An average build man bench pressing in the gym

How Much Can the Average Man Bench Press?


Written by fitness expert Chris. Last updated:

Statistics show that the average, untrained man should be able to bench press at least 135 pounds. In terms of physical fitness, however, “average” can be a tricky word. Multiple factors, such as body type, weight, and overall fitness level, play into how much a person can bench press. Weightlifting fitness trackers can be useful for those wanting to track their progress during their bench press exercises.

Bodyweight to Bench Press Weight Ratio

An overweight man bench pressing in the gym

It stands to reason that the heavier you are, the more weight you should be able to bench press. This is definitely a factor to keep in mind when asking yourself how much the average man can lift. By coupling body weight and exercise experience, you can establish a basis for your own bench press performance.

If the average man over age 20 weighs 197.9 pounds, then the ExRx bench press standards indicate that they should be able to bench press between 135 pounds and 360 pounds. Naturally, the determining factor here is whether you’re an elite athlete or an untrained novice.

Testing Yourself

A man bench pressing while his friend helps spot him

If you’re curious to see how you measure up to others, you should see how much you can comfortably bench press. If you have little to no experience with bench pressing, you’ll want an experienced friend or professional trainer to give you a hand. In cases where you want to test yourself with various bench press exercises, it would be a good idea to use a adjustable weight bench so that you can perform other bench press exercises like incline and decline chest press.

Regardless of how much weightlifting experience you have, you’ll definitely need a spotter. Once you have one, a quick and easy bench press test is to try and see what your three-rep maximum is. In other words: what is the heaviest weight that you can lift three times in a row? Be sure to wear some weight lifting gloves for this part to protect against hurting your hands while lifting heavy weights.

According to Men’s Health, here are some average bench press standards that you should aim for according to your age and body weight:

Age Three-rep maximum weight
20-29 100% of your body weight
30-39 90% of your body weight
40-49 80% of your body weight
50-59 75% of your body weight

After completing the three-rep test, you should have a solid approximation of where your bench press capabilities stand in comparison to other men. From there, you should feel a bit more comfortable with testing out your one-rep maximum weight.

Working Towards Average Bench Press Standards

Two men bench pressing together in the gym

Even if you fall short of the standards listed above, don’t let that stop you from working up to them. Weight plates start at as little as a couple of pounds, so you can build up your progression slowly by adding the lightest weights possible everytime you feel your are ready to. Also, regularly bench pressing 2–4 times per week will not only make you stronger but more experienced as well. Keep at it, and you’ll be breaking past your body weight’s average bench press standard in no time.

Of course, hard work is only effective if you practice the movement properly for optimal results. Here are some tips to ensure that you get the most out of your bench press training:

  1. Tighten up your core to make your entire body more stable.
  2. Try to pull the bar apart. (This activates your shoulders and back so you can lift more.)
  3. Check your grip to make sure it isn’t too wide or too narrow. You should aim to have your wrists directly over the elbow when you’re at the bottom of the press.
  4. Don’t let your hips come off the weight bench. Leg drive is great, and an arch in your back is fine, but your hips should stay grounded.

As you work towards your goal, be sure not to jump up to heavier weights too quickly, especially without a spotter. While it can be tempting to lift heavy, it can also be very dangerous if you aren’t realistic about your current lifting capabilities. However, if you do decide to try much heavier weights, be sure to take a look at our reviews of the best weight lifting belts so that your body has some support during the heavy lifts. Let patience and safety be your guiding principles so that you can continue exercising injury-free for years to come.

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