How to test my 1RM?

Discussion in 'Barbell' started by SuperGirevik, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. SuperGirevik

    SuperGirevik More than 300 posts

    So I'm concluding a cycle of the Deadlift Singles program (link) and I'm getting ready to attempt my 1RM. But I'm trying to figure out what's the safest way to program my testing day. Currently my "1RM" (it's not a true max, since I never push myself to the limit) is 405lbs and I'm hoping to reach a new PR above 425lbs. Most people on this program increase their deadlift by ~50-60lbs, so I've love to lift 450lbs if possible :)

    In his article, "Kettlebells and Deadlifts Go Together Like Vodka and Pickles", Pavel gives an example of how to reach/attempt a "sort of max"...
    At 105%, I'd be at 425lbs but if I want to keep going should I just add 20lbs (5% increments) to each lift after? Also, how much time should I rest in-between test sets? I'm thinking 5-10min.
    Bauer likes this.
  2. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Certified Instructor

    You will learn a lot! Take good notes on what you do (attempts, rest, how fast the bar moves, anything else) so you can benefit from it next time, and video to analyze later. Testing your max is fun. It will take a lot out of you, so you might see some decrease in your normal performance for a week or so, but it's also productive stress and great learning.

    That example you quoted sounds fine. If deadlifting was all I was doing that day and I was anticipating 425 as you are, I'd probably do some movement prep like get-ups or light kettlebell squat/press/etc., then I'd deadlift 185x4, 225x3, 315x2, 390x1, 425x1, 435x1. I think you'll know, when you do the 425 how much more you might have for a next attempt. If 405 is your previous 1RM and you are able to get 425, I'd actually be surprised if you have another higher lift in you after that... but if so, you'll probably feel how much it might be. Just add that much weight and give it a try. If you try too much and it won't budge, you might be able to take some off and get one, but most likely you're done for the day at that point. 425 and more will move slowly. Keep pulling for several seconds, as long as it's moving and your form is OK! When I pulled 315 I had my training partner count down 5 seconds because I decided I would just pull for 5 seconds whether it went up or not, having had a tendency to give up too early before (time seems to move differently in a max deadlift!) You'll feel if it's solid and if you have any more in you.

    Sure, 5-10 minutes rest... you've probably learned through doing singles how much rest time is enough and how much is too much. Same thing, but just add a little bit more time because the effort is greater.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!
    Bauer and SuperGirevik like this.
  3. SuperGirevik

    SuperGirevik More than 300 posts

    To be honest, 425lbs is on the low-side of my anticipated pull. From what I've read about the program and the results most people get, it seems that increases north of 40lbs are quite common. So I'm really shooting for 450lbs... if possible :)

    With that said, and it seems the same was happening to you previously, I tend to quit a lift early in hopes of protecting my back. So perhaps those who saw bigger increases in their 1RM really pushed through it and gave it their all. Also, I realize that there are so many variables like balance, ability to brace well and mental toughness that can affect one's ability to lift heavier. So I don't want to assume that 450lbs will happen just because it did for someone else. Which is why I set 425lb as my safe goal.

    Thanks for the recommended 1RM program as well. The way I recall testing for my previous 1RM (405lbs) was by doing:
    • 135 x 3 (weight in lbs)
    • 225 x 1
    • 315 x 1
    • 365 x 1
    • 385 x 1
    • 405 x 1
    Basically I just went up by pairs of 45lbs (to avoid moving so many plates) until things got serious, then I tapered down to a medium-hard lift (365lbs), then a hard lift (385lbs)... since my "hard" lift wasn't that hard, I went to 405lbs.

    This was a crude method and perhaps not the smartest.
  4. SuperGirevik

    SuperGirevik More than 300 posts

    Actually, the Deadlift Singles program calls for 30-45sec rest in-between sets (singles). For example, during the first day (15 singles @ 65% 1RM), you would perform the lift one time, wait 30-45sec, lift it again, wait 30-45sec, etc.

    This went against everything I thought to be true about barbell strength training. I'm used to doing 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps with 3-5 rest. But I trusted in the program, mainly due to the results achieved by others.
  5. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Certified Instructor

    Yep, that looks good too!
    SuperGirevik likes this.
  6. Bluemanslim

    Bluemanslim Double-Digit Post Count

    Keep us updated i hope youll hit ur 450 this program is magic man
    SuperGirevik likes this.
  7. SuperGirevik

    SuperGirevik More than 300 posts

    @Bluemanslim, during your testing week did you completely take days off or just backed off from deadlifting?
    Bluemanslim likes this.
  8. Bluemanslim

    Bluemanslim Double-Digit Post Count

    I didnt deadlift for 4 days
    SuperGirevik likes this.

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