How do you prepare for a 1RM day?

Discussion in 'Barbell' started by guardian7, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. guardian7

    guardian7 More than 500 posts

    How do intermediate, non-competitive, lifters prepare for a 1RM day at the end of a training program?

    I have been doing a quite linear PTTP SFL barbel course program since Jan. 27th. I will end my gym membership on March 27th and switch to KB and Muay Thai (for fitness) in April. I have been quite consistently training 4 and recently 3 days a week. One week off due to a business trip a couple of weeks ago.

    I did 70KG bench and will test 75KG (bodyweight) this past Friday. I am training bench for the first time.
    I did DL and did 1*5 and 1*4 at 125KG, but failed the 4th rep of the second set. I was tired on Friday. I have done 120 at 2*5 no problem. My previous 1RM last year this time was 145KG but I now know that it probably looked like a Romanian deadlift. Improving form was one of my goals this year. I want to test 150KG. However, I had a bad session on Friday and 150 feels far away right now.

    I have days I can train on Mon and/or Tuesday and then test day on Wednesday.

    How should I train/rest and prepare and do my warmup sets on the 1rm test day? Also, should I stick with bench first and then DL as I have trained it? The DL is more important to me than the bench.

    I did my homework and searched online but there was no consistency in the advice. Some of it seemed stupid as well. I am almost 50 so volume and recovery is an issue. I seem to respond to the high frequency and intensity low volume of the PTTP program. I stuck to the program. Same workout for two months, and I would really like to reach my goal.
  2. WhatWouldHulkDo

    WhatWouldHulkDo More than 500 posts

    My philosophy for any sort of test day (1RM, competition, race, whatever) is that on the day you do it, it's too late for strategy or philosophy. You body is going to do what it's prepared to do. Rest well, eat hearty, and clear your mind. For tonight, we dine in hell!!!

    Sorry, couldn't help myself. ;)

    But seriously, I think clearing your mind, and being prepared to accept whatever outcome you get, is probably the best thing you can do day-of.
  3. Phil12

    Phil12 Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I prepare barely at all, I take an easy day before and go for a very slow run. Day of I do some warmups and then grip it and rip it.

    If you followed and completed a solid program like PTTP the hard work is already done! I think the only way to screw it up at this point is to overthink it and lift too heavy after completing your program but before the PR or psyching yourself out in some other way.

    Don't get intimidated by the weights, don't over think it, do the most important lift (to you) first.
    Carl in Dover and guardian7 like this.
  4. More than 500 posts

    Periodization Training

    This is simply a progressive plan of increasing the load/intensity each week.

    A Periodization Training Program starts out light and ends with the final week being an all out effort or close with an exercise.

    Think of each week in your training cycle as a "Warm Up Set". The purpose of each warm up set is to prepare you for you top set.

    The same applies for you training cycle weeks. You progressively increase the load/weight in an exercise; then allow for recovery.

    A Periodization Training Plan prepare for your final Repetition Max Effort Day for 1RM, 3RM, 5RM, whatever RM you chose.


    The intensity of your training on a Monday and/or Tuesday before your Wednesday Test Day limits you true 1RM.

    Warm Up Set

    The purpose of warm up sets it to prepare you for your RM. That means you need to perform the less amount of warm up with the minimal amount of energy; less is more.

    Lifting Order

    The Bench Press shouldn't take too much out of you. So, performing it first should work.

    However, since your Deadlift is more important, you might want to preform it first. If so, you then take enough time to recovery from the Deadlift before the Bench Press to ensure that your best RM is obtained.

    Volume and Recovery

    This is an issue for everyone.

    When preparing for a RM, lifter's "Taper" their workout downward. This allows for more recovery, a "Supercompenation Effect": which produces a increase in your strength.

    High Volume Vs Low Volume Intensity

    Some individual respond well to high volume training while other find low volume with greater intensity more effective. It has to do with how well you physically and mentally recovery from your training sessions.

    With that said, research (Shoenfeld, Zourdos, etc) determined that two of the three components for Hypertrophy (increasing muscle mass) and Limit Strength (increasing your 1RM) is a training program that incorporate both.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
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  5. guardian7

    guardian7 More than 500 posts

    Thanks Kenny,

    Could you explain this again. Are you talking a backoff set in general or how we should warmup for the 1RM day? Do you mean I should pyramid up but then have a lighter rep before I test my max? I usually period up 60, 70 80 with a couple of reps and then one rep at 80-85.

