Safe Way to Find One Rep Max

This is probably going to be deemed a stupid question, but here goes…I do not have a workout partner and I want to find my 1RM’s. Does anybody have a good idea on how to do this.

I know I could guess a weight, try to lift it and if I fail then that is not it and try again, but how long do I wait to try the lift again? 10 minutes, 15 minutes, the next day???

Sorry if this is a dumb question but I have been lifting for about a year and I feel I should know more than I do and I should have better gains than I have had.

Thanks for any input.

No dumb questions bro.

You could ask a friend/relative/acquaintance, but if theres absolutely no possibility of a fellow human helping you out there are “1RM calculators”

Check it out. It may not be 100% accurate, but its better than guessing.

[quote]jarc wrote:
This is probably going to be deemed a stupid question, but here goes…I do not have a workout partner and I want to find my 1RM’s. Does anybody have a good idea on how to do this.

I know I could guess a weight, try to lift it and if I fail then that is not it and try again, but how long do I wait to try the lift again? 10 minutes, 15 minutes, the next day???

Sorry if this is a dumb question but I have been lifting for about a year and I feel I should know more than I do and I should have better gains than I have had.

Thanks for any input.
[/quote]

My first question is; why do you want to know?

My second question is; is there absolutely no one who could possibly spot you (i.e. you train alone in your basement)? Or, do you just not have a regular workout partner?

If it’s the former, then you probably don’t want to be attempting any 1RM’s (except perhaps in lifts like deads or pull-ups/chin-ups). If it’s the later then just ask someone to spot you (don’t worry they won’t bite), just if you do so try not to ask them to spot you in the middle of a set. Make sure that they are either between sets (or better yet between exercises).

It’s not as dumb a question as you are making it out to be either.

What I would suggest to someone who truly has no idea how much their max is, would be to use one of the calculators that can be found online to estimate their 1RM.

Here is one such calculator (if anyone knows of a better one feel free to post it)

Then, once you have your estimated 1RM, you should perform several warm up sets with smaller, yet progressively increasing weights (and increasingly lower reps). Remember though that these are just warm up sets, so you should not take any of the sets to failure.

As you start getting closer to your estimated 1RM (and are using low reps) you will probably want to give yourself longer rest periods between warm up sets.

Once you reach your estimated 1RM try lifting it once. If you get it, give yourself a full 3-5 minutes and try with 5 lbs more. Continue this until you fail. The last weight that you lift successfully is your 1RM.

Likewise, if you fail before you reach your estimated 1RM, then the last weight that you lift successfully is your 1RM.

Again though, performing 1RM’s isn’t a good idea without a spotter (or at the very least a power rack), and except for rare programs (like Poliquin’s 1-6 principle) not really necessary either.

Hope this helps.

Good training,

Sentoguy

i disagree wiht sentoguy on some points.
Anyways his method of finding a 1RM is probably good. you should make jumps of 10-20% of your estimated weight starting at maybe 20-30%. when you get within maybe 5-10% of your max you should start with 5 pound jumps untill you reach your max.

EX for 350 lb estimated max
100Xbunch
135Xsome
185Xsome
225Xsome
275Xfew
315X1-3
335X1
340X1
345X1
350Xmiss

then you have a 345 pound lift. up until 85-90% rest time probably isnt that important. just slap on the plates and go. when you get heavier more rest might help to get a higher max. maybe around 3 minutes max between sets. when its cold out i like to add extra sets at the lighter weights to help me get warmed up better.

the spotter isnt that important. I miss squats and benches all the time without spotters. Just make sure you can get out from the weight, dont bench down to above the nips(except on inclines) and make sure you have a good open clear place to drop the weight when you squat. when you get strong enough to rip stuff off you should probably have a spotter and rack.

Get a spotter if you are testing bench and just warm up up with light singles all the way to your 1 rm:

95 x 1
115 x 1
135 x 1
155 x 1
175 x 1
205 x 1
225 x 0 (failed)

For the squat, put the bars in a safe position, without limiting the range of motion. Deadlifts, well, pretty self-explanatory.

[quote]rander wrote:
i disagree wiht sentoguy on some points.
Anyways his method of finding a 1RM is probably good. you should make jumps of 10-20% of your estimated weight starting at maybe 20-30%. when you get within maybe 5-10% of your max you should start with 5 pound jumps untill you reach your max.

