Whether you’ve been strength training for a while or are just setting foot into the gym to begin your lifting journey, you might wonder how you can gauge the volume of weight you’re capable of lifting. This is where a one-rep max test, or 1RM, comes in: 1RM test is the maximum mount of weight you can lift for just one repetition. The idea is that you give everything you have to that one rep and are unable to lift the same volume of weight a second time.
As soon as you know what your 1RM is you can design you programme around this maximum weight and train at a specific percentage of your 1RM to optimally build strength.
If you’re new to the gym or new to strength training your weights will be kept light enough for you to complete 10-15 reps for roughly 3 sets. Once you begin to gain strength the weight lifted will increase whilst the number of reps decrease.
RPE (rate of perceived exertion) is how strenuous you are finding a particular movement. It is subjective and can be influenced by your mood, stress, nutrition and sleep. 1RM is more objective and is less influenced by external factors.
If you’re following a structured training programme you can test your 1RM every 12-16 weeks, although if you’ve been training for a long time with progressive overload testing your 1RM every six months will be sufficient.