You may not be too thrilled about pressing the heaviest weight you possibly can just to determine your training weight. Fortunately, there is a way to calculate your one-rep-maximum incline press without risking injury to your joints and muscles from lifting a weight that's too heavy. If you feel like Superwoman and want to press your max, you have that option. As an alternative, if you want to use your brain and a handy calculator, save your muscles for the workout and multiply your way to your one rep max.
Determining One Rep Maximum --Traditional Method
Slide weight plates onto the barbell for your freeweight incline press, or select a heavy weight amount on an incline press machine. Use an amount of weight that is significantly heavier than your training weight.
Ask someone to spot you during your freeweight incline press.
Press the weight one time -- you should feel completely fatigued. Increase the weight amount if you feel you can complete another repetition.
Record your one rep maximum, or rest for three to four minutes and press again with the heavier weight.
Complete the press using proper form and breathing techniques. If you are unable to complete the press, reduce the amount of weight, rest for three to four minutes, and try again.
Determining One Rep Maximum -- Calculation Method
Perform your incline bench press using a training weight that you are able to press between six and 10 times. Increase the weight amount if you can do more than 10 presses.
Multiply your training amount by 1.16 if you press the weight six times. For example, if you use 20 pounds and incline press the weight six times, your maximum training weight is 23.2 pounds.
Multiply the training amount by 1.20 if you press the weight seven times, 1.24 for eight repetitions, 1.29 for nine repetitions, and 1.33 for 10 repetitions.
- Calculating your maximum weight helps you train to see results. When you consistently lift a weight that is too light, you will not see the same toning and strengthening gains that you would if you pressed with a heavier weight. It is also a good way to determine a safe weight so you avoid injuries from lifting a weight that's too heavy.
- Prior to performing your max lift, warm up your muscles with five minutes of full-body movement such as walking, cycling, swimming or stair climbing. Use caution when increasing the load to determine your incline press maximum. Your muscles, joints and tendons require time to increase strength, so the formula option is better if you are new to strength training. Always check with your doctor regarding the safety of weight training for you.
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.