Your 1RM is the absolute maximum you can lift for one rep of any given exercise. A true 1RM will leave you with nothing left in the tank. You will have the internal feeling of “I couldn’t put any more weight on the bar if I tried”.
Your technical max is the heaviest weight you can lift without compromising your form. Why is this important? Because if you can train with good technique, you can beat yourself up less. If your form deteriorates because your stronger muscle groups have to take over, you are just cheating your lagging muscle groups out of the work they need to do. If you have weak quads and you always train above your technical maximum, and your back always takes over when your legs can’t stay under the weight and straighten out, your legs will never get stronger.
For most beginners, knowing your 1RM isn’t that important, as building a foundation of strength and form should take precedence over your numbers.
Intermediate lifters can benefit from knowing their 1RM. However, if someone has experience lifting but does not test or train at over 90% of their 1RM, then using estimates or calculations would be helpful. On the other hand, if an intermediate lifter wants to push the limit, they would benefit from testing their true 1RM.Advanced and
Competitive Strength Athletes
Advanced lifters should know their 1RM so that it can guide their training as a percentage of their 1RM. Advanced lifters and competitive strength athletes don’t just benefit from knowing their 1RM, they need to know and test 1RMs.
Try this protocol after a thorough general warm-up.
10 repetitions x barbell only. RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion)
8 reps x 55%, 5 RPE
6 reps 65-70%, 7 RPE
3 reps 75%, 8 RPE
3 reps x 85%, 8.5 RPE
1 Reps x 95%, 9 RPE
1 Reps x 100%, 10 RPE *1 Reps x 105%, 10 RPE
1 Rep x 105%, 10 RPE *.
*If the athlete feels up to the lift that day.