One Rep Max Calculator

John Grahill

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm posting this in the over 50 section for 2 reasons:

#1, I'm over 50. #2, I don't know where else to do it. If this has been gone over before I apologize.

In a nutshell, a while back I experimented with some dumbbells and kettlebells using on of those online 1 rep max calculators. Basically I found that with a weight I pressed for a single showed that I should be able to press various percentages for various repetitions. It really didn't work out (no pun intended) that way. I found that when the chart showed I should be able to do 8 reps I only got 6. Conversely I am able to do a single with a heavier weight than I'm supposed to be able to.

Just curious if there are others who noticed this.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
I'm posting this in the over 50 section for 2 reasons:

#1, I'm over 50. #2, I don't know where else to do it. If this has been gone over before I apologize.

In a nutshell, a while back I experimented with some dumbbells and kettlebells using on of those online 1 rep max calculators. Basically I found that with a weight I pressed for a single showed that I should be able to press various percentages for various repetitions. It really didn't work out (no pun intended) that way. I found that when the chart showed I should be able to do 8 reps I only got 6. Conversely I am able to do a single with a heavier weight than I'm supposed to be able to.

Just curious if there are others who noticed this.

It could be a good sign of decent testosterone levels! As I understand it, women are the opposite for that reason -- less testosterone means less ability to express a true maximal effort, so women can usually do more reps closer to their 1RM than men. So as with your example, I might find that I can do 10 or 11 reps with that I should be able to do 8 reps with according to my 1RM, or not able to do a single with a weight that is predicted based on my 5RM.

It could also be that you have developed the skill of lifting heavy. In other words, you are able to do a better 1RM than what your base strength by other measures might predict.
 

John Grahill

Level 6 Valued Member
It could be a good sign of decent testosterone levels! As I understand it, women are the opposite for that reason -- less testosterone means less ability to express a true maximal effort, so women can usually do more reps closer to their 1RM than men. So as with your example, I might find that I can do 10 or 11 reps with that I should be able to do 8 reps with according to my 1RM, or not able to do a single with a weight that is predicted based on my 5RM.

It could also be that you have developed the skill of lifting heavy. In other words, you are able to do a better 1RM than what your base strength by other measures might predict.

@Anna C , thank you for your insight. That makes sense. You may certainly be right, as I have done a lot of low rep work over the past few years. It kind of shows that we are all constructed differently.
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
@Anna C , thank you for your insight. That makes sense. You may certainly be right, as I have done a lot of low rep work over the past few years. It kind of shows that we are all constructed differently.

Aside from the fuzziness of the calculators themselves, rate of perceived exertion and, thus percentage of RM max, can vary by as much as +/- 18%, according to studies.

In other words, I may be trying to a set of 8 at 80%1RM, but on a good day that same weight will allow me to do a set of reps closer to my 62%1RM, where as on a bad day, the same weight will feel like 98%1RM.

Velocity based training is one way I use to get around it on critical lifts, but it's not necessarily beginner friendly.
 

John Grahill

Level 6 Valued Member
Thanks guys....I have always been able to get heavy singles with weights that my repetition maximum with lesser weight suggests I can't! Most of those charts are lousy imho!
 

godjira1

Level 5 Valued Member
I have the opposite issue to you when it comes to the calculators. For lifts, my 5RM is about 90pct of 1RM, most calculators assume 85-87pct. But I figure as long you know what works for you!
 

LukeV

Level 5 Valued Member
For bench press my 10 rep max is consistent with most calculators at 75% but my five rep max is closer to 80% than what most calculators estimate to be 85% or higher. I don't do a lot of low rep work though so maybe that difference is trainable. I mainly use rep max calculators to measure relative intensity for different set/rep combinations (eg comparing 3x12 to 4x6) and they appear to work very well for that
 

John Grahill

Level 6 Valued Member
@Steve Freides, I think the only reason I asked in this section is because I have seen those age adjustment formula things and thought it could have been a reason why I couldn't get all of the reps of a rep max test with lesser weight than my single rep max. Don't know if I explained it correctly but my apologies.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
No apology necessary!

I just don't think PlanStrong needs to be adjusted for age.

There is a chart in our PlanStrong manuals that gives two different sets of rep ranges for different percentages of 1RM. These two categories are labelled "for lifters with average to high endurance with a given RM" and "for lifters with low endurance with a given RM" - these things happen at all ages, and this is one of those places where the author of a PlanStrong program asks questions of his/her lifter before designing the program.

-S-
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm posting this in the over 50 section for 2 reasons:

#1, I'm over 50. #2, I don't know where else to do it. If this has been gone over before I apologize.

In a nutshell, a while back I experimented with some dumbbells and kettlebells using on of those online 1 rep max calculators. Basically I found that with a weight I pressed for a single showed that I should be able to press various percentages for various repetitions. It really didn't work out (no pun intended) that way. I found that when the chart showed I should be able to do 8 reps I only got 6. Conversely I am able to do a single with a heavier weight than I'm supposed to be able to.

Just curious if there are others who noticed this.

