Working out and staying fit is the newest trend. And as far as trends go, this one is pretty great for you. So, when you’re jumping on the wagon of staying fit and going to the gym and all, you must have heard a lot of workout jargon here and there. If you’re into weightlifting then one of these was probably PR. So, what’s a PR in lifting?
PR means personal record. Referring to your best or heaviest weights for whatever particular lift you are performing. Whether it be doing squats or bench or even deadlifts, your PR could be the best of anything that you’ve been doing workout-wise. You can keep track of your progress and get motivation.
But how exactly do you use PR in designing your workout and what’s the point of keeping track of your PR? Well depending on your routine, the answer might vary. Let’s see all there is to know about PR for beginners.
There are different ways to calculate and keep track of your PR. You can make up a new method that works for you as well if you are the only one using it. But usually, there are mainly 3 ways of measuring PR. These include 1RM, Repetition, and Volume.
Rep PR or repetition PR is a way of measuring PR using the number of repetitions that you can complete for any given exercise at a particular weight. This means you can reach new PRs without having to increase the weight. This makes it much easier to achieve your goals.
For example, if normally you could do 260 squats for 8 reps, and one day you managed to squat for 2 more reps, i.e., 260 for 10, then this means you’ve reached a new rep PR. The great thing about using a rep PR is that you can set different PRs for each weight and have multiple goals to overcome.
Volume PRs are perhaps the easiest to achieve, but not that common among weightlifters.
To calculate your volume PR all you do is multiply the number of sets, reps, and weight. That is your volume.
The great thing about this technique is that you can introduce different varieties of increases in your routine while still having a standard PR to compare your results to. Let me clear things with an example.
Suppose you usually deadlift using 135 pounds for 5 sets of 5. This puts your volume at 3375 pounds.
But today, you’re feeling energetic and you decide to up your game. You increase the weight to 145 pounds but only on the fifth set. You keep everything else the same. This would increase your volume to 3425 pounds.
Maybe you could increase your volume by using 135 pounds for 3 sets and then 145 for the other two. This way it’s much easier to reach new PRs.
This is the most widespread way of calculating or tracking PR. 1RM means 1 Rep-Max and it refers to the maximum weight you lift in a single turn for any given exercise. For example, if the heaviest you can bench press is 95 pounds, then your PR bench is 95 pounds.
There is a subtle difference between PR and 1RM, and 1RM isn’t necessarily a type of PR but they usually go hand in hand. A PR refers to one heavy lift while 1RM can generally mean all the heavy lifts you do within a single set.
You can calculate your RM in different ways as there are different charts and formulae, depending on your experience level. There are plenty of calculators online that will help you determine your 1RM.
You could very well do it yourself as well. For beginners, you should multiply your 5 rep weight to 1.15. This should give you your estimated 1RM value. For instance, if you can perform 10 reps using 300 pounds for bench press, this means your RM for bench press is 400.
But since there are so many factors to calculating your 1RM value and the formula does vary in many cases, it’s best to use an online calculator. There are also apps you can find to keep a record of this value regularly.
Hitting a new PR means you’re improving, and you can now lift heavier weights or do more repetitions than you could previously do. Like any other personal record, it means you’re getting better and it’s time to move on to even bigger goals.
This might mean different things to different people depending on where you are in your fitness journey. Especially if you are planning on competing on a more professional level, it could mean something entirely different to you.
But for the regular person, it’s usually a sign to increase your weights or reps. It means your body is now ready for more intensive sets. Try to slowly ease into new routines instead of trying to go out all out at once.
You will see that as a beginner you will be hitting new PRs almost every week. This is because beginners improve at a much faster rate and since you are starting from scratch even a small improvement is a big deal.
The more time you spend though, the harder it will be to reach new PRs. Experienced weightlifters often reach new PRs once in a year or so. You could even reach a plateau, i.e. not see any improvements even after repeating the routine lots of times.
That’s when you move on to different routines and exercises and introduce variety in your workout. You can then reach new PRs in different ways.
Having a Personal Record while you lift is a great way to motivate yourself and keep track of your progress. Especially for beginners, you will reach new records every day as you slowly improve. This gives you a sense of achievement and you can even share it with your friends on a group or a forum.
You can use PR anyway you like and for pretty much any type of workout routine that you do. For instance, if you hit 200 for the first time on your bench press, that is a PR for your bench press. Similarly, you will have different PRs for your squats or pull-ups or anything at all.
PR is also a standard of measurement in official competitions and shows. In case you are planning on taking part in a contest, chances are they will ask you what your PR is to gauge how much weight you can lift for any particular exercise.
Even if you aren’t planning on going pro, keeping track of your PR can benefit you personally as well. You can set challenges for yourself to reach a new PR every week or every month. With time, you also need to account for setting realistic goals. As you progress, you will usually reach new PRs less and less frequently.
This is why PR is great for beginners. They keep you hooked to the workout and have you reaching for newer heights. Since every single person has a different body and different needs and requirements, a PR is a great way to compare your results with your standards. It’s not wise to compare yourself with other bodybuilders, especially when it comes to lifting.
So next time your fitness-enthusiast buddies talk about this cool workout lingo, you won’t be left wondering “What’s a PR in lifting?”. You can join in on the conversation and show off your new PR as well.
Hope this article has properly explained any question you had on PR. Thanks for stopping by and good luck.
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