Using a Load-Velocity Relationship to Predict One repetition maximum in Free-Weight Exercise: A Comparison of the Different Methods

J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Sep;33(9):2409-2419. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002550.


Hughes, LJ, Banyard, HG, Dempsey, AR, and Scott, BR. Using a load-velocity relationship to predict one repetition maximum in free-weight exercise: a comparison of the different methods. J Strength Cond Res 33(9): 2409-2419, 2019-The purpose of this study was to investigate the reliability and validity of predicting 1 repetition maximum (1RM) in trained individuals using a load-velocity relationship. Twenty strength-trained men (age: 24.3 ± 2.9 years, height: 180.1 ± 5.9 cm, and body mass: 84.2 ± 10.5 kg) were recruited and visited the laboratory on 3 occasions. The load-velocity relationship was developed using the mean concentric velocity of repetitions performed at loads between 20 and 90% 1RM. Predicted 1RM was calculated using 3 different methods discussed in existing research: minimal velocity threshold 1RM (1RMMVT), load at zero velocity 1RM (1RMLD0), and force-velocity 1RM methods (1RMFV). The reliability of 1RM predictions was examined using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and coefficient of variation (CV). 1RMMVT demonstrated the highest reliability (ICC = 0.92-0.96, CV = 3.6-5.0%), followed by 1RMLD0 (ICC = 0.78-0.82, CV = 8.2-8.6%) and 1RMFV (ICC = -0.28 to 0.00, CV = N/A). Both 1RMMVT and 1RMLD0 were very strongly correlated with measured 1RM (r = 0.91-0.95). The only method which was not significantly different to measured 1RM was the 1RMLD0 method. However, when analyzed on an individual basis (using Bland-Altman plots), all methods exhibited a high degree of variability. Overall, the results suggest that the 1RMMVT and 1RMLD0 predicted 1RM values could be used to monitor strength progress in trained individuals without the need for maximal testing. However, given the significant differences between 1RMMVT and measured 1RM, and the high variability associated with individual predictions performed using each method, they cannot be used interchangeably; therefore, it is recommended that predicted 1RM is not used to prescribe training loads as has been previously suggested.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematical Concepts*
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Resistance Training*
  • Weight Lifting
  • Young Adult