T Nation

Estimating 1RM from Work Sets?


Hello CT!

I have a question about estimating the 1RM from the work sets. I’m familiar with the basic “laws” like 90% is roughly 3RM and 85% is 5RM. But my question is, how does the number of sets affect this matter?

For example, if I can hit 3 x 180 kg in deadlift for ONE set my max will be something like 200 kg. But if I can hit that same set MULTIPLE times (say 3 x 3 x 180 kg), what would that mean?

I know these things are not foolproof accurate and differ very much individually, but just wanted to hear your thoughts. I use this kind of calculations as a tool to predict my strength gains and to make sure I’m ready to try a certain weight when maxing out.

Thank you in advance!


Not CT obviously. But you will find out through experimentation. I know when I can lift something for five , I can usually lift 20% more than that comfortably for one, probably a bit more at a push.

Look into the 80% 1RM test for possible fibre distribution.

But is down to the individual’s leverages for the lift and motivation. Usually you are more motivated to lift a 1RM .


Get an app. But to be honest it really doesn’t matter unless you are a competitive powerlifter


use ramping method to your 1 rep max and thats it