How Typically Ought to You One-Rep Max?


At any time when weightlifting comes up amongst a bunch of dudes, somebody will ultimately ask a query like, “How a lot ya bench?”

We all know what the interrogator needs to know with this query: What’s the heaviest weight you may raise on the bench press for a single repetition?

He’s asking about your one-rep max. 

Whereas not the one measure of power, the one-rep max is a fairly good gauge of it. It’s additionally helpful for different issues: It may be used to fine-tune your programming; if you happen to plan on competing, testing your one-rep max may also help you apply the ability of lifting a extremely heavy weight a single time; and, let’s face it, testing your one-rep max can merely be loads of enjoyable. 

However the one-rep max isn’t one thing it’s best to do that always. You enhance your probabilities of damage once you raise as heavy as attainable, and testing your one-rep max will be actually fatiguing. Harm and extreme fatigue aren’t any bueno for good points. 

So how typically do you have to check your one-rep max so that you get the advantages whereas minimizing the downsides? 

To reply that query, I requested my power coach, Matt Reynolds, for recommendation. Right here’s what he informed me. 

How Typically Ought to You Check Your One-Rep Max?

In the event you resolve to check your one-rep max, how typically do you have to do it?

Properly, it depends upon whether or not you’re a novice, intermediate, or superior lifter.

Novice to Early-Intermediate Lifters

In line with Matt, novice to early-intermediate lifters ought to check their one-rep max each 8 to 10 weeks

Whether or not you’re a novice, intermediate, or superior lifter isn’t decided by how lengthy you’ve been coaching however how lengthy it takes to completely get well from a coaching session. A novice to early-intermediate lifter can often get well from a coaching session inside 24 to 72 hours. Usually, novice and early-intermediate lifters are on some kind of linear development program the place they’re including weight to the bar every exercise. 

If that describes you, shoot to do your one-rep max each two months or so. 

“One-rep maxes are one of many greatest motivators for my novice lifters,” Matt informed me. “They supply a pleasant dopamine hit which may also help early lifters proceed to coach commonly.”

Matt additionally thinks testing one-rep maxes may also help drive adaptation in new lifters; that’s, they may also help you get stronger.

“There’s an argument on the market that testing your one-rep max doesn’t do something to drive adaptation within the power improvement course of, however after teaching hundreds of shoppers, our group has seen that testing one-rep max does certainly assist our athletes get stronger,” Matt stated. 

How do you have to check your one-rep max as a novice or early-intermediate lifter?

Right here’s what Matt recommends: Deal with your one-rep max try like an everyday exercise. However as a substitute of doing all of your scheduled working units, you’re going to work as much as your one-rep max doing heavy singles. When you hit your one-rep max, you’ll do a back-off set of 5 reps at mild weight.

The weights you’ll use will rely upon the place you might be strength-wise. However right here’s a tough instance: let’s say that in an everyday exercise, you’re at the moment lifting 405 for a set of 5 reps; in that case, right here’s what a units x reps scheme for a work-up to a one-rep max may appear like for you:


  • 1×5 @ 135 lbs
  • 1×3 @ 225 lbs
  • 1×2 @ 315 lbs
  • 1×1 @ 415 lbs

One rep max makes an attempt:

  • 1 @ 425 lbs (Raise felt actually quick; could make a fairly first rate bounce in weight)
  • 1 @ 445 lbs (Beginning to really feel a bit grindy; go up however simply 10 lbs)
  • 1 @ 455 lbs (Slowing down extra, however you continue to really feel like you may make yet one more 10-pound bounce)
  • 1 @ 465 lbs (That was a grind, however you bought it! New PR!)

As you may see, determining the right way to make your jumps in weight will go by really feel. Utilizing a price of perceived exertion (RPE) scale may also help you determine the right way to make your jumps in weight. 

RPE 1 is principally no effort, and RPE 10 is full effort. When a raise looks like RPE 10, it feels such as you couldn’t do one other rep after that raise. 

If a raise looks like RPE 7, you may make fairly massive jumps in weight. As you get to RPE 8, begin making smaller jumps in weight.

The aim for testing your one-rep max is to hit a raise that looks like RPE ~9.5 to 10. That’s your one-rep max. 

After you’ve hit your one-rep max, do a back-off set of 5 reps at a lighter weight. 

Late-Intermediate to Superior Lifters

While you’re a late-intermediate to superior lifter, it could actually take a number of days to per week to get well between exercises.

In the event you fall into this class, how typically it’s best to check your one-rep max will rely upon if you happen to’re coaching for a contest or not. 

In the event you’re coaching for a contest, you’ll seemingly have programming designed to will let you peak on the time of your competitors, the place you’ll hopefully hit a one-rep max on all of the lifts by which you’re competing.

In the event you’re not coaching for a contest, Matt says when it’s best to strive for a one-rep PR needs to be extra intuitive. “In case you have a day the place you stroll into the health club and all of your warm-up units are feeling nice, and the bar is feeling mild, go for the PR,” Matt informed me. “As you get alongside in your lifting profession, you don’t know what number of extra alternatives you must hit a one-rep max PR, so if a PR is there for the taking, take it.”

However Matt warns that with this extra intuitive strategy to testing one-rep maxes, you may’t get grasping with it: “You may’t be making an attempt to hit one-rep max PRs each week and even each different week. That may simply disrupt your coaching.” 

While you do resolve to go for a one-rep max, deal with that day like every other exercise. Work as much as your heavy rep, and when you make the try, observe it up with two to 3 back-off units of three to 5 reps at a lighter weight.