by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

What Weight Should I Use?

Tonight at the box one of the things on the board was to find an eight-rep max for our front squat. A ubiquitous question in this situation is “how much weight should I use?”. In fact, a friend asked me that tonight. The question behind the question though is “what weight should I be able to do given my one rep max?”.

There are lots of different ways of testing strength. Some coaches abhor ever testing a single rep max effort. Some believe that’s the only way to know really. Some will want you to estimate and hit a specific number of reps. Others will pick a rough target, but have you do reps until you fail.

what weight should I be able to do given my one rep max?

I don’t have a strong opinion on these different philosophies other that to say I fall somewhere along the lines that it’s at least good psychologically to test single rep maxes every so often and repping until close to failure is easier than picking the perfect weight.

It turns out that a lot of peer reviewed science has gone into helping us translate multiple-rep max efforts to single-rep max efforts (and since it’s math, you can do the reverse).

As an athlete, I have always been a big believer in visualization and mental preparation for physical efforts. As I began training with programming that did a lot of cycles of multiple repetition maxes, I found myself looking up one of the online calculators that used one of the formulas for calculating maxes, and working out what I should be able to hit for what was prescribed on the board that evening.

If I were feeling good, I would add weight to that target in my final attempt. If I were sick or didn’t sleep enough or feeling just off, I wouldn’t sweat missing my target, but I had a goal which meant I could easily plan my warm ups and jumps to get to that target without wearing myself out.

Having a goal turned out to be pretty powerful. I would typically add a bit more than my target. I knew that I could hit it because the math said I could. So much mental fog and self-doubt were eliminated allowing me to focus on the lift. I could just execute.

Most of the time it just worked. And I got stronger.

my push press max over the course of 2.5 years through shoulder surgery and a bad back injury

However, after a while, I grew tired of the 10–20 minutes or so of looking through my book to find my last max effort and going to the calculator on my phone to figure things out right before class.

So I wrote My 1 Rep Max to manage all this for me.

All you do is enter is maximum effort regardless of the rep count and the date you did it on, and it does the rest. Now when I’m about to do a max effort lift I just open the app, select the lift and see a chart of the numbers that I can hit.

As the lift ages, the text in the middle turns red to alert you the numbers might not be accurate any longer.

The app takes seconds, gives me confidence, and allows me to form a plan of attack quickly. Most of the time I add a bit more than the app says I can hit allowing me to level up my strength.

We are launching very soon but you can signup now on the waiting list to be invited to try us out early or get notified once we do open up to the public!

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