how to build to your 1rm

The Basic Principles


  • Make informed decisions, not predictive decisions. Check your recent records and use your current performance to guide your planning. When making decisions during lifting, don’t use the perception of effort to determine what will happen in the next ones. Let your movement and technique be the facts on which you base your decisions.
  • Find your three numbers. Make sure that you are as emotionally ready as you are physically ready. Check this video to help you here.
  • Moderate and small jumps. Before your get to the 90% zone, perform moderate jumps of 5% at most. Once you get to the upper zne, keep the jumps small t 3% at most.
  • Claim your 1% gain. Always claim your 1% gain. If you are worried that you will lose energy and not have enough oomph to get a 105%, you will not get it no matter what. Get your 101%, always. If the number you think you should get is higher than 101%, get 101% and then get that other number.


the numbers for a 1RM test


Set 1: 5 reps at 70%

Set 2: 3 reps at 75%

Set 3: 2 reps at 80%

Set 4: 1 rep at 85%

Set 5: 1 rep at 90%

Set 6: 1 rep at 95%

Set 7: 1 rep at 98%

Set 8: 1 rep at 101%

Set 9: 1 rep at ?

Set 10:?


rest 2-3 minutes between sets

all percentages are based of your recent max. Don’t estimate over your recent max.



the numbers for a 3RM test


Set 1: 5 reps at 70%

Set 2: 3 reps at 75%

Set 3: 2 reps at 80%

Set 4: 1 reps at 83%

Set 5: 1 reps at 85%

Set 6: 1 reps at 87%

Set 7: 3 reps at 90%

Set 8: 3 reps at 93%

Set 9: ?


rest 2-3 minutes between sets

all percentages are based on your recent 1RM. Don’t estimate over your recent max.



the numbers for a 5RM test


Set 1: 3 reps at 70%

Set 2: 3 reps at 75%

Set 3: 3 reps at 80%

Set 4: 3 reps at 83%

Set 5: 5 reps at 85%

Set 6: 5 reps at 87%

Set 7: ?


rest 2-3 minutes between sets

all percentages are based on your recent 1RM. Don’t estimate over your recent max.




If you liked this post, you will love these…

Nutrition is messy

I want to bring a tiny bit of clarity to this messy mess called nutrition. Because the most common question I get is about what is a vegetable and what is not, today I’ll share with you an easy way t…

Embrace your Complexity

It is so easy to underestimate us, humans. It is easy to see the negative impacts we have had in this world as a sign of lack or that there is something intrinsic evil in us. It is easy to fall for th…

Stay Active

No matter what. I could drop the mic there and leave. But I will not. Get this. Your brain does not function as well when you are inactive. You are not as productive and your thinking is not as sharp.…

Two Brains: Short Term vs. Long Term

Somebody more intelligent than me pointed that we never fully understand anything. What we do is we go one step back in the line of causality. That step back gives a sense of ease and brings us calm. …

How to do alcohol

Sometimes I like to complicate easy things. The answer to “How to do alcohol?” is simple: like the nice human in the picture below, on a horse at the beach and with style. Done! Okay, okay, alcohol is…

My Two Main Principles in Fitness and Nutrition

The Strong Story Hypothesis states that the mechanism that enables us to tell, understand, and recombine stories is what separates us, humans, from primates. In other words that storytelling is what m…