What is a PR in the Gym? QUICK Answer! (2023)


Have you ever asked yourself, “what is a PR in the gym”? You are at the right place because today I’m going to explain all there is to know about it.

Most people who exercise regularly do it because they want to look great physically. But why not get something else out of it besides looking good?

You should try to set new personal records in your workouts for many reasons. Here are just a few: It will make you feel fantastic. It will help you achieve your fitness goals faster. It will increase your confidence. It will boost your self-esteem. It will motivate you to push harder. It will help you lose weight.

Are you excited? Do you want to unlock your true potential in the gym? Keep on reading.

What is a PR in the Gym?

Many guys ask themselves. What are PRs in the gym, or what is a PR in working out?

Let me explain.

PR isn’t unique; it’s another way to describe what people call “your best lift.” This term is used for both strength training and bodybuilding.

Your personal record or PR is the maximum weight you’ve ever lifted for the parameters and several reps. People often toss around the acronym when talking about big lifts. They’ll say something like, “He hit his PR today!” or “He crushed her PR yesterday!” I’ll explain precisely what those abbreviations stand for.

The meaning of PR in gyms is pretty much the same whether you are doing squats, bench presses, deadlifts, body weight exercises, lunges, rows, pull-ups, push-ups, burpees, kettlebell swings—you name it.

Still, we’re here to address the question, “What does PR mean in weightlifting?”

PR stands for Personal Record or your best lift. You can use it to talk about any kind of workout, including cardio, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, bodybuilding, CrossFit, etc.

Here are some ways PR is used in the gym:

For example, you’ve never bench-pressed anything heavier than 195 lbs for one repetition. If you could lift a weight of 200 lbs for one repetition, that would be a brand-new personal record.

You can do, for example, five reps of 160 lbs on the bench press. After one month, you can perform six repetitions at 160 lbs; that would be your new personal record (PR).

Approaching your workout this way will lead to immense muscle growth as well. (hypertrophy)

A PR in the gym describes when you lift more weight than you did before or when you complete more repetitions with the same weight as your previous maximum number of repetitions.

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Why Are PRs Important?

PRs are important because they help to keep us progressing in our fitness journey. If we stop lifting heavier weights altogether, our progress will slow down. So, whenever we lift heavier weights, our muscles become bigger and stronger.

This process is called “progressive overload.” Progressive overload is one of the most effective ways to build muscle and strength. It’s the main reason why people gain size and strength during the off-season.

When we set a new PR, we’re essentially saying, “I want to push my limits further than I’ve ever done!” You see, plateaus happen. When we hit a plateau, we start getting bored with our workouts. Our body doesn’t feel challenged enough to adapt to the new demands.

At this stage, we’d instead do nothing than train harder. But, if we continue to push ourselves, we’ll eventually break out of the rut and reach a new level of performance. And that’s what makes PRs so powerful. They motivate us to continue pushing our limits.

How To Improve Your PR In the Gym

You’ve worked out consistently for months but haven’t seen much progress. At some point, you’re going to hit a plateau—a period where you don’t see much improvement in your fitness levels, and the maximum weight of that bench press stays the same.

This happens because you’re hitting a certain level of muscle growth, and once you reach that plateau, you won’t see any further gains. So what do you do?

There are four main areas you can focus on to push yourself beyond your current limits. These include strength, endurance, power, and speed.

Strength refers to how much weight you lift; endurance refers to how long you can hold a position; power refers to how fast you move, and speed refers to how quickly you complete movements. You usually see improvements across all four categories when you improve one area.

Here are four ways to boost your performance and break through the plateaus you encounter along the way:

1. Eat More Calories

To build muscle mass and strength, you must increase your calorie intake. But what number do you need to consume every day? To find out, we looked at studies that compared people who consumed different amounts of daily calories while lifting weights. 

My average calorie intake would be around 2300 calories per day. I would add 500 calories in the bulking stage to gain strength and muscle. That said, I even know guys that double their calorie intake to get bigger and stronger.

It’s very personal. What do you want to achieve.? How is your body composition? Activity level, metabolic rate, etc.

2. Monitor Your Progress

If you feel good about your workout routine and diet but want to see where you can improve, track specific numbers. Writing things down makes it easier to eliminate any guesswork and verify whether you’re hitting your target.


You can keep an eye on your progress by writing down everything you eat and drink in a journal or app. Keep track of your weight and the number of repetitions for each exercise every week so you know if you’re making any progress.

You can track your nutritional intake by downloading an app like MyFitnessPal. Simply input the food you ate into the app, and it automatically calculates your daily calorie and macronutrient breakdown.

3. Do Sets With Low Reps

The number one mistake people make when trying to gain muscle mass is doing too many sets with high reps. Performing sets with heavy weights and fewer repetitions is best if you want to build muscle.

This allows your muscles to grow without overworking them. Research suggests that performing just four sets per exercise with moderate reps (3-6) leads to more significant gains in size compared to six sets with lighter loads.

If you usually do 8-10 reps max, try to add some weight so your max reps will be 4-5 reps.

