What Is a PR in Lifting? 4 Types of PR’s You Need to Know

If you’re new to lifting or have just started getting serious about it, you’ve probably stumbled across the term PR. 

So what is a PR in lifting?

When I first started lifting I had no idea what a PR was, so don’t feel discouraged.

Today we’re going to discuss what a PR is in lifting, and several types of PR’s that you will probably come across in your lifting career, so keep reading to get the gains – in lifting knowledge!

What is a PR in Lifting – A Basic Overview

A PR in lifting simply stands for personal record. Lifters really like tracking their PR’s because it’s a great way of seeing their progress.

A PR in lifting is not only a good way for you to see your progress, but to show other people as well! It’s inspiring to see somebody lifting as much as they can and pushing their body to the limit. 

Another term that is similar to a PR in lifting is the term “PB”. No, we’re not talking about Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches, PB stands for personal best. This term is generally used for runners and cyclists than lifters. 

Different Types of PRs in Lifting

There are a couple different types of PR’s in lifting that most people like to use. 

PR’s for Repetition

When you ask anybody what is a PR in lifting, almost everybody thinks of the most weight they can possibly lift one time. 

The second most popular type of PR is repetition – such as benching 135lbs for 15 reps when your previous best number of reps was 10. That’s a good PR!

Another type of PR with repetition is increasing weight at a certain set of reps. An example of this is benching 135 for 10 reps last week, and this week benching 145lbs for 10 reps. That’s another good lifting PR!

One Rep Max (1RM)

One Rep Maxes are a little tricky because most people think that a one rep max and a PR are the same thing, but they’re not always identical. 

My PR for deadlift is 408lbs. However, I took a year off from lifting, and now the most I can deadlift, or my one rep max is currently 350lbs. My PR is still 408, but my 1RM since I took a year off is lower.

Most of the time for new lifters their 1RM will be the same as their PR since they progress so fast, but for more advanced lifters or for lifters getting back into it, their 1RM and their PR can vary. 

PR’s for Volume

Another type of PR that you can hit in the gym is a volume PR.

A volume PR is when you lift the most volume you’ve ever done on an exercise. To calculate your volume, you take the weight lifted multiplied by the reps and rounds you’ve done.

For example, hitting a new volume PR could be benching 100lbs for 5 reps and 3 rounds, giving a total volume of 1500lbs, or could be benching 50lbs for 10 reps for 4 rounds, which would be a volume PR of 2000lbs.

What Is a PR in Lifting, Volume Formula

What Is a PR in Lifting When Training With RPE’s

A lot of people like lifting with RPE’s, which stands for rate of perceived exertion. They basically measure how hard a set of lifts are, based on a scale of 1-10. 

RPE’s may seem tricky, but they’re actually really simple. If you’re lifting at an RPE of 10, no matter if you’re lifting the weight once or ten times, it means you can’t possibly lift another single rep. An RPE of 8 means you could do two more reps, and so on.

Lifting at an RPE of 10 means you’re lifting at your max, and as we discussed earlier lifting at your max doesn’t always mean that you’re lifting a PR.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what a PR is in lifting and how much fun they are to achieve, here’s a word of caution.

It’s not a good idea to try to lift a PR very often. They put a big strain on your body, and can possibly injure you and delay your training. 

New lifters should be especially cautious with PRs because it’s easy for the muscles to grow faster than tendons when you’re just starting off, putting an unreasonable amount of strain on your tendons.

As with anything in lifting, take your PR’s seriously, keep them within reason, and as always happy lifting!

1 thought on “What Is a PR in Lifting? 4 Types of PR’s You Need to Know”

  1. I love this! I was always wondering what PR stands for and i was confused when people talked about it in different ways. Thanks for clearing it up i can now work twords new PRs.


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