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I was going through this article in the benefits of rest-pause exercise and seen this recommendation which I need a bit of help to interpret.

New to rest-pause? Try this chest routine to ... 
Exercise                       Load     Sets        Reps/Rest(seconds)
Incline Bench Press            5RM       4          2/15-20, 2/15-20, 2/15-20, 2
Smith-Machine Bench Press      7RM       4          3/15-20, 3/15-20, 3/15-20, 3
Cable Crossover                --        3          15
Push-Up                        --        3          To Failure

I am quite familiar with the One-Rep-Max terminology but have a problem of understanding what 5RM as a load would mean. Is this the way to represent, per say, 50% of One-Rep-Max or ?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

5RM = 5 rep max. So, the heaviest weight that you can do 5 times, without re-racking the weight.

If you could have done it 6 times, then it wasn't your 5RM. There are several calculators online that can estimate given your 1RM.

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A common way to shorten one-rep-max is to use the label 1RM. The same goes for any number before the rep max. That means:

  • 1RM = 1 rep max
  • 5RM = 5 rep max
  • 7RM = 7 rep max

If you know your 1RM, but not your 5 or 7 RM you can figure it out a good number to use pretty easily. The most common formula used for calculating 1RM I've seen is acceptable for use up to 10 reps:

1RM = (W * R) / 30 + W

Where:

  • W = Weight
  • R = Reps

To make it a bit quicker, many programs/trainers use some common percentages:

  • 1RM = 100%
  • 3RM = 90%
  • 5RM = 85%

7RM comes out to somewhere around 80-81%.

Using those percentages, if you know your 3RM you can estimate your 1RM by dividing by the percent. If you know your 1RM you can estimate your 5RM by multiplying by 85%.

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XRM is your X rep max, or the maximum weight that you can lift X many times. I've found that above 1 or 2 the terminology gets fuzzier: a 1RM allows for some form degradation because the test is simply "can you lift it?", whereas a 5RM is often colloquially used to mean "can you do 5 reps with proper form?"

This program is telling you to pick a weight for incline bench press that you would normally be able to lift no more than five times. That will make two reps / miniscule rest / two more reps / another miniscule rest / two final reps very challenging but yet allow you to get a 'bonus' rep in above what would (without rest-pause) be a maximum of five reps.

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