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If you want to know how your one-rep maxes measure up, and how to use them to help you gain strength and muscle faster, then you want to read this article.

Key Takeaways

  1. A one-rep max is the maximum amount of weight you can lift for a single repetition of a given exercise through a full range of motion with proper technique.
  2. The easiest way to calculate your one-rep max is to review your training log, find the most weight you’ve lifted on an exercise for 3 to 6 reps, and plug in the weight and reps into the calculator in this article.
  3. By tracking your one-rep max over time, you can ensure you’re gaining muscle effectively.

Just want to know your one-rep max (1RM) and nothing else? Here’s the calculator:

Weight Lifted: lbs.  kgs.

Number of Reps:

95% 1RM 90% 1RM 85% 1RM 80% 1RM 75% 1RM 70% 1RM 65% 1RM 60% 1RM
Estimated Reps and Weight Based on One-Rep Max
Reps 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 15 20
Brzycki
Baechle
dos Remedios

Want to know why your one-rep max matters, how it compares to other people, and how to use it to gain strength and muscle faster?

Read on, because I’m going to show you.

The first thing you need to know about the one-rep max is that it’s good for more than bragging rights.

Sure, it’s fun to know how you stack up against other guys and gals, but there’s a better reason to care:

Knowing your one-rep max helps you maintain optimal workout intensity (and thereby achieve optimal results).

It allows you to train hard enough to get the maximum muscle-building stimulus out of every workout, without training so hard that you increase the risk of getting injured or running into symptoms related to overtraining.

This is particularly important if you’re serious about getting stronger on the “big lifts” like the squat, deadlift, bench press, and military press, where you’re moving the heaviest weights.

So, by the end of this article, you’re going to understand what a one-rep max is, how to calculate your 1RM for every exercise, how your numbers compare to other weightlifters, and how to use them to gain muscle and strength as fast as possible.

Let’s get started.

What Is A One-Rep Max?

one rep max calculator bodybuilding

A one-rep max is the maximum amount of weight you can lift for a single repetition of a given exercise through a full range of motion with proper technique.

Let’s unpack that a bit. A 1RM is …

  1. The maximum amount of weight you can lift for one repetition … assuming you’re warmed up, rested, and just starting your workout (without doing any other sets or exercises beforehand).
  2. Specific to each exercise. Your one-rep max for your dumbbell press could be very different from your one-rep max for your bench press, even though they involve similar muscle groups, so you need to calculate it separately for each exercise.
  3. Requires full range of motion. Half-squats don’t count.
  4. Requires proper technique. If you’re rounding your back while deadlifting, letting your knees cave in while squatting, or letting your butt hop off the pad while bench pressing, then you’re cheating.

Now, the only 100%-accurate way to know how much weight you can lift for a single rep is to actually do it, but that comes at a cost.

A true one-rep max attempt is time-consuming, risky, and exhausting.

  • To test your true max, you first need to train with lighter weights and lower volumes for several days to a week beforehand to make sure you’re rested.
  • You then have to push yourself very close to absolute muscular failure, which is where your technique is most likely to break down and precipitate an injury.
  • Finally, a true one-rep max test is going to leave you feeling drained for at least a few days, during which you’ll need to use lighter weights or lower volumes.

Some advanced lifters say it takes them at least 1 to 2 weeks before they feel normal again after a one-rep max test, especially with squats and deadlifts.

This is why most people rarely do true one-rep max tests. Instead, they use equations to predict their one-rep max based on how many reps they can get with a lighter weight.

For example, if you bench press a weight that allows you to get 5 reps before reaching failure, you can then plug the weight and reps into a calculator to estimate your one-rep max.

These equations can predict your one-rep max very accurately, especially if you use a weight that allows you to get 10 or fewer reps.

Personally, I use a weight that allows me to get 3 to 6 reps for calculating my 1RMs.

How to Estimate Your One-Rep Max

The three most commonly used one-rep max equations are the Brzycki, Baechle, and dos Remedios equations.

As you’ll see, the results are very similar formula to formula.

I’ve included all three in the calculator below because some people like to get fancy and average the results from each, but personally I just stick with the Brzycki results.

To use one of these equations, you first need to test your “rep max,” which is is the amount of weight you can lift for a given number of reps.

For example, if you can bench press 225 pounds for 5 reps, that’s your “5-rep max.”

One way to find this number is to look at your workout log from the past few weeks and find the most weight you lifted for an exercise and for how many reps. Then, you can plug those numbers into the calculator.

