Maxing Out

Now The Fun Begins

Congratulations! Mastering an exercise that utilizes so many muscle groups is a feat to be proud of. Now that you've got the form down, its time to start focusing on gaining strength.

The point of any resistance training program is to present a challenge to your body, become efficent at completeing that challenge and eventually surpass your previous boundaries. So what's a good way to keep track of your long-term progress and stay motivated?

The One-Rep Max

If you had to perform one monumental feat of strength at this point in time, how much weight could you move? Like the name implies, your One-Rep Max is the maximum amount of weight you can lift in an exercise with proper form. Its a great way to see how much strength you've gained over a period of time and is the same measurement used to judge powerlifting copetitions.

The One-Rep Max is a culmination of all your power into a single movement.

Before you start piling plates on both sides of the barbell with visions of herculean strength blinding your good judgement, follow these instructions to help insure safety and a proper warm-up.

How To Find Your One-Rep Max

  1. Be properly rested and have an experienced spotter with you. You're going to try and lift the most weight it is physically possible for you to move, you don't want anything to go wrong.
  2. Perform a warm-up set of five to ten repetitions at 40-60 percent of your estimated One-Rep Max.
  3. Rest for one minute, stretch while you rest. This keep you from cooling down in between warm up sets.
  4. Perform three to five repetitions at 60-80 percent of your estimated One-Rep Max.
  5. Rest for one minute.
  6. Perform a "conservatively estimated" One-Rep Max.
  7. If completed with proper form, rest three to five minutes and increase the weight. This will allow for your ATP levels to replenish properly.
  8. Re-test until failure.

Your One-Rep Max is the heaviest weight you use with proper form. Don't forget what you've learned so far, form is important! Using improper technique to try and cheat your way to a higher weight will only leave you with a false perception of your strength.

If you're having trouble determining how much weight is a certain percentages of your One-Rep Max, remember the following: 75 percent of your physical limit is usually a weight you can lift only 10 times with proper form. Start calculating from there.

This method of testing your One-Rep Max comes from the PTA Global personal training certification course.