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J Sci Med Sport. 2012 Jan;15(1):69-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2011.07.002. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

Reliability of the 8-repetition maximum test in men and women.

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  • 1University of Central Arkansas, Department of Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy Center, Conway, AR 72035, USA.



The 8-repetition maximum test has been recommended as a method of prescribing an intensity for resistance training in healthy adults, athletes, and patients with health conditions. Yet, limited research related to the reliability of 8-repetition maximum testing has been conducted. The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability of the 8-repetition maximum test in men and women.


Test-retest reliability study.


Twenty-eight people (14 males, 14 females, mean age=23.0 years [standard deviation=1.3]) with no exercise contraindications participated in this study. After familiarization, each participant underwent 8-repetition maximum testing using 4 different exercises. For all participants, the 8-repetition maximum test was performed during 2 sessions with 2-3 days between sessions. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC([1,2])), typical error as the coefficient of variation (TE(CV)), and the Bland-Altman plot were used to assess reliability. Unpaired t-test was used to determine the influence of gender on differences between initial test and retest values.


Excellent reliability of the 8-repetition maximum test was found for all exercises (ICC([1,2])>0.9). The range of TE(CV) values was 3.4-10.4%. The Bland-Altman plot illustrated that 27 out of 28 data points for total 8-repetition maximum scores were within the 95% limits of agreement. Unpaired t-test indicated no significant difference between men and women in variations between initial test and retest 8-repetition maximum scores.


The findings of this study suggest that an 8-repetition maximum test protocol that includes familiarization is reliable in men and women.

Copyright © 2011 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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