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One Rep Max – How Much Should You Lift Based Upon Your Weight

how much weight to lift

The one-repetition max determines your strength and maximum power. You use it to determine how much weight to lift during a workout.  Everyone wants to know how much weight they should lift. The best exercise to test upper body strength is the bench press. You can determine how much weight you should lift by multiplying your weight by a rate. These rates come from comparing many people and elite athletes over time. When beginning a weightlifting program, you must know how much you can lift (your one-repetition max).

Your one repetition max on the bench press based upon your weight:

  1. below average:  .75 x weight
  2. average: 1.0 x weight
  3. above average: 1.5 x weight
  4. superior: 2.0 x weight
  5. elite: 3.0 x weight

Look at the table below to understand how much weight you must lift to build massive muscles and Power.

One Rep Maximum*

Number of Reps

Percent of 1-RM





















The optimal rest time between sets is one minute to build muscle. The rest time is where some people fail miserably.

Here are two benchmarks to consider:

Nate Sandoval holds the state of Florida high school record for 183 pounds in the bench press. He bench-pressed 410 pounds. If you take 410 pounds and divide it by 183 pounds, you get a rate of 2.24. Nate Sandavol is a superior weightlifter because the superior rate is 2.0, and his rate is 2.24.

Ricky Wells holds the world record for 181 pounds in the bench press. He bench-pressed 556 pounds. If you take 556 pounds and divide it by 181 pounds, you get a rate of 3.07. An elite weightlifter can lift 3 times his weight. Ricky Wells is an elite weightlifter because the elite rate is 3.0, and his rate is 3.07.

In summary, your one-repetition max is based upon your weight and determined by your genetics, age, experience, and diet.

The real question is how much can you lift with hard work, proper training, and a weightlifter’s diet. Strength is something you can build. If you are a beginner, start with the basics: squat, military press, deadlift, and bench press. Aim for your body weight as a goal for the bench press.

Larger muscles like the legs lift more while smaller muscles like the shoulders lift less. The bench press has always been the measure to test a person’s strength. The NFL, during its combines, uses the bench press to test the strength of rookies before the NFL Draft. With hard work and determination, you can lift your weight and more.