This is how I typically estimate my one-rep max, because it’s convenient, fast, and doesn’t require changing my workout routine.

There are a few problems with this method that can make you underestimate your true one-rep max, though, including:

  • Doing one exercise after another in your workouts (flat bench after incline, for example), which makes you weaker on the second exercise.
  • Training consistently for several weeks without deloading, which means your true strength is at least slightly impaired by residual fatigue.
  • Training several reps shy of failure on your working sets, which means you haven’t truly pushed yourself to your limits.

So, if you want to get an even more accurate estimate, then you want to do a rep-max test.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Pick an exercise to use for your rep-max test and move it to the beginning of your workout. For example, if you’re following The Bigger Leaner Stronger Program, do the bench press on Day 1 before incline bench press, not after.
  2. Do a thorough warm-up.
  3. Once you’re finished your warm-up, rest at least 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Pick a weight that you think you can lift for 3 to 6 repetitions.
  5. Get set up, brace properly, and do as many reps as you can before your technique starts to break down or your reach muscular failure.
  6. If you got 3 to 6 reps, write down how much weight you used and how many reps you got. This is your “rep max.”
  7. If you got 7 or more reps, add 5 to 10 pounds to the bar, rest at least 3 to 5 minutes, and try again. You might be a little tired, but you should still have enough energy to get a reasonably accurate number.
  8. After finishing your rep-max test, finish your regular workout.

Ideally, you’ll do this test on separate days for the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press.

A good frequency for 1RM testing is every 4 to 6 months. That’s often enough to provide accurate numbers in your programming, but infrequent enough to not get in the way of your normal workout routine.

You don’t need to repeat this process for isolation exercises like biceps curls, as you can get accurate (enough) one-rep max estimates for those exercises through your normal workouts.

I also recommend you schedule your rep-max rest for the first day back after a week-long deload. This ensures you’re recovered, rested, and ready to give it your all.

For example, here’s how the test could fit into your weekly schedule:

Monday

Deload

Tuesday

Deload

Wednesday

Deload

Thursday

Deload

Friday

Deload

Saturday

Rest

Sunday

Rest

Monday

Rep-Max Test for Squat

Tuesday

Rep-Max Test for Bench Press

Wednesday

Rep-Max Test for Deadlift

Thursday

Rep-Max Test for Overhead Press

Friday

Rest or Normal Workout

Saturday

Rest

Sunday

Rest

Make sure you get plenty of sleep before any rep-max tests, and (ideally) eat a meal with protein and carbs 1 to 2 hours pre-workout. If you’re feeling a little groggy or out of sorts, a pre-workout supplement can help, too. 🙂

Now that you have your rep max, you can plug these numbers into the one-rep max calculator:

Weight Lifted: lbs.  kgs.

Number of Reps:

95% 1RM 90% 1RM 85% 1RM 80% 1RM 75% 1RM 70% 1RM 65% 1RM 60% 1RM
Estimated Reps and Weight Based on One-Rep Max
Reps 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 15 20
Brzycki
Baechle
dos Remedios

For example, my best 3-rep max for bench press is 290 pounds. Using the calculator, that would peg my estimated best one-rep max at 307 pounds.

If you’re curious what all of the other numbers mean, how your numbers stack up against other lifters, and how to use your one-rep max to gain muscle and strength, then keep reading.

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

How Do Your Numbers Measure Up?

powerlifting one rep max calculator

Once you know your one-rep maxes, you inevitably want to know how they rank.

Well, you can use the tables below to find out.

They come to us from Dr. Lon Kilgore and Mark Rippetoe and are based on a systematic review of decades of competitive weightlifting performance.

The numbers are one-rep maxes and keep in mind they don’t represent the highest levels of strength possible–they’re just performance benchmarks.

Heavier people can generally lift more than lighter people, so each table categorizes lifters into 5 classes based on how much they can lift relative to their body weight and level of experience. Here are the categories:

Untrained

This is what you would expect from someone who hasn’t trained on the exercises but who can do them correctly.

Novice

This is what you would expect from someone who has trained regularly on an exercise for 3 to 6 months.

Intermediate

This is what you would expect from someone who has trained regularly on an exercise for 1 to 3 years.

Advanced

This is what you would expect from someone who has trained regularly on an exercise for 3+ years.

Elite

This is what you would expect from a genetically gifted athlete competing in strength sports.

