How much do you bench bro? This has to be one of the most asked questions in the community of lifters. Certainly, lifting heavy weights on the bench press speaks volumes about your upper body pushing strength.
But are there any parameters that can give one an idea about whether the weight with which one is benching is good enough? This post is going to throw light on that matter. Let’s proceed to know more about that.
We are not being chauvinistic here, but it’s a fact that nature has made men physically stronger than women. The prime reason is that the amount of testosterone secreted in men is more than that in women.
So in the case of men, a bench press that equals their body weight would be considered good. However, if a man is capable of bench pressing around 1¼ times or 1½ times his body weight, he would fall in the category of an intermediate or advanced lifter respectively.
Talking about women, for beginner lifters bench pressing 0.65 times their body weight would be considered pretty decent. For intermediate and advanced women lifters, this number will increase up to 0.70 or 1 times their body weight.
Well, your training experience has to be the most crucial part in determining how much of a bench press would be considered good for you. After all, you cannot expect to bench press 225 lbs for 5 reps within a month if you are an absolute beginner.
In terms of training experience, lifters are broadly classified into three types which are novice (having 0-1 year of weight training experience), intermediate (having 1-2 years of weight training experience) and advanced (having 2-3+ years of weight training experience).
When it comes to absolute beginners/novices who have just started their weight training journey, it would take them a considerable amount of time to lift heavy weights on the bench press. So if you are one amongst them, don’t daydream about benching two plates in the coming month to impress your gym bros and high-school crush (if you have one).
In general, a beginner must take his bench press to a level from where he can lift 0.80-0.90 times of his body weight (in lbs.) for 1-3 reps. This might not look like a lot but believe us if you are capable of lifting that amount of weight, you are stronger than 90% of the population.
Similarly, an intermediate lifter should be able to bench press around 1-1.5 times of his bodyweight for 1-3 reps.
Talking about advanced lifters, bench pressing poundage that equals or exceeds twice their body weight would be considered elite.
Taking a biological perspective into consideration, men are the strongest when they are in their 20s. So a man whose age is somewhere between 20 to 30 years should be able to bench press at least his body weight.
For an intermediate lifter whose age is in the 30s, benching 90% of his body weight (in lbs) would be considered pretty good. Similarly for an advanced lifter, that percentage would decline to 80% of the lifter’s body weight and so on.
However, you must keep in mind that there are exceptions as well. Here we are considering a general perspective regarding how much of a bench press is good.
Last but not the least, your training goal has a significant impact in determining how much of a bench press would be considered good for you. If you are a regular gym goer, who does weight training to keep yourself physically fit and strong, then you must aim to bench press at least 1 times your body weight. If you are able to do so, your bench pressing strength will be considered good.
Don’t rely on the parameter which says that only performing a bench of 225 or more for reps is considerable. Only a few percent of people can bench 225. So definitely, your strength levels are quite optimum.
Even in the case of an athlete (like a footballer, swimmer, basketball player, etc.) whose respective sport doesn’t necessarily require him/her to be super strong or muscular, being able to bench press his/her body weight would be considered pretty ideal.
On the contrary, if you are into a strength-based sport(like powerlifting) or a physique-based sport (like bodybuilding), you will be required to hit some impressive numbers on the bench press.
For instance, in the case of a novice powerlifter, he must be capable of bench pressing slightly more than 2 times his body weight. However, when it comes to elite powerlifters, hitting a bench press for singles with a weight that is 5-7 times their body weight would be considered ideal.
When it comes to physique athletes such as bodybuilders, their respective sport requires them to look muscular and aesthetic. And to serve that purpose, they train with higher volume, so bodybuilding programs don’t require them to lift super heavy weights on the bench press.
For an untrained physique athlete, bench pressing 0.80-1 time of their body weight would be considered good. However, in the case of trained physique athletes, a good bench press would be equal to approximately twice their bodyweight.
We expect that by now you would have got a decent idea regarding how much of a bench press would be good for you. But we would like to advise you that before you start aiming to hit some impressive numbers on the bench press, it’s crucial that you perfect your bench pressing form and technique.
It doesn’t matter how heavy you bench if you are benching with a lousy form. You must also ensure that you perform the bench press with a full range of motion. That means in the eccentric phase the barbell should be touching your chest and in the concentric phase, it should be over your chest with your elbows fully extended.
To perfect your bench press form you can take the assistance of a coach as that will allow you to do so safely.
So now that you have an idea about how much of a bench press would be considered good for you, go and start benching your way towards making both strength and size gains.