Someone asked me recently: “What do you bench, squat, deadlift?”
I’ve never understood the question about a single rep max because there are too many variables to make a comparison worthwhile from one person to another. For the squat, off the top of my head – are you doing them high bar or low bar? Do you wear a belt? Do you wrap your knees? How deep do you go at the bottom? How wide is your stance?
I also don’t get the point of a 1RM. It doesn’t build muscle – six reps is the absolute minimum for creating your beach body. For maximizing power, five reps is the recommendation from Starting Strength. Unless you’re a competition-level strongman, I’m sure a max lift also means you’ve compromised proper form.
What is most alarming about lifting this way, however, is the way you open yourself up to injury, either now or through accumulated wear and tear.
I remember seeing a video on Twitter that was filmed in a college football team’s weight room. The guy in the squat rack was surrounded by a dozen teammates hollering encouragement, and his solid lift of at least 400 lbs down and up set off a celebration around the athlete.
In the replies below, someone wrote: “You’re going to regret that someday, young man.”
This reply reminded me of a quote from 16th century Frenchman Henri Estienne. Now, however, it’s applicable to the gym: “Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait.” (If youth only knew, if age only could.)