idea of how you’re going. You could also see if you can add reps to your previous 3RM. If you hit 300 lbs for your 3RM and then six weeks later you hit 300 lbs for four, your max will have gone up.

The beauty of that approach is you can gauge your strength without the risk of hitting a max.


#4

Problem with working in high rep ranges like that it becomes less about fast twitch muscle and leans heavily on slow twitch


#5

20 rep max is crap for predicting 1RM. I squatted 235 for 20 which is supposed to be 395lbs. I’ve never squatted more than 365lbs.

I know. I suck at life. I’m still blaming it on being 6’5" with long legs.


#6

I agree 20 rep max is crap for predicting. However, the 225 for high reps and a bench around 315 are all something we are familiar with so we have a good point of reference for your specific question. I’d say 10-12 reps with 225 can get you a 315 bench assuming your not super bouncing the reps or something. So with that an extra 8-10 reps might translate to closer to 350 but it really depends how you train so there might be room for 20lb or so of error. So 225x20 might get you around 330-370 bench. If you train heavy and don’t do a lot of high rep sets you might be closer to 370 and if the reverse is true 330.

The above is for bench press and might vary for other lifts. Squat especially since you can pause at the top for longer breaks between reps when it gets hard or at any point for that matter. DL is more grip related which is more time held vs amount of reps.


#7

We could do our own experiment right here. Max on bench and refer to a rep Max chart to find the correlating weight done for 20 reps. Try that and see if it works… Or use Jim’s favorite equation.

Weight x reps x. 0333 + weight = estimated max

If you know your max and want to determine a different variable such as reps for a given weight required to reach your max then:

Reps = Max - weight / weight /. 0333

Or

Weight + weight= max / reps /. 0333

If Max = 300 and you want to do 20 reps then this would look like:

Weight + weight = 300 / 20 /. 0333
Weight + weight= 450

Weight = 225

Man, I just spaced out in nerd mode for a bit there…


#8

I’ve benched 395 and probably haven’t ever been able to do 225x20. The correlation between 20 rep max and 1rm is almost nonexistent. You will become good at what you practice.

why do you believe this, if you can add 4 reps at 225 and not see any 1RM movement? Maybe you should reconsider what is effective for you. I don’t know ANYONE who consistently works exclusively in the 20 rep range and has a very strong bench press. All the 500+ bench pressers I know generally work in the 5-10 rep range regularly, and every now and then might do an AMRAP set for more reps. But rarely, and probably just for kicks.

My advice would be, if you like doing 20 rep sets then keep including them as a finisher, but start getting under heavier weights regularly.


#9

Back in college, one of my buddies and I decided to do a 225 rep test as though we were training for the NFL combine (sadly, I am still awaiting my call). At the time I had a 1RM of 365; he was more like 335. I hit 225 for 18 and thought I was sitting pretty, and this clown pulled 22 reps out of his ass (good reps, too, not bouncing-with-his-ass-six-inches-off-the-bench reps).


#10

Another issue with 20 rep bench press is the reps usually look different than how they would for under 10, possibly faster and more bouncing to minimize time under tension. Because the rep is done differently it doesn’t translate as well to better strength. I’m still convinced the estimated 1RM is closer than what people think assuming you don’t train in a way that never goes above 5 reps or something.

Even this 405x26 comes out to estimated 755lb and I think his best is 722. 33lbs of error is pretty good for numbers that high. His other rep maxes are similar, a bit high but all estimated 1RM in the mid 700 range.


#11

This pretty much sums it up. 20rm weights are training endurance more than strength, it can be effective for hypertrophy but so can sets of 6. If you don’t hear of any successful powerlifters training that way, it’s probably for a good reason.


#12

There are plenty of incredibly strong guys who regularly do sets of 20+ (Leeman, Eddie Hall, Duffin etc), but I’d agree this is for hypertrophy not directly to increase maximal strength.