If you’ve not lifted weights in a few years, you may be tempted to start off just a little below where you left off.

Well, DON'T.

You’re not here to compete against anyone other than yourself, what’s important is getting back into it, starting slowly and gradually increasing the weight as you get your strength back. No one enjoys getting injured, and the more you try and lift when getting back into things, the more likely you are to spend time unable to even work out; so, leave your ego checked at the door.

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With that out of the way, here’s a safe way to figure out how much your new potential 1rep max – or how much weight you can lift for a certain exercise. This formula accurately predicts your best lift from a sub-maximal effort, which is what you should use instead of trying to do a 1RM attempt. Going for a max isn't the safest thing in the world, and this little equation gives us a "close enough" representation so you can plan your training.

Estimated 1 RM = Weight x Reps x 0.0333 + Weight

Let’s say you bench 225 x 6, your 1RM then is

225 x 6 x 0.0333 + 225 = 270lbs!


If this formula seems familiar, then you must know Jim Wendler and his awesome 5/3/1 program. One thing neither Jim, nor us at Major Fitness recommend however is going straight to your power rack and immediately trying to bench 270… BUT we do recommend using “Percent Max” for training. Allowing you to safely get back into weightlifting.

So here’s our checklist:

  • Calculate your hypothetical 1RM with the following:
    Estimated 1 RM = Weight x Reps x 0.0333 + Weight
  • Start with compound lifts. Compound lifts are exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time. Examples of compound lifts include squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press.
  • Focus on form. It's important to maintain good form when lifting weights. This will help you avoid injuries and get the most out of your workouts.
  • Be patient. It takes time to get strong. Don't get discouraged if you don't see results immediately. Just keep working hard and you will eventually reach your goals.

If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to talk to a certified personal trainer. They can help you create a safe and effective workout plan.

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