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How much can you lift?

Knowing your limits means you can figure out how to surpass them. But finding out how much weight you can lift or push once – your one rep maximum (1RM) – has a use beyond simple bragging rights. If you’re trying to add strength and muscle for aesthetics or sport, then knowing your 1RM is indispensable.

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By training at a specific percentage of your 1RM you can put a calculated amount of stress on a muscle over a certain period of time. Such specificity will create the fastest rate of muscle growth. Use our formulas to work out what your magic number is. Then cross-reference your goal with the set percentages to ensure you’re working your muscles in the most effective way possible.

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Work out your weight:

Calculate your 1RM for upper and lower body using these formulas:

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For your upper body:

  • Find the heaviest weight you can lift 4-6 times and plug it into this equation: (4.6RM X 1.1307) + 0.6998.
  • So if you can do 5 reps of 60kg, then according to the formula – (60 x 1.1307) + 0.6998 – your 1RM will be 68.5kg.

For lower body:

  • Use this formula: (4-6RM x 1.09703) + 14.2546. Got a decimal point? Go on, round it up.
  • Now you know your 1RM train you can choose the right volume and intensity to train at to suit your training goals.

50% of your 1RM

Best 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. It’s especially good for those who need to move very quickly, such as boxers.

Use It:

  • The perfect combination for every sportsman is to do 3-6 sets of 3-4 reps of explosive fast reps.
  • Use a weight that is 50% of your 1RM. This will teach your muscles to be strong, powerful and fast without becoming too big, bulky and slow – the hallmarks of a finely tuned sportsman.
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