T Nation

Rep Max Testing

So I’ve been working on my program and have been progressing pretty well…

I used theoretical maxes as a foundation to base my exercise loads on… I want to test them now to see where they’re really at.

I guess I was thinking about testing a 3 RM and calculating it out from there, but how do I dedicate a week to this testing?

I guess the lifts I want to test are:

Back Squat
Front Squat
Flat BB Bench
Flat DB Bench
Bent over BB Rows
DB Rows
Chin ups
Pull ups
Military Press

Now this seems excessive to me, but most of Waterbury’s programs call for some percentage of a 1 RM for a certain movement.

Am I all f*#*ed up here?

If I’m not, how many lifts should I do in one day? Is it a personal thing (based on fatigue)?


Test the big three: Bench, squat, and deadlift. Maybe chinups and long jumps if you want. Just pick a few and perhaps test 3 each day.

So what do I use as a basis when I’m deciding loading for programs that call for “82% of 1 RM” or something like that if I only test my big movements?

Waterbury addresses this in Huge in a Hurry. There’s an expectation that there is some guesswork involved.

Take an educated guess, add or subtract weight if it’s too easy or too difficult to maintain bar speed in the rep range.

It’s a waste of time to test all those 1RM unless you’re just satisfying your own curiousity.

For many Waterbury programs, percentages often mean just “leaving a couple of reps in the tank”…Which one are you planning to do?
In doubt, be conservative, underestimate your maxes; this way, you’ll let room do adaptation and progress. Overestimating leads very often to stagnation.

I definitely would NOT max out on GM (for safety reason)!

I second testing the big three; especially for a Waterbury program. They pretty much all incorporate some form of the three. Maybe throw in power clean.

fabiop makes a great point, GM’s are not something you want to test your 1 rep max on imo. He’s also spot on with his assessment of overestimating your max; especially regarding a Waterbury program. His programs steer away from conventional bodybuilding dogmas such as lifting to fatigue.

I’ve used a few of his programs in the past and they’re all pretty quality stuff. Good luck.