What is your 1 Rep Max (1RM) and how to you test for it?

Posted 29 May

With regards to testing and assessing strength, there are many different methods and protocols. These tests include maximal strength, accelerometer tests, isometric assessments, dynamic muscle actions, and isokinetic testing. At UBF we utilise both maximal strength and accelerometer assessments to test all our athlete’s strength levels, which allows us to most effectively program for performance gains based off these results.

One repetition maximum (1RM) testing is the most common and accurate strength assessment and the one we utilise most at UBF, especially during our athletic testing days. Training and programming based upon 1RM testing results has consistently been shown to elicit the greatest performance outcomes. The basic protocol when completing a 1RM test involves a 5 minute warm-up followed by 8-10 reps at 50% of the previous/predicted 1RM, 5 reps at 70%, 3 reps at 80%, and 1 rep at 90%. Following the final warm-up set at 90%, 3-5 attempts at a new 1RM should be performed with 3-5 minutes rest between sets.

Along with the traditional 1RM testing protocol, prediction equations can also be used to determine a 1RM value. Although prediction equations can be used, care must be taken, as some over predict while some under predict and raise issues surrounding validity. If using prediction equations, there are some guidelines for the completion of the testing procedure. Reps above 10 should not be used when predicting 1RM’s, between 4-6 reps is recommended when completing the test. Similar to a traditional 1RM test, 3-5 attempts should be used, with 3-5 minutes rest between trials. The basic procedure includes 10 reps at a light load, 6 reps at a 10RM load, adding 1-10kg till a 6RM load is achieved. Prediction equations are then used to find a 1RM total.

Accelerometers and velocity trackers, such as the Push bands we use at UBF, can also be utilised in strength testing. Accelerometers establish training loads and 1RM results from sub-maximal tests by using the load-velocity relationship. The methods and procedures for these assessments can be simply followed off the chosen accelerometers program or app. 1RM and strength testing results gained using accelerometers can be used to program both loads and velocity ranges for training. These can assist in optimising performance and also limiting fatigue.

Overall, the traditional 1RM testing procedure is the most accurate and usable data, with accelerometers also being very useful as results can be determined from sub-maximal loads. This means that testing can occur in session without a day being set aside for testing. To learn more about how we test 1RM’s and utilise the subsequent results here at UBF, or if you’re interested about attending our next testing day, and have us do your 1RM testing for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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