Let’s get this cleared up – we actually DO test 1RM’s in class.
Just not for newbies, unless it’s in a tightly controlled and supervised setting.
(That’s where our lifting meets come in – every max attempt has numerous pairs of eyes on it, along with plenty of spotters for safety.
It’s just not feasible to have that level of control during a regular class with a bunch of people doing stuff simultaneously.)
So why not?
1. Newer peeps often don’t have the structural integrity, core strength, or skill to safely
handle a missed lift at max loading without someone watching them like a hawk.
2. New peeps have not developed the nervous system to the point where a true 1RM can even be displayed.
3. We can pretty accurately determine a hypothetical 1RM from a 5RM (for novices) or a 2RM (for intermediates).
4. Your 1RM’s don’t mean shit except for bragging rights. I had to learn this the hard way.
In CrossFit, and in training for your goals, the spectrum of strength endurance (5-20RM) means a lot more than single-effort strength.
(A lot of people with lower 1RM’s than me kept whooping my ass during the Open, and
it took me years to figure out why.
When I started training with an emphasis on volume instead of loading, lo and behold
I improved on all my WOD’s and placed closer to where I should in the Open.)
5. It’s a waste of training time on account of 1-4.
A 5RM test has a potent training effect for an athlete at any level.
However, a 1RM test is only meaningful for an advanced lifter.
Here’s the thing – you should test what you train.
To train for a 1RM test, you have to practice heavy sets of 1-3 reps to build nervous system efficiency.
This is not smart if your lifts aren’t at least intermediate-level (like repping out bodyweight on back squat).
You end up with a much higher risk of tweaking and/or injuring yourself because
you aren’t building up connective tissue and muscle mass
commensurate with your nervous system development.
You might notice with our programming, I have it designed so that novice-level folks
do more reps per set than intermediate-level, who in turn do more reps than advanced folks.
This is deliberate.
That’s how we adapt the program to different levels of advancement,
and our quarterly testing cycles are matched up to those levels.
So yes, you will eventually test 1RM’s in class.
But you have to EARN it.