EX for 350 lb estimated max
100Xbunch
135Xsome
185Xsome
225Xsome
275Xfew
315X1-3
335X1
340X1
345X1
350Xmiss

then you have a 345 pound lift. up until 85-90% rest time probably isnt that important. just slap on the plates and go. when you get heavier more rest might help to get a higher max. maybe around 3 minutes max between sets. when its cold out i like to add extra sets at the lighter weights to help me get warmed up better.

the spotter isnt that important. I miss squats and benches all the time without spotters. Just make sure you can get out from the weight, dont bench down to above the nips(except on inclines) and make sure you have a good open clear place to drop the weight when you squat. when you get strong enough to rip stuff off you should probably have a spotter and rack. [/quote]

Rander,

What points do you disagree with me on? Your method of finding your max is pretty much what I was describing (albeit in slightly more detail).

Are you saying that you disagree with me about the spotting issue? If so, yeah, it’s possible to go for 1RM’s without a spotter or a rack, but it’s much less safe. Dumping loaded bars, without having bumper plates or a lifting platform is usually not the best of ideas.

If he’s using cast iron plates that could quickly lead to him having to go out and buy new plates. If he’s lifting in a gym this could very quickly really piss off management and get him kicked out of the gym. They don’t generally tend to be thrilled by damaged equipment/property.

Not to mention the increased risk of injury. So, I made that suggestion about not going for 1RM’s out of looking out for the OP’s best interest, not because I don’t believe it’s possible to go for 1RM’s without a spot/rack.

Good training,

Sentoguy

[quote]jarc wrote:
This is probably going to be deemed a stupid question, but here goes…I do not have a workout partner and I want to find my 1RM’s. Does anybody have a good idea on how to do this.

I know I could guess a weight, try to lift it and if I fail then that is not it and try again, but how long do I wait to try the lift again? 10 minutes, 15 minutes, the next day???

Sorry if this is a dumb question but I have been lifting for about a year and I feel I should know more than I do and I should have better gains than I have had.

Thanks for any input.
[/quote]

Not having workout partner is no excuse really, if your working out at home are you saying you have no friends that could stop by and give you quick spot? If your at the gym guys will always say yes if you ask them to spot, not once have I ever seen anyone say no when asked nicely.

You could do calculations or w/e that prob do show you good idea, yet there is no reason you can’t get a spot imo. If you really want to know thats what you should do.

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
rander wrote:
i disagree wiht sentoguy on some points.
Anyways his method of finding a 1RM is probably good. you should make jumps of 10-20% of your estimated weight starting at maybe 20-30%. when you get within maybe 5-10% of your max you should start with 5 pound jumps untill you reach your max.

EX for 350 lb estimated max
100Xbunch
135Xsome
185Xsome
225Xsome
275Xfew
315X1-3
335X1
340X1
345X1
350Xmiss

then you have a 345 pound lift. up until 85-90% rest time probably isnt that important. just slap on the plates and go. when you get heavier more rest might help to get a higher max. maybe around 3 minutes max between sets. when its cold out i like to add extra sets at the lighter weights to help me get warmed up better.

the spotter isnt that important. I miss squats and benches all the time without spotters. Just make sure you can get out from the weight, dont bench down to above the nips(except on inclines) and make sure you have a good open clear place to drop the weight when you squat. when you get strong enough to rip stuff off you should probably have a spotter and rack.

Rander,

What points do you disagree with me on? Your method of finding your max is pretty much what I was describing (albeit in slightly more detail).

Are you saying that you disagree with me about the spotting issue? If so, yeah, it’s possible to go for 1RM’s without a spotter or a rack, but it’s much less safe. Dumping loaded bars, without having bumper plates or a lifting platform is usually not the best of ideas.

If he’s using cast iron plates that could quickly lead to him having to go out and buy new plates. If he’s lifting in a gym this could very quickly really piss off management and get him kicked out of the gym. They don’t generally tend to be thrilled by damaged equipment/property.

Not to mention the increased risk of injury. So, I made that suggestion about not going for 1RM’s out of looking out for the OP’s best interest, not because I don’t believe it’s possible to go for 1RM’s without a spot/rack.

Good training,

Sentoguy[/quote]

yeah, about not needing spotters. anyways if hes in a gym with people he shouldnt have a problem getting a spotter, missing BP doesnt involve dropping weights on the ground and if you are testing squats it might be about a 2ft drop which is the same as dropping a DL.
sometimes its in a persons best interest to not be a wuss and go for it(but not always).
Ive personally never seen plates break, but i rarely miss squats, although i do lower DL fast sometimes. also i train at home by myself with no power rack or squat rack, just a benchpress bench with a rack at the top to load weights with and walk out. i didnt pick it out my brother got it some years back and i sorta took over as he lacked interest. i would of went with a power rack and a dumbell bench if i could but its expensive and i dont really need it. also he could stack boards as a safety catch for squats.

For the bench press, you definitely need a spotter to find your 1RM. Don’t even think about attempting it alone.

But the 1RM is not that important, except for bragging rights. It’s very rarely useful to use exactly 80% or whatever of your 1RM. If you can do like 7 reps, that’s quite likely close enough to 80%.

