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1RM Warmup Calculator

Calculate your ideal warmup weights to do before you attempt a 1RM. WIth intuitive plate-specific rounding for easier barbell friendly increments, this is the perfecet tool to set a new PR!

Pro tip: Save this web page to your phone home screen for quick access during your workouts!

1RM warmup calculator

Enter the weight you expect to lift for your first 1RM attempt. The calculator will return your ideal warmup progression including repetitions and rest times. Minimum barbell weight = 40kg/lbs.

A guide to using the 1RM warmup calculator

This calculator is designed to help you quickly select the ideal warmup protocol when preparing for a one rep max (1RM) attempt in exercises like the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

This calculator doesn't have to be only for 1RM attempts, use the same approach to  find your perfect warmup for regular training, just ender your working set weight and find a smooth ramped warmup,

  1. Enter an approximate first 1RM attempt: Start by inputting a weight close to your first one rep max attempt. It doesn't have to be exact, but just like in a powerlifting meet, your first attempt should be an easy win, pick a weight that you could definitely do 2 reps with, maybe even 3, you can always go up for attempts 2 & 3.
  2. Select units and equipment type: Choose between kilograms (kg) or pounds (lbs) and specify the equipment you'll be using—barbell, dumbbell, or machine. The calculator tailors the warm-up sets based on your selection.
  3. Review your personalized warmup protocol: The calculator provides a series of warm-up sets with specific weights, reps, and rest periods. These are calculated as percentages of your entered 1RM and are rounded to practical lifting weights for more efficient plate loading.

1RM tests on dumbbells and machines

Traditionally 1RM testing is done with compound movements involving a barbell, however testing a 1, 3 or 5 RM on dumbbell lifts or machines/cables is still possible. This calculator has modifications to accomodate those lifts.

If the loads provided do not match the increments available to you, feel free to round up or down to find an appropriate load.

  • Barbell: For barbell lifts, the first warmup set is fixed at the empty bar, if your barbell is not exactly 20kg / 45lbs, simply use the empty bar instead, whatever the weight.
  • Dumbbell/Machine: Excludes the empty bar set and will suggest a shorter warmup protocol to accommodate the nature of these equipment types, making the warm-up more efficient and targeted.

1RM safety

1RM tests should only be conducted by experienced lifters with proper equipment, coaching and spotting. While testing a 1RM is the most accurate way to know your strength levels, velocity based training devices and apps can accurately estimate your 1RM without having to complete an actual 1RM, saving you time, stress and allowing you to test more regularly without the fatiguing effect of an actual 1RM.

Learn more about barbell velocity tracking and alternative approaches to 1RM testing here →

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