Pounds

Bench Press – Adult Men

Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
114 85 110 130 180 220
123 90 115 140 195 240
132 100 125 155 210 260
148 110 140 170 235 290
165 120 150 185 255 320
181 130 165 200 275 345
198 135 175 215 290 360
220 140 185 225 305 380
242 145 190 230 315 395
275 150 195 240 325 405
319 155 200 245 335 415
320+ 160 205 250 340 425
Kilograms
Bench Press – Adult Men
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
52 37.5 50.0 60.0 82.5 100.0
56 40.0 52.5 62.5 90.0 110.0
60 45.0 57.5 70.0 95.0 117.5
67 50.0 65.0 77.5 107.5 132.5
75 55.0 70.0 85.0 115.0 145.0
82 60.0 75.0 90.0 125.0 157.5
90 62.5 80.0 97.5 132.5 162.5
100 62.5 82.5 102.5 137.5 172.5
110 65.0 85.0 105.0 142.5 180.0
125 67.5 87.5 107.5 147.5 185.0
145 70.0 90.0 112.5 152.5 190.0
145+ 72.5 92.5 115.0 155.0 192.5
Pounds
Bench Press – Adult Women
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
97 50 65 75 95 115
105 55 70 80 100 125
114 60 75 85 110 135
123 65 80 90 115 140
132 70 85 95 125 150
148 75 90 105 135 165
165 80 95 115 145 185
181 85 110 120 160 195
198 90 115 130 165 205
199+ 95 120 140 175 220
Kilograms
Bench Press – Adult Women
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
44 22.5 30.0 35.0 42.5 52.5
48 25.0 32.5 37.5 45.0 57.5
52 27.5 35.0 37.5 50.0 62.5
56 30.0 37.5 40.0 52.5 65.0
60 32.5 40.0 42.5 57.5 67.5
67 35.0 40.0 47.5 62.5 75.0
75 37.5 42.5 52.5 65.0 85.0
82 37.5 50.0 55.0 72.5 90.0
90 40.0 52.5 60.0 75.0 95.0
90+ 42.5 55.0 62.5 80.0 100.0
Pounds
Deadlift – Adult Men
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
114 95 180 205 300 385
123 105 195 220 320 415
132 115 210 240 340 440
148 125 235 270 380 480
165 135 255 295 410 520
181 150 275 315 440 550
198 155 290 335 460 565
220 165 305 350 480 585
242 170 320 365 490 595
275 175 325 375 500 600
319 180 335 380 505 610
320+ 185 340 390 510 615
Kilograms
Deadlift – Adult Men
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
52 42.5 82.5 92.5 135.0 175.0
56 47.5 87.5 100.0 145.0 187.5
60 50.0 95.0 110.0 155.0 200.0
67 57.5 107.5 122.5 172.5 217.5
75 62.5 115.0 135.0 185.0 235.0
82 67.5 125.0 142.5 200.0 250.0
90 70.0 132.5 152.5 207.5 257.5
100 75.0 137.5 160.0 217.5 265.0
110 77.5 145.0 165.0 222.5 270.0
125 80.0 147.5 170.0 227.5 272.5
145 82.5 152.5 172.5 230.0 277.5
145+ 85.0 155.0 177.5 232.5 280.0
Pounds
Deadlift – Adult Women
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
97 55 105 120 175 230
105 60 115 130 190 240
114 65 120 140 200 255
123 70 130 150 210 265
132 75 135 160 220 275
148 80 150 175 240 295
165 90 160 190 260 320
181 95 175 205 275 330
198 100 185 215 285 350
199+ 110 195 230 300 365
Kilograms
Deadlift – Adult Women
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
44 25.0 47.5 50.0 80.0 105.0
48 27.5 52.5 60.0 85.0 110.0
52 30.0 55.0 62.5 90.0 115.0
56 32.5 60.0 67.5 95.0 120.0
60 35.0 62.5 72.5 100.0 125.0
67 37.5 67.5 80.0 110.0 135.0
75 40.0 72.5 85.0 117.5 145.0
82 42.5 80.0 92.5 125.0 150.0
90 45.0 87.5 97.5 130.0 160.0
