There's a time and place for testing your 1-rep max or "PR" in the foundational lifts. Aside from the feeling of satisfaction that comes with getting stronger, it also gives you a number to base you percentages on if you're following a well-designed, periodized program (which you should be).
Unfortunately, too many lifters become obsessed with PRs, to the exclusion of many beneficial rep schemes, as well as training, mobility and recovery modalities that can have an even greater impact on your performance -- without the injury risk.
This outstanding resource from Dr. John Rusin explains why balancing your strength program with multi-rep PRs, density training and improved recovery and mobility strategies can pay big dividends -- AND keep you injury free.
Check it out here: "4 Ways To Get Strong & Stay Healthy Without Lifting More Weight."
Here's an example of an outstanding strength exercise we utilize at Max Velocity Fitness + Performance: the Landmine Goblet Squat.
This is an excellent exercise for building leg strength while also reprogramming your squat pattern to improve ankle dorsiflexion and posture. And believe me, it beats loading a dysfunctional squat pattern with a new PR just so you can post on Facebook that you did it. Your lumbar spine and meniscus will thank you.
At Max Velocity, we test 1-rep maxes a few times a year. But when we do, we utilize an approach called a "Pure PR." This is the most weight you can lift for one rep with perfect posture and mechanics. Think about it: What good is a new PR if it sidelines you for a month with a herniated disk?
We also perform a Functional Movement Screen on every client who comes through our doors to sign up for 1x1 or Small-Group Personal Training. This way, we identify movement deficiencies, flexibility and stability issues and patterning deficits BEFORE the client starts training. The movement screen is free, and includes a customized corrective exercise program -- so you can re-pattern your movement, as opposed to adding more weight to a dysfunctional pattern.
Try some of these safe strength-building techniques and let us know in the comments how they work for you. And if you'd like to schedule your free Functional Movement Screen and Body Composition Scan, you can do that ===> right here.