If you’re looking to pack on some serious muscle, start by picking three compound movements—squats, Romanian deadlifts, bench presses, pullups, rows, overhead presses, pushups, lunges, and dips—and focus on building up your total volume.

These compound exercises are very popular in bodybuilding.

4. Be Consistent

Whatever your goals are, you have to bring consistency to the table. It sounds simple, but it is essential. If you plan your fitness journey well, staying motivated and consistent is easier. Plan well, set goals, and don’t forget to have fun.


Many people may think these two things are synonymous, but they’re not.

Let’s take a quick look at the two side by side:

PR: Your PR is the heaviest weight you’ve ever lifted or the highest number of repetitions you’ve performed at a certain weight.

1RM: Your one-repetition maximum (1RM) is the heaviest weight you can lift now for one repetition without any assistance.

Your 1RM is the heaviest weight you can lift for one repetition. Your PR covers both past and current periods. You can use your PR for one or more reps.

Here is where it might get a bit confusing:

Don’t attempt a 1RM (one rep maximum) frequently. If you’re going to attempt a 1RM lift, then you may want to try for it just once per macrocycle. In the meantime, you can increase your reps in the range of 3-6, which still leads to strength and power gains.

One rep maximum lifts (1RM) are more geared toward competitive lifting. Trying for a one-repetition maximum (1RM) in the gym could cause injury if done incorrectly. Be careful.

How To Warm Up For 1-RMs

Some guys neglect the importance of warming up before they set their new one-rep max. For example, on an average training day, you should spend 10–15 minutes warming up, followed by some light aerobic exercise, dynamic stretches, and a few activations.

On a day you want to set one or more 1-RMs, You should spend between 30 minutes and one hour warming up, allowing for ample time to get into the right state of mind: energized and warmed up enough to perform well but not too pumped up that I’m unable to focus. 


Comparing Personal Records in a Gym vs. Competition Settings

The main difference between a Gym Personal Record (PR) and a Competitor Personal Record (PR) is that a Gym PR is based on the best performance achieved for a particular exercise within the confines of a single gym, while a Competitor PR is based on the best performance achieved for the same exercise within a competitive environment.

A Gym PR is generally viewed as a measure of personal progress and improvement, while a Competitor PR is viewed as a measure of how one compares to other competitors.

FAQs Corner:

On which lifts should I try a PR?

You usually track your one rep maximum (1RM) with compound lifts like squats, benches, and deadlifts. You could always max out on any workout, but a 1RM test on the calve raise doesn’t tell you anything about your fitness level.

Is it necessary to increase my PR to improve my health & fitness?

Increasing your personal record (PR) is one of the best ways to boost your strength and muscle mass. But while increasing your PR is an effective way to build muscle, it’s not always necessary.
The key is knowing what type of training program works best for you. If your goal is to lose fat, burn calories, or maintain muscle, you’ll want to focus on different types of exercises.

It is good to know what your PR or your 1-RMs is because usually, you can do your regular workout session on 60-70% of your one rep weight. You should be able to do 8-12 reps which means that you are developing a lean, muscular body.

For instance, if you are trying to shed pounds and build lean muscle mass, you might find yourself doing more reps per set, resting shorter between sets, and lifting lighter weights. 

Furthermore, some people prefer to exercise alone, while others enjoy exercising with their buddies. There are many different ways to train for a bodybuilding contest, a powerlifting competition, or to get fit.

On which lifts should I try a PR?

The question about how often you should try to lift a personal record (PR) is one of those questions that gets asked a lot. There are many different opinions on how often you should do it, ranging from every week to once a month.

On core powerlifting exercises, it’s not advisable to go for maximum repetitions very often because all-out effort takes a tremendous strain on your body and can quickly lead to overtraining.

To avoid injury, you should perform one rep max (1RM) strength training session no more than once per month. And take enough time off between attempts so you can fully recover from them.

You can attempt a PR more often when you try to hit a PR with a bodyweight exercise like a push-up ( quantity of reps). It’s less likely to overtrain or get injured by just pushing your body weight off the ground.

What does AMRAP mean?

AMRAP stands for “As Many Repetitions As Possible.” A technique that requires you to perform as many repetitions as possible with a given weight. It’s also used for determining your overall fitness level in different rep ranges.


if you’re very serious about improving your strength training, you should always strive to lift heavier weights than you did last week. This will increase your muscle mass and endurance levels, giving you better results overall.

To find your PRs, take note of the heaviest weight you could complete during each session. Then, when you come back next week, add five pounds. Repeat until you hit your goal.

And don’t get me wrong. It’s not all about the big numbers here. I used to set personal records weekly with my shoulder workouts when I returned from a shoulder injury. I was aiming for my own PRS. They were minor improvements, with light weights.

What are your PRs in the gym?

Please let me know in the comment section below.

Stay Healthy and Strong!





Meet Ezra, a former model and actor turned founder of GymTrends365. His no-BS approach to fitness helps men over 40 achieve their best shape. Ezra believes in empowering individuals to take control of their health and fitness through practical, sustainable methods. At GymTrends365, he's committed to providing the resources and support necessary to help everyone achieve their fitness goals.