How to Test Your 1 Rep Max | Jim Stoppani, PhD

Jim Stoppani teaches you how to properly work towards your 1 rep max. Your 1 rep max is also used to find out how much you should lift in other rep ranges.
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| How To Find Your One Rep Max |
You might think your single-rep max (also called one-rep max, one-RM, or 1RM) doesn’t matter because you’ll never train that heavy on most lifts anyway. But then, one day, you see a program that asks you to use 65% of your 1RM on a lift.

When that happens, you have to either test for your 1RM or estimate it. Testing your 1RM can be a pretty intense operation, and it requires a high degree of caution to avoid injury. If you do decide you want to test it, watch Layne Norton’s instructions in the video below.

Fortunately, you can also estimate your 1RM without testing it. Exercise scientists have devised a formula that’s fairly accurate for most people to determine an estimate for each movement, which is what powers this calculator.

| How to Use Your 1RM In a Workout |
Strength coaches set up programs with percentages based on your 1RM because they don’t know your actual strength level, but they know what percentages they want you to be using relative to your single-rep max. The calculator gives you all the relevant loads, which are done simply by multiplying the percentage by your 1RM (in this case, 300 pounds). For instance, if you want to do 85% 1RM, the calculator tells you to use 255 pounds (which is simply 0.85 x 300).

Some programs are set up a little differently and will instead tell you to do your 3RM, 6RM, or some other number. What’s different here is that instead of a giving you a percentage of your one-rep max, you’ll see 3RM, which indicates you should use a weight that you can do for three and only three reps. You’ll need the table below to essentially do the conversion in a different way.

Let’s say your strength workout calls for you to use your 3RM and 5RM for sets of front squats. Say you know you can do 245 pounds for a clean set of 8 reps, but you don’t know your one-rep max. If you can just do 8 reps with good form, look at the chart and see that 8 means you’re working at 80% of your 1RM (80% 1RM).

Start by computing your 1RM; just divide 245 pounds by 0.80, which estimates your single-rep max to be 306.25, which can be rounded down to 305. To find your 3RM, note that 3 corresponds to 93% 1RM, so multiply 305 x 0.93, which estimates your working weight to be 285 (rounded up) pounds. Your 5RM would be 305 x 0.87, giving you a working weight of roughly 265 pounds.

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50 Comments

  1. Mido vinci on March 9, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    I’m sure there must be an science based equation for this .. this video is an easy injury risk and its still guessing



  2. Bodybuilding.com on March 9, 2020 at 9:20 pm

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  3. Lee Kingsnatch on March 9, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    This guy is a PHD?!! Looks like a roadie for Motley Crue



  4. Kai on March 9, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    His shoulder to biceps ratio is frightening



  5. PhillaFresh on March 9, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Thank you
    Pure Bullfit



  6. Lee Kingsnatch on March 9, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    I like how they’re both recovering from injuries, so they’re not using a belt and the squat rack offers no safety in case of failure. Basically you just collapse to the ground under the weight 😂 maybe put the fucking bar INSIDE the power rack next time Doctor Hell’s Angel?



  7. MrVinny ThePoo on March 9, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    What’s the beat?



  8. Miguel Angel on March 9, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    Testing your one rep max outside the squat rack without spotters… mmm don’t know about that



  9. Owen Gibney on March 9, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    I like how he has a back injury and says max is 325 yet still gets forced to max even more



  10. Jc Gadfly on March 9, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    You were fortunate the lifter didn’t hurt himself worse.



  11. BX0207 on March 9, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    What a croc of shit advice.
    And btw, there’s no 3rd film to Guardians of the Galaxy..
    Sorry they lied to you. FFS.



  12. Justin Garrett on March 9, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    I just hear excuses….



  13. Joshua Giuseppe Fontanella on March 9, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    Stopped listening as soon as he said "we’re recovering from our injuries"



  14. Congealed Beef Liver on March 9, 2020 at 9:32 pm

    Jym’s supplements suck



  15. mrgiovanny on March 9, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    Safety first,, proper form, and then squat… None of this was followed by the DR. 😂😂😂 If they are both injured should they really be telling you how to exercise? hhhmmm…. I guess that’s why they are injured – no safety bars, no belts, no sleeves, no spotters! 😂 Thank you Dr. showing people on what not to do! 😁



  16. Son of Meagher of the Sword on March 9, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    I max reps for 10 is 405lbs and my max reps for 5 is 455lbs. Estimated max between 500lbs-530lbs. There no need to get hurt lol



  17. Colin Childs on March 9, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Coulda got 450 with a spot. wtf was that about?



  18. Marco Petronio on March 9, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    JYMBRONI



  19. Gabriel Pichorim on March 9, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    This video is shit, simple as that!



  20. Noah Rein. on March 9, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    This test is not a test for a starter! The test of 1 RM brings many risks with. The person has to know and to execute the exercises with a perfect technique. If he doesn’t do, the risk of a injury or an accident is too high! It’s also important that, the person who executes the test, has enough recuperation after each try. 3-4′ minutes.

