Download 1RM Spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is meant to be a quick way to evaluate your current strength capacity for the purposes of giving you a quick snapshot of where you stand so you can make educated and sound decisions about your training. Specifically, there are two main functions to help you along.
First, the spreadsheet evaluates your main barbell powerlifting movements to that of your theoretical max. The theoretical max is based on your biological sex, height, and maximum muscular capacity derived from anthropomorphic research taken from strength records prior to the mass introduction of steroids – mainly before 1950. Using that data set we can make sure that the potentials are based on records that one can reach naturally and as such are a good base case in which to derive insights from for our own training.
Second, we’ll take a look at the efficiency of a specific movement. Efficiency is calculated by taking your current 1RM and divide it by your theoretical 1RM. This is important to know from a programming perspective so we can decide if we should work on the neural aspect and focus on movement practice and skill acquisition or should we focus on the muscle mass aspect and build a bigger and more robust muscular frame. Obviously, these two are not mutually exclusive but we can design programs to emphasize one or the other.
The rest of this article will simply give an overview of each segment of the spreadsheet.
To get started, you’ll need the following:
- Current RM for Squat, Deadlift, and Bench Press. Preferably between 2RM and 8RM.
- Current bodyweight.
- Current body fat percentage estimate. An approximate estimate will suffice for this.
- A measuring tape. You will need to know the circumference of your ankle and wrist at the narrowest point.
Once have all those, simply plug all the numbers into the yellow cells.
There are 7 levels for each movement. This is a very general approximation of a movement strength when comparing to a general population of individuals who follow linear strength training programs primarily around barbell training.
Theoretical 1RM Max
This is approximately what your body could physically lift for that movement. This is where the top .01% of powerlifter lift in competitions for people of the same height and frame as you.
This is a fun one. If your movement efficiency for a particular movement is below 80% then much of your programming should focus on high-frequency training for that movement. From a practical programming perspective, this means that if you are under 80% efficiency for a movement, your programming should focus on an accumulation of total work where volume incrementally goes up over time in a predictable way. This will look like a beginner to intermediate strength program (Starting Strength, Texas Method, etc) coupled with accessory training that increases TUT (Time Under Tension).
As one starts moving past 80% it means that getting closer to their theoretical max has less to do with volume accumulation and more to do with sport-specific rep ranges in the 1-3RM range. This comes down to seeking for performance by focusing on neural efficiency for the three primary lifts.