When someone asks you how much weight you can lift, what does it actually mean?

Are they talking about how much weight you can put up for 10 reps, 8 reps, or 5 reps?

No, they’re probably not…

In the vast majority of cases, when someone asks you how much can you bench, or squat, or deadlift, they are referring to what is known as your one rep max.

Quite simply, this is the maximum amount of weight that you can lift for a single repetition.

Now you might be wondering why this matters, right?

Well, there are actually several reasons why knowing this number is useful.

First of all, let’s be honest here, you care about it for your ego.

In my experience, the vast majority of gym-going guys want to know what the maximum amount of weight they can lift is.

It’s a guy thing, a macho thing – but it’s the truth, and it’s a rare guy that works out that doesn’t care about this (to some degree, at least).

But all of that aside, there is actually another very important reason why knowing your one rep max can be useful…

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That is, it can come in very handy when you are looking to vary the rep range for a particular exercise.

For instance, a certain protocol might call for you to be lifting at 70% of your one rep max.

Another might have you doing sets with weight that is 85% of your one rep max.

Well, most guys simply don’t have a clue what this number really is, because they don’t actually lift weights like that!

Unless you’re a powerlifter, or structure your workouts so as to frequently test your one rep max when you’re fresh, then realistically you’re just hazarding a guess about what you are actually able to lift.

Thankfully, with the help of this nifty one rep max calculator, finding this number for all of your main exercises becomes very simple.

Using The One Rep Max Calculator

This really couldn’t be any easier…

First of all, pick an exercise that you want to know your one rep max for.

For this example, let’s go with the bench press, since that is the exercise that the majority of guys care about the most.

After that, determine the maximum amount of weight that you are currently lifting for your heaviest sets.

It doesn’t matter if this number is for a set of 10 reps or a set of 3 reps – so consult your workout logs and figure out what your absolute best set was.

Finally, just plug that weight and the number of reps you are able to lift it for into the calculator below.

This will give you a pretty good estimation of the maximum amount of weight that you can bench for a single repetition.

Online Calculator

So if you are able to do 6 reps of 225 lbs for your heaviest set, then your one rep max would be approximately 261 lbs.

Obviously this is only an estimate, and the actual number may be slightly higher or lower in real life.

Still, it should give you a pretty good basis to work from – and will now mean that when you brag about the max amount of weight you can lift, you actually have something to back it up!

Was your one rep max higher or lower than you expected? Let us know in the comments below.