What Is a 1 Rep Max and How to Calculate It?

As a CrossFit® athlete, you’ve probably heard of the term “1 rep max” (1RM) before. A 1RM is the maximum amount of weight that you can lift for one repetition of a given exercise. It’s an important measure of strength and is used by many athletes as a benchmark to track progress over time.

Calculating your 1RM requires some preparation and caution, as it can be dangerous if not done correctly. In this post, we’ll go over the steps to calculate your 1RM and provide some tips to keep you safe while doing it.


Step 1: Warm-up

Before attempting a 1RM lift, it’s important to properly warm-up. This will help to prevent injury and ensure that your muscles are prepared for the lift. A good warm-up should include light cardio, dynamic stretching, and some light sets of the exercise you’ll be performing.


Step 2: Select Your Weight

Once you’ve warmed up, it’s time to select a weight that you think you can lift for one repetition. It’s important to choose a weight that is challenging but not so heavy that you risk injury. A good starting point is to choose a weight that you can comfortably lift for 5 repetitions.


Step 3: Lift and Rest

With the weight selected, perform the lift as explosively as possible while maintaining proper form. Once you’ve completed the lift, rest for 3-5 minutes before attempting the lift again with a slightly heavier weight. Continue to increase the weight until you can no longer lift the weight for one repetition with proper form.


Step 4: Calculate Your 1RM

To calculate your 1RM, use the weight from your last successful lift and enter it into a 1RM calculator. There are many calculators available online that can provide an estimated 1RM based on the weight lifted and the number of repetitions performed. Keep in mind that these calculators are only estimates, and your true 1RM may be slightly different.


Tips for Safe 1RM Testing

Always use a spotter when attempting a 1RM lift.

Avoid attempting a 1RM if you’re feeling fatigued or have any pain or discomfort.

Use proper form and technique throughout the lift.

Don’t attempt a 1RM too frequently – once every few months is sufficient.

Always warm up properly before attempting a 1RM.

In conclusion, a 1RM is an important measure of strength and can be a useful benchmark for tracking progress over time. However, it’s important to approach 1RM testing with caution and follow the steps outlined above to ensure your safety.

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