90+ 50.0 90.0 105.0 137.5 165.0
Pounds
Overhead Press – Adult Men
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
114 55 75 90 110 130
123 60 80 100 115 140
132 65 85 105 125 150
148 70 95 120 140 170
165 75 100 130 155 190
181 80 110 140 165 220
198 85 115 145 175 235
220 90 120 155 185 255
242 95 125 160 190 265
275 95 130 165 195 275
319 100 135 170 200 280
320+ 100 140 175 205 285
Kilograms
Overhead Press – Adult Men
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
52 22.5 32.5 40.0 50.0 60.0
56 25.0 35.0 45.0 52.5 65.0
60 27.5 37.5 47.5 57.5 70.0
67 30.0 42.5 55.0 62.5 77.5
75 32.5 45.0 57.5 70.0 85.0
82 35.0 50.0 62.5 75.0 100.0
90 37.5 52.5 65.0 77.5 105.0
100 40.0 55.0 70.0 82.5 115.0
110 42.5 57.5 72.5 85.0 120.0
125 42.5 60.0 75.0 87.5 122.5
145 45.0 60.0 75.0 90.0 125.0
145+ 45.0 62.5 77.5 92.5 130.0
Pounds
Overhead Press – Adult Women
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
97 30 40 50 65 85
105 35 45 55 70 90
114 35 50 60 75 100
123 40 50 60 80 105
132 40 55 65 85 110
148 45 60 70 95 120
165 50 65 75 105 135
181 50 70 80 110 140
198 55 75 85 115 150
199+ 60 80 95 125 160
Kilograms
Overhead Press – Adult Women
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
44 15.0 17.5 22.5 30.0 40.0
48 15.0 20.0 25.0 32.5 42.5
52 17.5 22.5 27.5 35.0 45.0
56 17.5 22.5 27.5 37.5 47.5
60 17.5 25.0 30.0 40.0 50.0
67 20.0 27.5 32.5 42.5 55.0
75 22.5 30.0 35.0 47.5 62.5
82 22.5 32.5 37.5 50.0 65.0
90 25.0 35.0 40.0 52.5 67.5
90+ 27.5 37.5 42.5 57.5 72.5
Pounds
Squat – Adult Men
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
114 80 145 175 240 320
123 85 155 190 260 345
132 90 170 205 280 370
148 100 190 230 315 410
165 110 205 250 340 445
181 120 220 270 370 480
198 125 230 285 390 505
220 130 245 300 410 530
242 135 255 310 425 550
275 140 260 320 435 570
319 145 270 325 445 580
320+ 150 275 330 455 595
Kilograms
Squat – Adult Men
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
52 35.0 65.0 80.0 107.5 145.0
56 37.5 70.0 87.5 117.5 157.5
60 40.0 77.5 92.5 127.5 167.5
67 45.0 85.0 105.0 142.5 185.0
75 50.0 92.5 112.5 155.0 202.5
82 55.0 100.0 122.5 167.5 217.5
90 57.5 105.0 130.0 177.5 230.0
100 60.0 110.0 135.0 185.0 240.0
110 62.5 115.0 140.0 192.5 250.0
125 65.0 117.5 145.0 197.5 257.5
145 67.5 122.5 147.5 202.5 262.5
145+ 70.0 125.0 150.0 207.5 270.0
Pounds
Squat – Adult Women
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
97 45 85 100 130 165
105 50 90 105 140 175
114 55 100 115 150 190
123 55 105 120 160 200
132 60 110 130 170 210
148 65 120 140 185 230
165 70 130 150 200 255
181 75 140 165 215 270
198 80 150 175 230 290
199+ 85 160 185 240 305
Kilograms
Squat – Adult Women
Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
44 20.0 37.5 45.0 60.0 75.0
48 22.5 40.0 47.5 65.0 80.0
52 25.0 45.0 52.5 67.5 87.5
56 25.0 47.5 55.0 72.5 90.0
60 27.5 50.0 60.0 77.5 95.0
67 30.0 55.0 62.5 85.0 105.0
75 32.5 57.5 67.5 90.0 115.0
82 35.0 62.5 75.0 97.5 122.5
90 37.5 67.5 80.0 105.0 132.5
90+ 40.0 72.5 85.0 110.0 137.5

