All about 1RM : Meaning and how to test

"Hey, what's your one rep max for Bench Press?"

If that question makes you puzzled or if "1RM" seems like a secret code, then buckle up!

BTS? RM ?😅

It's time to clear up everything you need to know about '1RM,' a term well-known to gym lovers. What exactly is 1RM? How is it used, what exercises is it commonly associated with, and why should you even care about it?

This article is your all-in-one guide to understanding 1RM – from its definition to its application in the weight room, and its role in tracking strength progress. By the end of this read, you'll step out of the "Gym Newbie"

What is 1RM? Definition of 1RM, 1RM Meaning

1RM stands for 'One Rep Max',

the maximum weight that a person can lift for one repetition of a given exercise. It's a benchmark of the utmost strength for weightlifters, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts alike. But where did this concept?

Hercules 🦁

Within us all seems to lie an innate urge to test our boundaries—perhaps a vestige of the ancient heroes’ quests for Herculean feats or merely the modern thrill of etching our names at the top of the gym leaderboards.
This quest has found its way into the fabric of strength training, where the concept of 1RM—One Rep Max—was born. It's become the pinnacle of power in foundational lifts like the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

🗣️ "So, why do the squat, bench press, and deadlift get to bask in the 1RM spotlight? "

These exercises are the triad of powerlifting, each testing different muscle groups to their max.

  • The squat is a profound test of lower body and core strength;
  • The bench press gauges the pushing power of the upper body;
  • The deadlift challenges your ability to lift, quite literally, dead weight off the ground.

Together, they offer a comprehensive picture of an individual’s overall strength. It's not just about lifting—it's about lifting life's heaviest moments, one rep at a time.

U------P !

Using 1RM is straightforward in principle yet intricate in practice. It's not about hoisting a heavy weight any way you can; it's about executing one clean, proper lift with the maximum load you can handle. This measure isn't just a bragging right; it's crucial for creating tailored workout programs that optimize strength gains while minimizing the risk of injury.

How to calculate 1RM, How to test 1RM

Measuring your 1RM for the kings of the gym.
—the squat, deadlift, and bench press—starts with safety and preparation.


  • Starting Position
    • 1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward.
    • 2. Hold the barbell with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
    • 3. Keep your chest up and your back straight.
    • 4. Bend your knees and hips to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Form
    • 1. Squeeze your glutes to push your hips forward and stand up. 2. Keep your chest up and your back straight throughout the movement. 3. Do not allow your knees to rotate inwards or outwards.
  • Breathing Technique
    • 1. Inhale as you lower down.
    • 2. Exhale as you push up.


  • Starting Position
    • 1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and the barbell on the ground in front of your feet.
    • 2. Bend your hips and knees to lower your body towards the bar, while keeping your back flat.
    • 3. Grip the barbell with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
    • 4. Push your chest forward and look slightly up.
  • Form
    • 1. Take a deep breath and brace your core.
    • 2. Lift the barbell by driving your feet through the ground and extending your hips and knees until you are standing upright.
    • 3. Keep the bar close to your body and your arms straight.
    • 4. Once you have reached the top, hold the position for a moment.
  • Breathing Technique
    • 1. Take a deep breath before you start the lift.
    • 2. Exhale as you lift the barbell.
    • 3. Inhale at the top of the lift.

Bench Press

  • Starting Position
    • 1. Lie down on a flat bench with your eyes under the bar.
    • 2. Position your feet flat on the ground with your shoulder blades retracted and chest up.
    • 3. Grasp the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
    • 4. Unrack the bar and hold it straight above your chest with your arms extended.
  • Form
    • 1. Lower the bar to your chest in a controlled manner.
    • 2. Keep your elbows tucked in close to your body and your wrists in a neutral position.
    • 3. Push the bar back up to the starting position in a controlled manner.
  • Breathing Technique
    • 1. Inhale as you lower the bar to your chest.
    • 2. Exhale as you push the bar back to the starting position.

*Following the guide above should allow you to accurately measure your 1RM (one-rep max) for the big three lifts with the correct form.

What if I'm working out by myself
can't test my 1RM precisely?

For those who may not have a spotter or find it tricky to test their 1RM safely, fear not—1RM calculators are here to the rescue. By inputting a weight you can lift for a higher number of reps, these tools estimate your 1RM based on reliable strength training formulas.

Check out this [https://strengthlevel.com/] for an example
(but remember, these are estimates, so take them with a grain of salt and always prioritize safety over numbers).

Fascinating Facts About 1RM

The realm of 1RM is not just about personal milestones; it also chronicles the human pursuit of strength at its most extreme. The IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) is the custodian of these records, officiating competitions and validating the Herculean efforts of powerlifters worldwide. Are you curious about who holds these monumental records?

Who is the King 👑
  • Squat
    • Nathan Baptist from the USA, squatting a mountainous 580kg (1287lbs)
      A weight that is more than the combined heft of a grand piano and a motorcycle.
  • Bench Press
    • Jimmy Kolb, also from the USA, pressing an astonishing 599kg (1320.0lbs) That's akin to lifting a small adult hippopotamus off your chest.
  • Deadlift
    • Krzysztof Wierzbicki pulled an immense 502.5kg(1107.8lbs)
      Which is comparable to hoisting a large refrigerator filled with food and drinks off the floor.
  • Total
    • Dave Hoff from the USA has a colossal total record of 1407.5kg (3103.0lbs) Imagine lifting an average sedan.
The Strongest Man In The World 🌏
BUT, let's be real, those numbers might as well be from a parallel universe of powerlifting titans.😂

Nonetheless, we might be more interested in realistic numbers, such as the average 1RM for adult men and women.

For average adult males,
The typical 1RM
- Bench press might range from about 165lbs to 220lbs.
- Deadlifts might range from 209lbs to 352lbs,
- Squats are usually reported to be between 187lbs to 308lbs.

For the average adult female,
The typical 1RM
- Bench press is likely between 77lbs to 132lbs.
- Deadlifts might range from 121lbs to 198lbs
- Squats usually reported to be between 99lbs to 176lbs.

Here's a typical 1RM chart for the average adult

These are the benchmarks that many of us work towards, step by step, rep by rep. They may not be monumental, but they're milestones that mark progress and personal bests. And in the end, isn't that what it's really all about?🏋️‍♀️

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