[quote]rander wrote:
i disagree wiht sentoguy on some points.
Anyways his method of finding a 1RM is probably good. you should make jumps of 10-20% of your estimated weight starting at maybe 20-30%. when you get within maybe 5-10% of your max you should start with 5 pound jumps untill you reach your max.

EX for 350 lb estimated max
100Xbunch
135Xsome
185Xsome
225Xsome
275Xfew
315X1-3
335X1
340X1
345X1
350Xmiss
[/quote] So you’re not even going to bother considering muscle exhaustion by the time he hits that alleged max? [quote]
then you have a 345 pound lift. up until 85-90% rest time probably isnt that important. just slap on the plates and go. when you get heavier more rest might help to get a higher max. maybe around 3 minutes max between sets. when its cold out i like to add extra sets at the lighter weights to help me get warmed up better.
[/quote]
Please describe to me the physiological benefit of cold weather and “warming up” for this purpose. I’m baffled. Just like I’m baffled about why he shouldn’t bother taking rest time for anything less than 85%[quote]

the spotter isnt that important. I miss squats and benches all the time without spotters. Just make sure you can get out from the weight, dont bench down to above the nips(except on inclines) and make sure you have a good open clear place to drop the weight when you squat. when you get strong enough to rip stuff off you should probably have a spotter and rack. [/quote]

A spotter isn’t important? Where is your logic for that, and by logic I mean a plausible explanation, not just mindless “bro” logic. If you’re going to give advice, at least err on the side of safety. This advice is careless and irresponsible.

[quote]florin wrote:
For the bench press, you definitely need a spotter to find your 1RM. Don’t even think about attempting it alone.

But the 1RM is not that important, except for bragging rights. It’s very rarely useful to use exactly 80% or whatever of your 1RM. If you can do like 7 reps, that’s quite likely close enough to 80%.[/quote]

I don’t know about that, I like to do it once every month or so just to see that I have made progress. I don’t do it just so I can brag.

[quote]rander wrote:

yeah, about not needing spotters. anyways if hes in a gym with people he shouldnt have a problem getting a spotter, missing BP doesnt involve dropping weights on the ground and if you are testing squats it might be about a 2ft drop which is the same as dropping a DL.
sometimes its in a persons best interest to not be a wuss and go for it(but not always).
Ive personally never seen plates break, but i rarely miss squats, although i do lower DL fast sometimes. also i train at home by myself with no power rack or squat rack, just a benchpress bench with a rack at the top to load weights with and walk out. i didnt pick it out my brother got it some years back and i sorta took over as he lacked interest. i would of went with a power rack and a dumbell bench if i could but its expensive and i dont really need it. also he could stack boards as a safety catch for squats.[/quote]

Yes, if he’s in a gym there should be people available, and in that case if he wants to test his max then he should go for it. Not sure what you mean by missing BP not involving dropping weights on the ground. If you miss a bench (and you can bench a decent amount) it’s going to just be sitting there crushing your chest (if you’ve used good form). Now sometimes you can roll the bar down your abdomen and then sit up with the bar in your lap. But the heavier the weight the more difficult this becomes.

As far as squats go, I’d argue that unless you’re talking about BB hack squats, dumping a bar on squats is going to be about the same as dropping a deadlift from the lock out position in terms of height. Not to mention the added dangers of having to get out from under the bar safely, preventing the falling bar from hitting any part of your body on it’s way to the ground and possibly losing balance and hitting your head either on the bar, the ground, the bench, etc…

Once again I’m not arguing that dumping a squat or a bench isn’t possible to do safely. But we don’t know the OP personally, we don’t know how athletic he is, what the area he’s lifting in looks like (in terms of possibly hazardous furniture, type of flooring, type of weights he’s using, etc…), how much weight he can lift for a 1RM, whether someone could hear him if he called for help or how soon someone would find him if he became seriously injured. All of these things need to be taken into consideration IMO.

But, we still haven’t even heard back from the OP, so we don’t yet know why he wants to even find out his 1RM, or where he works out. So some of my concerns may not even apply. Or he might not even need to perform 1RM tests.

Good training,

Sentoguy

[quote]shizen wrote:
florin wrote:
For the bench press, you definitely need a spotter to find your 1RM. Don’t even think about attempting it alone.

But the 1RM is not that important, except for bragging rights. It’s very rarely useful to use exactly 80% or whatever of your 1RM. If you can do like 7 reps, that’s quite likely close enough to 80%.

I don’t know about that, I like to do it once every month or so just to see that I have made progress. I don’t do it just so I can brag. [/quote]

Why do you need to perform a 1RM test every month to see that you’ve made progress? Shouldn’t a quick look at your workout log tell you that?