Same with me. I'm 40. I dont think this is unusual. I'm able to summon a lot more top end strength versus what a rep calculator would predict. Most of my training falls in the 50% - 70% of 1RM range. I'll hit 80% on occasion too. I may peak up to 90+% once per year (maybe for a month, make that my top set [single]). Training above 90% negatively impacts my health, so I dont do it often (aches and pains, fatigue, sometimes even cold-like symptoms). I'm referring primarily to the 3 powerlifts here. For most of my other lifting (kbs, dumbells, bodyweight, accessory barbell lifts) I typically go high rep and very light (prob 50% of a 1RM). On most of these lifts I have no clue of my max capability.

I believe most people typically train in the 70-90% area. For me, over time, I have learned that I would burn out. I am not saying this is ideal for everyone but this works for me. I am still able to substantially move the needle up (on my goals) every year. I'm not at the point yet where I'm fighting for 12 months to add 5 lb to my deadlift. Im still making progress, substantial progress. And I treat this seriously. I set 20 week plans ( I have an online coach that helps me), and I follow through. Since using this specific programming technique in 2016, I've failed on 1 rep, only 1 (September 2019 powerlifting meet 3rd attempt bench press). I'm an amateur powerlifter, a fun hobby that makes me strong.

Maybe I have poor Recovery. Or maybe I have a screw loose in my head that allows me to push well beyond the body's governor when maxing. I dont know. But you are not alone. I like to train Light (relative to 1RM).

Regards,

Eric
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@william bad butt, there's a _big_ difference between 70 and 90 percent. Training a lot at 70% will keep you strong and won't burn you out. Training at 75-80% is even better, and I've set lifetime PR's at the end of cycles where I never went about 88%, and even at 88%, I only did a few lifts that heavy. I once went a month or two doing nothing but 6 triples @ 75 1RM, 3 day a week on my deadlift - I didn't really get stronger but it felt great and recovery was easy. Note also that the base weight for the Daily Dose Deadlift is 75% 1RM and you lift that almost every day.

-S-
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
@william bad butt, there's a _big_ difference between 70 and 90 percent. Training a lot at 70% will keep you strong and won't burn you out. Training at 75-80% is even better, and I've set lifetime PR's at the end of cycles where I never went about 88%, and even at 88%, I only did a few lifts that heavy. I once went a month or two doing nothing but 6 triples @ 75 1RM, 3 day a week on my deadlift - I didn't really get stronger but it felt great and recovery was easy. Note also that the base weight for the Daily Dose Deadlift is 75% 1RM and you lift that almost every day.

-S-

Thanks Steve. I like hearing these (success) stories. I agree. For me, specifically for the powerlifts, I dont have to train heavy most of the time. My sweet spot is closer to 70%, maybe even less.

For example. I competed last September in that federation in NJ (I think it is near you, I recall you telling me, before, that you used to compete in it. I honestly forget the name of it... LOL). Took a couple weeks off. Since then (let's call it Oct 1) until mid June, I never went above 70%! Training the main lifts 1 time per week (lots of accessories and other stuff though, I wont bore you with details but these things did have an impact on my training). From mid June to mid July I never went above 80%. By the way these percentages are of my Sept 2019 meet results. I didnt really peak properly... I normally do a multi week/month peak and walk the weight up every week. Didnt do that at all. But in mid July I lifted ~95% for a single (Squat, Deadlift, Floor Press (not bench) in that order). Going from 80% to 95% in 1 week is a huge jump for me.

My squat was a bit shy of 500 lb. It was fairly easy. Felt like a heavy 1st or light 2nd attempt at a meet. Next time I max (future meet, maybe 2021?), I anticipate a 25-50 lb improvement vs my Sept 2019 results.

My deadlift was about 500 lb, on a very stiff bar with virtually no knurling (PR on that bar, yaaahhh!). Super easy lift, I was so shocked. My deadlift technique never felt so good! I wanted so bad to keep piling on the weight and keep going but I am disciplined. I'll follow the plan. I have a long term plan, don't need to stroke my ego. The deadlift felt like a final warmup or maybe an opener at a meet. I have 550 in me for sure, 575 or 600 for sure on a deadlift bar (the last federation I competed in used deadlift bars). Next year at a meet, I expect a 25-50 lb improvement vs my Sept 2019 meet results. Also keep in mind, kind of like you, I have a history of back issues. I'm all good now! But deadlifting, even a few years back, was tough. So I never push this to the limit. Even in a meet. Maybe 1 day I will.

Floor Press is not Bench Press, I realize. I can bench more than floor press, I think that is true for most. I pressed about 300 lb. I calculated a theoretical 95% of max based on my previous work... Of course it was pretty easy. My true floor press max is probably 105+% based on that calculator, maybe even 110%. But I'll never find out, lol, because I'll never max out on a floor press! Hopefully it carry's over to my bench. I wont find out for a long time, I'm sticking with the floor press for a while. I can tell it is building strength, maybe even better than the bench press.

I realize my situation may be a little different from the norm... Figured I'd share more details. I am by no means suggesting that others should do what I do. Follow the Strongfirst recommendations, especially if you are a beginner. But I am an intermediate and I've been doing this long enough that I am learning where I can (and even should) deviate from the generally accepted recommendations. I also have a life to live and many other hobby's besides training. I have to train at a level that doesnt leave me feeling beat up. For me, 88% is hard. I dont want to stay there for more than a few weeks. Maybe I'm just a wimp and need to suck it up and lift! Lol!

Regards,

Eric
 
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