    When I am working rows or accessory lifts and not following a program like PTTP I usually aim at the 5, 7, and 12-15 rep ranges for three sets, so I agree with you in principle already. Just wondering specifically about the 1rm day. I have done my homework with PTTP for two months.

    The consensus seems to be to take it easy on the Monday,Tuesday before the Wednesday attempt. Form work at 60 percent, sleep, and a walk maybe.
  6. Kyle Kowalczuk

    Kyle Kowalczuk Triple-Digit Post Count

    I’ve rested as long as 1 week before max deadlift and 5 days before max bench with good results. Considering the number you are going for 3 days could be good .

    1@pr attempt
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  7. More than 500 posts

    I'm not clear on your question. So, I am going to guess at what you mean; guessing is never good.


    In the weeks prior to a Repetition Max, you drop the volume; taper it down to allow for recovery.

    This is true of training, as well. It's...

    The Inverse Relationship of Volume and Intensity

    There is a "See Saw Effect" that occurs with Volume and Intensity.

    When Intensity goes up, Volume goes down.

    When Volume goes up, Intensity goes down.

    As Vince Gironda said, "You can train hard or long but not both."

    Warm Up

    The purpose of a Warm Up is to prepare you for your Repetition Max for the day.

    That means you need to perform the least amount of warm up with the minimal amount of energy; less is more.

    Many lifter turn a Warm Up into a workout. They perform too many repetition with a load that is too heavy. In doing so they exhaust their Limit Strength and Power.

    Inefficient Warm Up Pyramid

    These lifter perform a Pyramid with sets of 10, 8, 6, 4. 2 and then 1 Repetition.

    With each set they often increase the weight too much, wearing themselves out.

    By the time they get to their 1 RM, 3RM, 5RM, etc., they have nothing left in their tank.

    Hyperbolic Example

    The method above would be like a 100 meter sprinter warming up by jogging 1500 meters, then 800 meters, 400 meters, and then 200 meters.

    More Effective Inverted Pyramid Warm Up

    This applies to a Warm Ups for 1RM Test (which I am not a fan of). This approach is effective for regular training days. That because your most productive set is your top/highest loaded set for X amount of Repetitions.

    100 kb 1RM Bench Press Max Example

    Set 1: 50 kg X 5

    Set 2: 60 kg X 3

    Set 3: 70 kg X 2

    Set 4: 90 kg X 1

    Max Set 5: 110 kg X 1 plus Repetitions

    Weight Progression

    My suggestion would be 1 - 2 Repetitions with 60, 1 Repetition with 70 and then jumping to 80 or 85.

    Preforming 1 Repetition with 80 and then going to 85 depletes your strength. The closer you get to your Max RM, the less you have going forward in you next attempt.

    "The 5, 7, and 12 - 15 Rep Range"

    The 5 should be your top set, where you push it. What comes after that is your down sets.

    Rest Periods Between Sets

    3 minutes or longer between sets need to be taken to ensure ensure recovery.

    "Who Is Consensus?"

    This sound like the like "Infamous and Ambiguous They"'. Information that many individual provide me with no reference source of the who stated it or research data to support it. With that in mind, please provide me with that information so I can examine it.

    "Form Work At 60 Percent"

    Research show that Technique/Form is best developed with load of 85% or 1 Repetition Max. The closer you simulate training to the test/contest environment, the greater the training effect. Source: Bench Press More, Now. Dr Tom McLaughlin, PhD Exercise Biomechanics, former Powerlifter.

    Preforming "Form work at 60 Percent" develops your Technique/Form at load of 60%.

    Baseball Example

    Practicing hitting a 60 mph baseball makes you good at hitting a 60 mph baseball, not at hitting a 90 mph plus baseball.

    Power Output

    The benefit of performing your lift with 60% or less of your 1 RM a few day prior to your 1RM attempt is to maintain Power Output.

    While there isn't much Power displayed in a Limit Strength Movement; Power is the grease the help you slide through your sticking point on a max attempt.

    With that in mind, Power Training on Monday or few days prior to your 1RM will be more effective than the day before.


    It's not doing to help nor hurt.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
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