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
shizen wrote:
florin wrote:
For the bench press, you definitely need a spotter to find your 1RM. Don’t even think about attempting it alone.

But the 1RM is not that important, except for bragging rights. It’s very rarely useful to use exactly 80% or whatever of your 1RM. If you can do like 7 reps, that’s quite likely close enough to 80%.

I don’t know about that, I like to do it once every month or so just to see that I have made progress. I don’t do it just so I can brag.

Why do you need to perform a 1RM test every month to see that you’ve made progress? Shouldn’t a quick look at your workout log tell you that?[/quote]

Hey it makes you feel good sometimes.

Wow. I didn’t know this question would get such a great response. Thank you all for the advice.
Yes you are right I can ask some one in the gym for a spot on most days. My gym does have a couple of squat racks and they are not really power racks but they are bench racks with some extended “bars” that the elevation can be changed; so I could use them to spot myself if need be.

I wanted to find my 1RM because a lot of the workouts I have read call for a certain percentage of your 1RM. And I am a guy and would of course like to know what my 1RM is for bench and squat and deadlift. I know some of you will say it is not important unless you are a power lifter but like I said…I’m a guy, we all want to know!!!

I am pretty new to this site and it kicks ass!!! Pretty much everybody is helpful and alot of you are funny as hell!!!

I guess the best advice I have seen so far is to just ask someone to spot me. But sometimes I am a little scared some of the guys in the gym will just fall on top of me along with the weight.

Thanks again for all the help. Take care.

I think finding a spotter is the safest way to test 1RM, both mentally and physically. Watch the others in your gym. Learn who knows how to spot and who doesn’t. This is not an area to just grab someone, as a spotter that does not know how to complete the task is just as dangerous as no spotter at all.

Malinda

contl,
i get winded walking to the refrigerator and i can do a warmup like that so exaustions not a problem.
i miss BP(or variations) almost every week, now im no heman but i can do 360 with my eyes popping out of my head and i could still get 365 down to my lap to put it on the floor.

I went the bulk of my training not having the balls to do this dumb shit, then i figured it out and now im making the best gains ive made since the first month i started(like 4 years ago), and its been going for a good 4 months.bench 320-360, dl 455-535(only maxing on it maybe once every six weeks though more early on)

also i dont have any friends and train at home so you can all go to hell, um i mean if he doesnt have a friend who’d be willing to help him out and trains at home thats his only option.

Jarc,
for the workouts that call for a certain percent just do a weight that you think you can do the workout with. If its way to much lower it next time, if its a little low you can do some extra work and raise the weight next time it next time.

and if you mean the guys at the gym cant lift it off you, if you’re attempting 315 but are only good for 300 then all the guy has to really do is add the remaining 15 lbs. So dont be scared.

[quote]rander wrote:
i miss BP(or variations) almost every week, now im no heman but i can do 360 with my eyes popping out of my head and i could still get 365 down to my lap to put it on the floor.

I went the bulk of my training not having the balls to do this dumb shit, then i figured it out and now im making the best gains…
[/quote]

So how do you get 365 down to your lap on a flat benchpress? However you do it I’m quite sure it’s unhealthy and dangerous and it’s piss poor advice to give anyone. If you fail on a benchpress it’s safer to tilt the bar to one side and let the plates fall. Nothing ballsy about being retarded, I bench more than you and I wouldn’t even roll 275 down my chest, (particually the sternum).

The 5 seconds it takes to ask for someone to spot you makes more sense than trying to roll over 200lbs off your chest.

[quote]Joe84 wrote:
rander wrote:
i miss BP(or variations) almost every week, now im no heman but i can do 360 with my eyes popping out of my head and i could still get 365 down to my lap to put it on the floor.

I went the bulk of my training not having the balls to do this dumb shit, then i figured it out and now im making the best gains…

So how do you get 365 down to your lap on a flat benchpress? However you do it I’m quite sure it’s unhealthy and dangerous and it’s piss poor advice to give anyone. If you fail on a benchpress it’s safer to tilt the bar to one side and let the plates fall. Nothing ballsy about being retarded, I bench more than you and I wouldn’t even roll 275 down my chest, (particually the sternum). [/quote]

rollings a bad way to describe it, its more like a sideways(nearly parallel to the ground) push to the beltline, followed by a quick situp and then im standing witht the weight like a locked out DL. anyways i have no problem breathing with a BP laying on my chest and have experienced no discomfort from that activity. first i said if he has friends he should get them to spot him, second if he goes to a gym he should have no problem getting a spot. third i said to lower it to below the nipples so as to not choke himself like a goof.
anyways if he doesnt think its safe or cant pull it off he doesnt need to try it.
maybe i have some abnormal anatomical(or psychological lol) attribute that makes me immune to the discomfort. who knows.