Predicting your 1 repetition max (1RM)

In the last article, I gave my opinion on the benefits of knowing your 1 repetition max (1RM) numbers on a few lifts. However, if you are not used to lifting heavy loads you may like to estimate these instead. We have produced a chart very similar to the NSCA loading chart based on the loading recommendations in the NSCA essentials of personal training book.

Estimating your 1 repetition max (1RM)

How to use the chart

Training load can be used to calculate estimated 1-repetition maximum (1RM) values from multiple repetitions completed. For example, if a client completes 8 repetitions of the deadlift at 120kg, their estimated 1RM would be 150kg.

The training load chart can also be used to assign intensity percentages for programme design. For example, if a clients 1RM for the bench press is 100kg, he/she should be able to complete 10 reps of 75kg.

Is it 100% accurate?

No it isn’t but it’s pretty close. I use it for my own training, my clients and my students and it is certainly good enough and saves a lot of time doing several calculations. The NSCA suggest that the percentage to repetition maximum will vary slightly depending on the training status of the client (+/-0.5-2%), I can live with that! Also wherever possible round down to the nearest 2.5kg increment, always better to progress load when needed rather than regress load.

Enjoy 😃