One Rep Max is the ultimate measure of Strength. It simply represents your max, your PR or absolute Strength. Think about this: every athletes’ dream is to make the final play to win the championship, jump over your opponent and slam in his face while he’s trying to block, put the fingers on the ball and catch the pass for the last second touchdown.. gather yourself and all you have and give it all in that moment! Your max effort is also the proud symbol of your success and achievement. This is why athletes should love 1RM, it is the ultimate stage in preparation for their dreams.
At the same time though, it’s the limit holding back from achieving the next accomplishment, the reason we’re willing to do better and keep improving.
In the end, if we’re trying to make a stand for the strongest version of ourself, 1RM is the light that guides and motivates our next step in training.
Just for those of you readers who can’t speak fluent gym language, technically 1RM aka 1 Repetition Maximum aka 1 Rep Max is the heaviest load you can lift once and with correct technique.
You can see now how this requires the totality of your lifting-being: maximum activation of the central nervous system and both inter and intra muscular coordination. Remember, Inter muscular coordination involves the sequencing of actions between different muscle groups where Intramuscular coordination is among fibres of the same group. (*)
That means you’re not only squeezing the crap out of your muscles,tendons,skeleton,ligaments and metabolism, you’re also required to involve your entire central nervous system in a pretty intense activity.
1RM Estimation and testing is fundamental for a lot of training programs,any Strength program. Westside Training for example uses to max out to monitor and at the same time increase absolute Strength levels, they do it with the Max Effort Method which is, in very simple words a 1RM testing session converted into a workout. This is the most advanced, brutal and challenging strength training method!
Maximal Strength test are commonly used for athletes and many resistance programs are based on relative loads derived form a person’s 1RM.
Ultimately, one of the main problems faced by strength and conditioning coaches is the issue to objectively quantify and monitor the actual training load undertaken by athletes in order to maximise performance.
Examples of this we can encounter on every workout paper around us: 3 sets of 3 reps at 90%1RM or 8 sets for 3 reps at 50%1RM
The manipulation of the training intensity (relative load) and the related training volume (total amount of repetitions or total amount of load lifted) shapes the magnitude and the type of physiological responses and, in the end, the adaptations to strength training. Gains or Lose!
There is definitely a darkside of directly testing 1RM. First of all it takes quite a lot of time as you need complete recovery between one set (or try) and the next one. Also, striving to use the most correct technique makes it very taxing. Since we’re lifting a heavy weight,spotters are required,we need a coach to check on our movement..the injury potential is very high.
Different indirect methods like the Brzycki formula or Maurice & Rydin table have been researched to statistically estimate 1RM with the maximum number of repetitions completed with a certain load. These methods are safe but quite unreliable, especially if the relative load is not very high.
Most of all, 1RM depends on daily conditions and may vary quite rapidly: trainers should be doing math every training session! This is very time consuming.
For the success of the training program coaches and athletes need to track and evaluate maximal strength without the need to perform direct or indirect 1RM testing methods.
We also need to establish the %1RM that is being used as soon as the first repetition is performed and monitor this parameter for every repetition that is performed.
Movement Velocity as a Measure of Loading Intensity in Resistance Training, Gonzalez Badillo, Sanchez Medina, Int J of Sports Medicine
Supertraining, Mell Siff, Yuri Verhoshansky