Preparing For a One Rep Max
A one rep max is a means to determine your strength and overall fitness gains that you have worked so hard for over the past several months. It is by no means the end all be all of progress, but it should give you a good indicator of where your efforts have paid off and the areas you can focus on in the future. Unless you just began training, you are not going to set a new record in every lift. This is normal and to be expected. In fact, if you have been training for over a year, you will most likely set a record in only a few lifts. For instance, if you have been focusing on your squat, your max will probably go up modestly, but your press might not. Based on the feedback you get from the test, you can decide which lifts you want to focus on in order to see improvement in the future.
There are a few things that you can do to maximize your potential for hitting a new personal record. That is the purpose of this post. I’ll do my best to keep this short and simple.
Mobility – Working out and every day life have a tendency to decrease your range of motion / mobility especially if you don’t do mobility on a regular basis.
Spending 5 minutes a day to mobilize your body especially hips and shoulders can make a big difference during your personal record attempts. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to complete the exercise even though you know you are strong enough. Choose one hip and one shoulder stretch and complete each day, preferably after a workout or shower when your body is warm.
Pass through stretch:
- Grab a broom stick and hold with both hands with a very wide grip.
- Bring the stick up and over your head, then down behind your back.
- Bring back to the starting position.
- Keep your arms straight throughout.
Perform 20 reps, inch your hands closer half way through if possible. If your elbows bend during the stretch, widen your grip again.
- Grab a towel and throw it over your shoulder with one hand.
- Reach behind your back and grab the towel with your other hand.
- Use your fingers to inch your hands closer to one another until you can feel a moderate stretch.
Hold for 1 minute on each side. Break it up into multiple sets if you need to.
Super couch stretch:
- Face away from the couch, bring one foot back and place your toes on the couch.
- Lower yourself down into the lunge position.
- Scoot back until you rear lower leg is vertical or you feel a moderate stretch.
Hold for one minute per side. Keep your chest up throughout.
Deep squat stretch:
- Sit down facing a wall.
- Put your feet against the wall at shoulder width and get your butt as close to the wall as possible.
- Lay your back down onto the ground; you should now be mimicking a deep barbell or body weight squat.
- Reach your arms up toward the ceiling, then back and down so that they are resting on the floor.
- Try not to arch your lower back; bend your arms at the elbow if needed, to prevent this.
- Relax your hips allowing gravity to push your knees out and down.
Hold for 2 minutes, relaxing your hips as much as possible.
This is a tough one for most people. We all have busy schedules and other obligations and we understand that the gym is not the only thing in your life. However, a lack of sleep will definitely hurt your chances of hitting a new personal best. Optimally you would get 8 – 9 hours of sleep during the days leading up to your max lift(s), but that may be unrealistic for you, so we’re going to make a compromise. Do your best to sleep an extra hour each night for the three nights before max lift day.
Its, cheap, it’s easy, it’s very effective! Being dehydrated will severely affect your workout and recovery. In one study “participants were dehydrated by three percent before performing three sets to failure of the bench press, lat pull-down, overhead press, barbell curl, triceps press, and leg press. Another group performed the same routine, but properly hydrated. The researchers determined that total repetitions (all sets combined) were significantly lower when the participants were dehydrated, but subjects also perceived the exercises as more difficult, and they needed longer for their heart rates to recover.” What else do you need to know? Drink up!
How much water should you drink?
You should drink a minimum of one half ounce of water per pound of bodyweight. So if you weigh 180 pounds, you would need to drink a minimum of 90 ounces. The standard water bottle contains about 17 oz. of water, which means you would need a little over 5 bottles. Optimally you would get one ounce for each pound. Alternatively, you can just make sure your pee stays clear.
|Mobility||5 Min per day|
|Sleep||1 Extra hour per night|
|Hydration||½ oz per lb or keep pee clear|