Coaching and ServicesPersonal Training / Fitness Programming How to Use Rep Max Assessments in Your Clients’ Training

how to use rep max assessments

Assessing your clients’ strength is imperative in progressing them safely and appropriately. Especially for online trainers who aren’t there in person as they complete their workouts. It’s also useful to measure success and keep your clients motivated. The scale isn’t always the best indicator of progress when building muscle. By adding in rep max assessments, your clients can understand how much progress they are making. Plus, you can use the information in building their training program. Rep max assessments are a great way to assess strength gains over time, but there are different tests based on the clients’ goals and fitness level. 

Types of Rep Max Assessments

There are different types of assessments based on your clients’ unique goals and abilities, including a 1 RM, 3 RM, 5 RM and 10 RM test. The 1 RM test is designed to understand your clients’ maximum strength, so their ability to do a single rep. Usually, a client would warm up by doing a set at about half their strength (usually what they could do 10-12 reps in). Then, completing a set with a bit more weight (usually what they could perform five to six reps with). Finally, they will perform what they believe they can do one to two reps maximum.

Between each set, there should always be adequate rest to ensure they are prepared for the next set. Alternatively, a 10 RM set involves starting at a weight that is just about 50% of your max (so you should be able to do 10 reps comfortably, but definitely not 10 more). From there, you gradually add weight until you can no longer complete 10 reps. 3 RM and 5 RM are are in between and involve warming up at half their max and adding weight from there.

Which Clients Should I Use These Assessments With?

The 1 RM test is great for your advanced athletes, who may be training for a bodybuilding competition or another event. It could even be someone that is knowledgeable in strength training and simply wants to build muscle mass. The important thing here is to prescribe these tests to those who can do so safely on their own. Knowing they can perform the exercise with proper form is essential. Further, they should have someone else there to watch them during the test.

Alternatively, the 10 RM test may be a better option for any clients that are beginners or may simply be more interested in general weight loss/fitness. This way, they can still test their strength while remaining safe and comfortable on their own. 

The 3 RM and 5 RM test are a great way to test clients that are more familiar with strength assessments. You could test using the 10 RM assessment to start, and then gradually test them on three and five reps later in their program. Typically, a lower rep count during assessments is going to more accurately represent their one rep strength. This allows you as a trainer to interpret their results from a lower rep count. Therefore, you’ll have a more accurate estimate of what their 1 RM strength is. 

How to Implement Into Client Training Program

Rep max testing is a great way to assess strength and progress! Be sure you schedule these assessments regularly. Typically every four to six weeks is ideal, depending on the training program you build for them. By using these strength assessments, your clients have another measurement to understand their progress and stay motivated! And an added bonus? You have another tool to advance them appropriately. 

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