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What Does Percentage Of One Rep Max Mean?

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What does it mean when a workout calls for you to lift at a certain percentage of your one rep max (also listed as 1RM)? Let’s take a look…

Your one rep max is the most weight you can perform on any given lift for ONLY a single rep. A one rep max is generally referenced for:

  • Bench Press
  • Squats
  • Deadlift
  • Military Press
  • Barbell Row

For example, you may be able to lift 180 pounds on the bench press, or 250 pounds for squats for a single rep. This is your one rep max. Many workouts will recommend that you use a percentage of your one rep max. The statement might look something like this:

Use 60% of your one rep max on the bench press for 5 reps.

“60% of your one rep max” means that for this set you should be using 60% of the most you could lift for a single rep. If your bench press one rep max is 180 pounds, you multiply 60% times 180 pounds and get:

60% times 180 pounds = 108 pounds.

More Examples

Here are more examples, this time using a lifter who has a 200 pound bench press one rep max.

  • 90% for 1 rep – 90% of your one rep max (200 pounds) would require you to lift 180 pounds for one rep.
  • 80% for 3 reps – 80% of your one rep max (200 pounds) would require you to lift 160 pounds for three reps.
  • 50% for 10 reps – 50% of your one rep max (200 pounds) would require you to lift 100 pounds for ten reps.

Still confused? Please visit the Muscle and Brawn Forum.

Mick Madden
Mick Madden is the primary content writer for Muscle and Brawn.

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