    So if you are a starter, that will not mean that you can’t test your 1 RM, it’s just not the best method.

    For a starter, beginner it’s better to use the method from "Berger", the estimation of the 1RM.



  21. N1GHT on March 9, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    Stay safe people that last squat compered to the other ones form not that good plus no belt around his waist.



  22. Vinny Booboo on March 9, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    This didn’t help at all. As if anyone did not know to go up incrementally.



  23. Eirik Engevik on March 9, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    Probably would have gotten 5-10kg less if it wasn’t for this video. Thank you <3 😀



  24. Antônio Moureira on March 9, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    "I cannot demonstrate cause I’m injured. So I hired this injured idiot to demonstrate."



  25. Denarius Shekels on March 9, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    Friends don’t let friends test one rep max when injured. How convenient that Jim already tested his one rep max.



  26. Antônio Moureira on March 9, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    This fool is not just a phd. He is a comedic genius.



  27. Carlos Infinite on March 9, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    They played Eminem to get geeked 😂 typical white boys



  28. james jacob on March 9, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    This is very dangerous and irresponsible, you should take this video down immediately.



  29. Lexx Mares on March 9, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    This Is Horrible!



  30. Antônio Moureira on March 9, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Doctor in creating injuries out of thin air. And heavy weights.



  31. Nameer Salie on March 9, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    So that’s not Dave Bautista ?



  32. Udit Kadam on March 9, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    This is the day when you test your 1RM.. this really needs an example to show? It can be easily just explained, more important is how to build strength gradually through the process.
    What comes more important is "warmup", dude where is "MOBILITY"??
    How this person is having phD :/



  33. Mark Mckckck on March 9, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    I’m so smart about lifting. So smart that I injure myself and can’t lift because of it. This lizard man is garbage snake oil sales man



  34. JP Fitness on March 9, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    If there’s anything to learn from Jim Stoppani, it’s how NOT to lift weights. I guess they just hand out Ph. D’s to anyone off the streets. Literally everything was wrong with this video..everything. This is how people get injured (which the guy said he already was dealing with a low back injury. Brilliant idea, let’s 1RM 405 on squat with no spotter, safety pins etc.) What a fucking moron. Don’t understand why people actually follow this guy’s advice. This is what’s wrong with the fitness profession.



  35. Exot on March 9, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    He just said that 135 is light😓 my max is 155🥵 and I rep 115



  36. OTRXKZ on March 9, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    135 is uneven so ? Unless you have 50 and 50 in each side and the bar waits 35 ?



  37. George Emil on March 9, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    So how do you really know 405 is the max? Why didn’t he try 410?



  38. Scott Ayres on March 9, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    Warm up with HIIT are you kidding me?? That’s fail number one. Fail two:: I have an injury So Mack is stepping in to do the lifting (who also is recovering from a LOWER BACK INJURY) what’s your max “probably 315” then he pressures him Mack says 345. Jim says 350. Now we are gonna 365 (remember he as well is recovering from an injury) “how much do you think” let’s go 405 (90 pounds more than original). Gotta use a high weight for better marketing. Shame on you doc. Gotta put money aside. Lucky he didn’t get hurt.



  39. Clan Symbiont on March 9, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Stop giving bad advice, asshole.



  40. Mohamed Wasim The Last Natural on March 9, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    0:01 plates ?!!!



  41. Morgoth Bauglir on March 9, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    It’s funny how it’s Jim who’s calling what weight the guy should use. I bet if he said he should do 500, then he would try



  42. TheBuddhaBuilder on March 9, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Taking 90 pound jumps is absurd. Resting several minutes between warm up sets is absurd. Doing HIT before attempting a max is absurd. Ignoring the weights your injured client is telling you he thinks he can do is absurd. "Guessing" that he’s going to do 405, but if he doesn’t, "assuming" his max is 385 is absurd. Saying that that guy "nailed 405" when it was a mile high is absurd. Having an injured client, or any client, squat with literally no safety precautions is absurd. I sincerely hope NO ONE follows this when attempting an actual max.



  43. Nugerz on March 9, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    lmfaoooo 405 was my max when i was 17…



  44. bgainesDM1 on March 9, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    His 1RM was a failed rep. Also, this isn’t how you should test out your 1RM. Your form will be inconsistent due to the low reps and long rest periods between these sets. Also, 90 lb jumps from set to set? Do you even know how to gradual, bro!?



  45. Weston Sandland on March 9, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    This entire video was made just to flex on the fact that he can squat 405



  46. A S on March 9, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    ”Alright music is blasting to give him a little extra drive”

    Worst weird ass waiting screen of bad video game elevator music is blasting



  47. Misha880 on March 9, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    HIIT before a 1RM? Okay lol



  48. Jayskiallthewayski on March 9, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    The bullcrap displayed in this video is astonishing.



  49. Luqmaan Ramzan on March 9, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Why not find someone who’s not recovering from an injury maybe….



  50. Ralph Acero on March 9, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    Never mind his advice, his physique is so gross he should at least cover it up in an attempt not to turn viewers off.