Preprint / Version 1

Maximal number of repetitions at percentages of the one repetition maximum

A meta-regression and moderator analysis of sex, age, training status, and exercise


  • James Nuzzo Edith Cowan University
  • Matheus Pinto Edith Cowan University
  • Kazunori Nosaka Edith Cowan University
  • James Steele Solent University



muscle endurance, one repetition maximum, relative endurance, repetitions to failure, strength-endurance


The maximal number of repetitions that can be completed at various percentages of the one repetition maximum (1RM) (REPS~%1RM relationship) is foundational knowledge in resistance exercise programming. The current REPS~%1RM relationship is based on few studies and has not incorporated uncertainty into estimations or accounted for between-individual variation. Therefore, we conducted a meta-regression analysis to estimate the mean and between-individuals standard deviation of number of repetitions that can be completed at various percentages of 1RM. We also explored if the REPS~%1RM relationship is moderated by sex, age, training status, and/or exercise. A total of 952 repetitions-to-failure tests, completed by 7,270 individuals in 450 groups from 266 studies, were identified. Study groups were predominantly male (66%), healthy (97%), <59 years of age (92%), and resistance-trained (60%). The bench press (42%) and leg press (14%) were the most commonly studied exercises. The REPS~%1RM relationship for mean repetitions and standard deviation of repetitions were best described using natural cubic splines and a linear model, respectively, with mean and standard deviation for repetitions decreasing with increasing %1RM. More repetitions were evident in the leg press than bench press across the loading spectrum, thus separate REPS~%1RM tables were developed for these two exercises. Analysis of moderators suggested little influences of sex, age, or training status on the REPS~%1RM relationship, thus the general main model REPS~%1RM table can be applied to all individuals and to all exercises other than the bench press and leg press. More data are needed to develop REPS~%1RM tables for other exercises.


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