test Your Bench Press 1 rep Max


The one-repetition maximum (1RM) test is one of the best ways to assess your maximum strength outside of a laboratory using specialized equipment. The 1RM test, is simply the maximum amount of weight you can lift for one repetition, using proper form and technique. One-rep maximums are used for more than just bragging rights.

Testing 1RM is often used by strength and conditioning coaches to assess athletes in order to program correctly, track athletes progress, and identify imbalances. In a team context, proper assessment and continual reassessment of the 1RM is important to help determine if a strength program is effective and also provides an additional variable to compare athletes. It can be motivating for athletes to track progression of their 1RM and testing days can be used a positive team building experience.

The 1RM can be used to assess a variety of exercises besides the bench press, it is often used to test movements such as barbell back squat, leg press, and power clean among others. It is important to consider exercise selection and demographics when assessing the 1RM not all exercises can be used and not all exercises have the same reliability for all demographics.

1RM testing is safe for athletes as young as 6 years old and up but novice lifters are not recommended to lift maximal loads because of the risk of injury. If it necessary to learn their one rep max but the individual is a novice you can test a sub-maximal load and use an appropriate chart to calculate 1RM.


Bench Press 1RM Test Preparation

It is important to keep the testing experience consistent each time, to get accurate results. Prior to testing ensure you all required equipment is available.

  • Bench press 1RM testing, will require:

  • High quality power lifting bar

  • Reliable bench press

  • Various weight plates including small increments (2.5lbs)

  • Testing performance sheet to record data

  • A method to record time

  • At least 3 individuals to test, spot, and record data. When performing the bench press 1RM test it is a good idea to use 2 spotters at each end of the barbell to ensure safety

  • Weigh in prior to test without heavy clothing or shoes. Use the same method prior to each test afterward to ensure consistency

Testing Procedure

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  1. Warm up performing 6-10 repetitions with a load that is approximately 50% of your predicted 1RM.

  2. Rest 1-5 minutes as needed or as prescribed by coach.

  3. Perform 3 repetitions with a load based off of your warm up set. It should be approximately 80% of your 1RM.

  4. Rest 1 minute.

  5. Increase load and perform 1 repetition.

  6. Rest 1-5 minutes.

  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6, increasing load in 5%-10% increments for upper body movements and 10%-20% for lower body movements.

  8. Repeat 3-7 times until a 1RM is achieved.

  9. Make sure to record all data including rest periods and weight increments for each step.

  10. Perform proceeding tests in the exact same manner in order to achieve accurate results.

Use this free bench press calculator to calculate your 1RM with sub-maximal loads