T Nation

Testing 1 rep max

I want to test my 1 rep max on a few core lifts - squat, deads, bench, pull ups…

How do you guys recommend doing this?? I was going to do a warm up set of two on each lift then put up a weight I think I can do 3 reps…then continue to drop the weight.

I will take long rest breaks. I also may test rows and shoulder presses too.

Any advice??? I have gone long enough without assessing this.

I start with a light weight for 5 reps, then go down to 3 reps, 2 reps, etc. The number of sets depends on how strong you are. I wouldn’t rest too long between the light warm-ups though.

I used to do it as Teddy describes. However,
I’ve since decided that for me, there’s no
value in causing the fatigue (even with
reduced weight) associated with doing 5
reps. So, depending on the exercise, I
do either singles (usually) or doubles,
starting from about 50% 1RM, and taking
20 seconds rest (if singles) or 40 seconds
rest (if doubles) until it gets kind of
difficult, then allowing 40 or 90
seconds rest.

There would be about 6 of these warmup reps.

Once the weight starts getting challenging,
then I allow 3 minutes rest, and go up a
few percent RM, according to how the last
rep felt, each time. If a rep is very difficult
and the next attempt would be dubious, I
allow 5 minutes.

Typically, if you have not been doing
work very near 1RM recently, you’d find
your measured 1RM increasing quite a bit
the next week, if you tried doing this
again. Say another 5%. This is due to
your being limited by factors other than
muscular strength in lifting maximal weights,
and experience helps improve those factors
(e.g. neuromuscular recruitment, and Golgi

I have been pretty consistent in my preperation for a max in the core lifts over the past 17 years. For example, in the bench, 1X10/135, 1X6/185, 1X4/225, 1X2/275, 1X1/315, 1X1/330. If I would get the 330, I add 10 more and go for 340. I use this method with all core lifts.

here is how i would warmup if i was trying to max out my lets say bench press and i thought it was around 200 lbs:
no static stretching of the pecs or triceps, maybe a little dynamic stretching of them. static stretching of the external rotators.
i also go through the first few warm up sets as fast as i can put the weight on the bar.
45 x 7-8 (or however many you need to ‘losen up’ your shoulder joint)
95 x 5
135 x 4
155 x 3
175 x 2
rest 2-3 minutes
185 x 1
rest 2-3 minutes
195 x 1
rest 2-3 minutes
200 x 1
rest 2-3 minutes
if you think you can do a greater weight, try it at this point.