What Is Repetition Maximum and 1RM?

Repetition maximum can help you track your weight training progress.

A deadlift.
A deadlift. Hero Images/Getty Images

Definition

A repetition maximum (RM) is the most weight you can lift for a defined number of exercise movements. It is a good measure of your current strength level as you follow your weight training program.

A 10RM would be the heaviest weight you could lift for 10 consecutive exercise repetitions.

Repetition maximum is often expressed as 1RM, or one repetition maximum. This indicates the heaviest weight you can lift with maximum effort in a single repetition.

A 1RM is your personal weightlifting record for any particular exercise. It could be a squat, or deadlift or any other weight lifting exercise.

The 1RM measurement is a standard in weight training for marking improvement. By establishing your 1RM and tracking it, you are able to observe your progress. It is a more precise measure, so it can help you judge how effective your program is. Plus, you get positive reinforcement and a sense of accomplishment when you have a way to clearly see improvements.

This exercise program calls for 3 sets of 6RM lifts.

Safely Testing 1RM

While 1RM is a very useful tool, it does have limitations. Measuring your 1RM is not simply a matter of grabbing the biggest weight performing a rep; this is unsafe and you can injure yourself without properly preparing.

Before measuring 1RM, you need to perform a few warm up sets of the exercise to get the muscle ready. A warmed up muscle is far less likely to be injured.

The warm up may seem time-consuming, but it is essential.

Also, allow twenty-four hours of rest time for a muscle before performing a 1RM test.

Finally: Always use a spotter. Even with a proper warm up, the risk of injury is high because of the heavy weight you are potentially using. A spotter is essential in helping you avoid injury.

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