How to calculate your 1 RM


You have probably heard or read about 1RM or seen training schedules that require you to do 3 sets with 75% of your 1RM for example.. Well, today we’re going to explain what RM actually means and how you can calculate this your yourself.

What does RM stand for?

RM = Repetition max. This is different for each exercise and it’s the maximum amount of weight you can lift, push or pull by doing only 1 repetition. Keep in mind it’s very important to perform the exercise correctly and with good form.

Why is this important to know?

Knowing your limits means you can figure out how to surpass them. Finding out your one rep maximum (1RM), is key to adding strength and muscle for aesthetics or sport. Many pro-athletes train like this because their coaches will give them training-schedules based on a certain percentage of this 1RM so they can put a calculated amount of stress on a muscle over a certain period of time. Different percentages of this 1RM have different effects on the muscle and it really depends on the athlete’s goals how much weight and how many reps he should be doing per exercise. We will go over this later in the article.

Calculate your 1RM:


% of your 1RM


100 %


95 %


90 %


85 %


80 %


75 %


70 %


65 %


60 %


55 %


50 %

Let’s make this clear with an example:

So you’re using 50 kg for bench press and after 10 reps you’re unable to lift the bar anymore. 10 reps = 75% of your 1RM (see overview above).
So 75% of your 1RM is 50 kilogram, but you want to know how much 100% of your 1RM is.
If 75% is 50 kg, then 100% is (50 / 75 * 100) = 66.6 kg.

Now that you know your 1RM you can choose the right volume and intensity to train at to suit your training goals!

  • 50% of your 1RM: (for explosive power)

    If you want to improve the pace and speed of your muscles on the sports field, this is the weight for you.

    Using a weight that is 50% of your 1RM will teach your muscles to be strong, powerful and fast without becoming too big, bulky and slow. Do 4-6 sets of 5-6 reps of explosive fast reps for best results.

  • 70% of your 1RM: (for endurance)

    This is suited for athletes who cover long distances because it trains your muscles to keep moving while at the same time shifting a decent amount of weight.

    If you want to get leaner or if you’re an endurance athlete then use 70% of your 1RM in no-rest circuits consisting of 4-10 exercises. Do 12-20 reps. By doing this you will burn calories and hike up your metabolism for up to 12 hours after your workout.

  • 80% of your 1RM: (for muscle)

    A tough weight to lift but one you can do a fair number of reps with in order to stress your muscle fibres enough to force them to thicken and get bigger.

    This is standard weight-lifting practice, so stick with sets of 7-12 reps so you can exert enough stress on your muscles to force them to grow larger. The key here is short rest periods of 30-60 seconds to fully tax the muscle.

  • 90% of your 1RM: (for power)

    Moving heavy loads with speed is the best way to create maximal force quickly. This kind of training is used by performance athletes.

    Accelerate the bar as fast as possible during each repetition while staying in control and with good form. Only do 3-4 reps and take a 2-3 minute rest to recover between the 3-4 sets.

  • 95% of your 1RM: (for strength)

    This weight will help push you past your old limits in the shortest possible time!

    Always use a spotter and do just 1-3 reps per set to avoid injury. Only train with weights this heavy for 6-12 weeks at a time, otherwise your nervous system will start to fatigue, which can lead to illness and require some time out.

Knowing what your 1RM is and being able to define how much you're going to stress your muscles during your workouts is really important. We hope that this article gave you some insight and that it will help you make more effective training schedules. If your goal is to gain musclemass, you should be training at +- 80% of your 1RM.

Anyway, enjoy NYE everyone!

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