Heavy lifting involves training with heavier weights so that you can lift large volumes of weight for a duration of one to five reps. This kind of training produces strength, endurance and power. Lifting heavy also improves our efficiency, or how economical we are while running. Running a given speed with less effort allows us to push the envelope during races, train at a higher level, and ultimately improve our portfolio of personal records.
Heavy lifting usually means lifting about 75-80% of our 1RM. We find our 1RM (the most weight we can lift safely for one repetition) then we perform 4-5 reps for 4-5 sets with a one minute rest between sets. Rest 2:00 before going to the next exercise.
Finding the proper weight to use is important and should be taken seriously. Use the guide below to find your one rep max if you are just adding heavy lifting to your routine and have not determined your one max rep in the past of it is has been a while since you picked up heavier weights.
One you determine your ORM you will then find 75-80% of that ORM to start using for your heavy lifting.
A repetition maximum (RM) is the most weight you can lift for a defined number of exercise movements. For example, a 10RM would be the heaviest weight you could lift for 10 consecutive exercise repetitions. Your RM is a good measure of your current strength level as you follow your weight training program. This means you should keep a record of your one max rep in the beginning of the program then you can test it throughout and at the end of the program to see your progress.
One-Repetition Maximum or 1RM
Repetition maximum is often expressed as 1RM, one-repetition maximum or ORM. This indicates the heaviest weight you can lift with maximum effort in a single repetition.
The 1RM measurement is a standard in weight training for marking improvement. By establishing your 1RM and tracking it, you are able to observe your progress. It is a precise measure which will you give you positive reinforcement and a sense of accomplishment as you see improvements.
How to Safely Test Your 1RM
While 1RM is a very useful tool, it does have limitations. Measuring your 1RM is not simply a matter of grabbing the biggest weight and performing a rep. By definition, you will be stressing this muscle to its maximum and placing yourself at risk of an injury if you don’t do it correctly. You need to prepare to do it properly.
Before measuring your 1RM, perform a few warm-up reps of the exercise with no extra weight to get the muscle ready. A warmed-up muscle is far less likely to be injured. The warm-up may seem time-consuming, but it is essential.
Also, allow twenty-four hours of rest time for a muscle before performing a 1RM test. Don’t perform this test in the afternoon if you had a morning workout of the same muscle group.
Test Your 1RM: Step by Step
- Warm up with dynamic stretches and cardio activity for a minimum of minutes. (dynamic warm up + run first)
- Do six to 10 reps of your chosen move using a weight that’s about half of what you think your max will be. Then rest for at least one to two minutes.
- Increase the weight up to 80% of what you think your max might be. Do three reps, then rest for at least one minute.
- Add weight in approximately 10% increments and attempt a single rep each time, resting for at least one to two minutes in between each attempt.
- The maximum weight you can successfully lift, with good form and technique, is your 1RM.
RM in Exercise Instructions
You will see repetition maximum used in exercise instructions. For example, “three sets of 6RM lifts” would mean performing each exercise using the weight you can only lift with good form six times. You would perform all of the exercises and then repeat the sequence two more times (three sets total).
It is also common to see instructions for weights based on a percentage of 1RM, such as, “Six reps at 75% of 1RM.” If your 1RM is 20 pounds for that exercise, you would use 15 pounds of weight when following those instructions.
By using repetition maximum instead of defined weights, people of different abilities can use training instructions (one person would use 10-pound weights while another would use 30-pound weights, for example). They would each benefit from the training effect the exercise sequence was designed to produce. Plus, as you improve your strength, you can continue to use the same instructions using heavier weights.