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My friend's son benched 505 last week. He is a serious lifter, a hunk of granite. Going for your one-rep max in powerlifts (bench, squat, deadlifts) is not a great idea for us "functional fitness" people. There is no need at all to do it except as a feat. For general fitness, keeping powerlift reps in the 3-10 range is correct for heavier weights.
You can guess your one-rep max by extrapolating from your 3 or 4-rep max. I do not have a lifter build (have a runner's build), but I go for barbell deadlift one-reps about twice a year, just for kicks and to be stupid. I discovered that I can not deadlift 275 lbs this week - just up to my knees. Damn. I know a gal who deads 300 lbs. Strong, fit gal with no visible muscle mass. Perhaps I did not warm up for it right...
With the powerlifts, always warm up light and work up, usually 5 total sets with a good rest between sets. If you want to be stupid like me once in a while, How to Warm Up for a One-Rep Max
If you like to use a trap bar for deadlifts (I do, occasionally), you can move much more weight than with the barbell. I have never tried a one-rep max with the trap bar.
Below the fold, a few words on other, non-powerlift pure strength exercises -
There are many non-powerlifts to fit into the pure strength component of a fitness routine, but the 3 powerlifts are the core. For my age, each powerlift (and each strength exercise below) only really wants once/wk. After all, you are doing 2 hrs of calisthenics and maybe 2 hrs of cardio during the week too.
What are some other pure strength exercises that are worth doing 3 or 4 sets of each week for strength maintenance or improvement if you have time?
Overhead press Inclined bench Pull-ups and hangs, or pull-downs if you can't do pull ups Push ups (can be viewed as a calisthenic or a strength exercise) Dumbell Rows (and cable rows) Dips Farmer walks Skull-crushers Cable push-downs Curls (just for vanity) Dumbell shrugs Leg press
There are plenty more, but there is only so much time if you commit 2 or so hrs to pure strength/wk. Mix them up, but always the powerlifts.
Good call, Bird Dog. I have been back at it for about year but skip the one rep max... my regular workout looks a lot like it did 20 years ago with squats, deadlift and bench, but if I went for a one rep max I could see breaking something.
Most of the cable exercises (rows, pull downs, push downs) can be done with a flat bar, with a close grip handle, or with a rope that clips onto the cable, all good ways to switch it up. I am partial to using the rope attachment for a few sets as it builds grip strength, which is useful for house and yardwork, hobbies like sailing, and also for making weight lifting itself a little simpler. It's wise to start a bit light with the rope grip, as gripping really hard can cause tendinitis. [He said sadly, as if reflecting on a great mistake in his own life...]
Bent over dumb bell rows, shoulder presses from kneeling position, thrusters which is a squat while holding two dumb bells at shoulder height then push the DBs straight up when returning to upright position. Engage your glutes and abs on all of these exercises. Squats, Squats, Squats - use a dumb bell, KB, bar in front or back - just do squats. It's the King of Exercise.