Do Your Numbers Suck?

When I first saw these strength standards, it was a bit of a rude awakening.

I had been training for about seven years and wasn’t anywhere near the advanced/elite numbers.

I was weak (~245 pounds for 3 reps on the Smith Machine Bench Press and the same on the Smith Machine Squat, lol) … and I didn’t have much of a physique, either:

one rep max calculator wendler

To be fair, I don’t think I looked awful … but that’s not what you aspire to look like after seven years of hard work.

Well, I made quite a few changes in my approach to training and diet and here’s me a few years later:

one rep max calculator squat

The improvements haven’t been just skin deep, either.

I was able to take all my lifts from novice or intermediate to advanced or elite levels and I’ve since been able to maintain this physique and strength year-round with relative ease (4 to 6 hours of exercise per week and flexible dieting).

If you want to know more about what made all the difference, check out this article:

5 Huge Fitness Mistakes That Nearly Made Me Quit

How Tracking Your One-Rep Max Helps You Build Muscle

weight lifting percentage chart

Many people wanting to gain muscle gauge their progress by body weight alone.

If they’re gaining weight, they’re happy. If they’re not, they’re not.

This simplistic method of measuring results can work, but it also can trip you up.

For example, if you’re new to weightlifting and are restricting your calories for fat loss, you’re going to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.

This makes body weight an unreliable guide on both fronts (fat loss and muscle growth) because it’s not going to change nearly as much as your physique.

And if you’re an experienced weightlifter that can no longer “recomp” effectively, putting too much emphasis on weight can cause other problems.

The most common one is excessive fat gain during bulking periods.

You see, when your primary goal is to just “gain weight,” “bulking” can easily become “bingeing,” which gives the immediate gratification of a bigger number on the scale…but also gets in the way of muscle building.

There are two main reasons for this.

As your body fat percentage rises…

Insulin is a hormone that shuttles nutrients into cells.

Insulin sensitivity refers to how “sensitive” your cells are to insulin’s signals.

As insulin sensitivity drops, the body’s ability to burn fat and build muscle decreases and the likelihood of weight gain increases.

These downsides don’t need much explanation.

Testosterone is the primary hormonal driver of muscle growth and promotes leanness whereas estrogen promotes fatness.

As you can see, gaining fat too quickly and letting your body fat levels go too high while bulking is just counter-productive.

It directly impairs muscle growth and supercharges fat gain, which is bad enough, but it also sets you up to fail in the long term as well.

The bigger picture looks like this:

  1. The higher you allow your body fat levels to go, the longer you’re going to have to spend in a calorie deficit to undo the “damage.”
  2. Once your “newbie gains” are behind you, when you’re in a calorie deficit, you’re not going to build any muscle to speak of.

Thus, what happens when you get this wrong is you spend relatively short periods of time bulking at half-mast, wherein you don’t gain much muscle, followed by relatively long periods cutting, wherein you don’t gain any muscle and may even lose some.

This an extremely inefficient way to build a physique.

This is why I recommend that you plan and manage your bulking and cutting periods based on your body fat percentage. I talk about exactly how to pull this off in this article:  

The Best Way to Gain Muscle Without Getting Fat

Alright, then … what does all this have to do with your one-rep maxes?

Well first, there’s this:

If you want to gain muscle, you’re going to have to get stronger.

In fact, your number-one goal as a natural weightlifter should be to increase whole-body strength over time. It’s just that important.

That’s why compound exercises like the squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press are the bread and butter of any effective weightlifting routine.

Now, how do you ensure you’re consistently getting stronger over time? Especially after your “newbie gains” are long gone and progress slows down dramatically?

You need a way to track that progress, of course. And the easiest way to track your progress is to track your one-rep maxes.

We recall, however, that true one-rep max testing is taxing and risky, which is why it’s better to keep an eye on your 1RMs as you train, and to periodically do easier, safer, rep-max testing.

This means that you should be tracking everything you do in every workout , and should see a steady increase in the weights you’re handling over time, and especially on the big compound movements like the squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press.

If that is happening–if your one-rep maxes on your key exercises are going up over time–then you know you’re doing a lot right and moving in the right direction.

Sure, you can still hit plateaus that rquire “special” adjustments to break through … and you and still need to know how to adjust your diet based on what’s happening on the scale and in the mirror … but so long as you’re increasing your whole-body strength, you’ve got the “hardest” part of gaining muscle nailed.

Put it all together and keep everything on track and you’ll never get stuck in a rut like I did.

The Bottom Line on Calculating Your One-Rep Max

There are better reasons to track your one-rep maxes than having a real answer to questions like, “How much do ya bench?”

Namely, it’s one of the best ways to ensure you’re training hard enough to gain maximum muscle and strength and minimal body fat.

It’s also a great way to see how advanced of a weightlifter you are, which can inform how you program your training, and realize when you’ve settled into a new plateau that you’ll need to break through.

To track your one-rep maxes, I recommend you review your training logs every so often and plug your numbers for your key lifts into the calculator in this article, and then record the estimates in a spreadsheet or app like Stacked so you can visualize your progress over time. 

If you want to get an even more accurate estimate of your one-rep maxes, do rep-max tests every 3 to 4 months.

Do that plus …

And you’ll be well on your way to having the body you really want.

What’s your take on one-rep max calculation? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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