How Often Should I Test My Max?

One of the more frequent questions we receive from new and intermediate lifters is how often they should be testing their one rep max (1RM). I am going to briefly discuss what I feel are appropriate times for 1RM testing, and some errors I see some athletes commit when following structured programs. Simply put, it is my opinion that new athletes aren’t really in need of testing a 1RM for quite a long time, and even intermediate athletes do not need to test single maxes very frequently. I used to think that new and intermediate athletes should be testing a 1RM, as you can see in some of the older programs I have written. To me, new athletes don’t need to test 1RMs for a few reasons. The first reason is elementary: 1RMs do not really contribute to strength. For new and even some intermediate lifters, a 1RM amounts to little more than mental masturbation to make yourself feel better about what you are doing.

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