Statistics show that the average, untrained novice should be able to bench press at least 135 pounds.
In terms of physical fitness, however, determining the average bench press of men and women can be tricky.
It may vary depending on different factors.
Multiple factors, such as body type, body weight, and overall fitness level, play into the average bench press record of a person.
According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the average person (ingrained) can lift approximately 135 pounds (61.2 kg) on a flat bench press for a one rep max (1RM).
Weightlifting fitness trackers can be useful for those wanting to track their progress during their bench press exercises.
Bodyweight to Bench Press Weight Ratio
It stands to reason that the heavier your body weight is, the more weight you should be able to bench press. This is definitely a factor to keep in mind when asking yourself your average bench press and how much the average male can lift.
By coupling body weight and exercise experience in strength sports and weight training, you can establish your own bench press average.
If the average person’s body weight is around 197.9 pounds, then the ExRx bench press standards, which were National Strength and Conditioning Association approved, 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.
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If you’re curious to see and find a definitive answer on 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, an advanced or elite athlete, or a 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 an adjustable weight bench so that you can perform other bench press exercises like inclined bench presses or decline chest presses.
Regardless of how much weightlifting experience you have and your fitness level, 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 determining the average weight you are able to bench press.
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 the average adult man. From there, you should feel a bit more comfortable with testing out your one rep max weight.
Working Towards Average Bench Press Standards
Even if you fall short of the standards listed above, don’t let that stop you from working your way to becoming an advanced lifter or even an intermediate lifter.
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 every time you feel you are ready to. At 45 pounds, a standard barbell can be a good start.
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 average bench presses by body weight in no time.
Of course, hard work is only effective if you practice the movement properly for optimal results. A good bench press requires the proper form, excellent upper body strength, and more.
Here are some tips to ensure that you get the most out of your bench press training:
Tighten up your core to make your entire body more stable.
Try to pull the training bar apart. (This activates your shoulders and back so you can lift heavier loads.)
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.
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 to ensure really good form. Keep your feet firmly on the ground too.
As you work towards your bench press goal, be sure not to jump up to heavier weights too quickly, especially without a spotter or a personal trainer. While it can be tempting to lift higher bench press weights and start adding weights as soon as you start to press weights, it can be very dangerous. Most men tend to be not so realistic about their current lifting capabilities.
It’s extremely beneficial to focus not just on having good form but using the right bench press weight as well.
However, if you do decide to try doing your bench press using 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.
It helps ensure a good lifting experience and encourages proper technique. Let patience and safety be your guiding principles so that you can continue exercising injury-free for years to come.
Factors That Affect How Much You Can Bench Press
There are several factors that can affect how much you can bench press, including:
Muscle mass and strength: The chest muscles (pectoralis major and minor) are primarily responsible for the bench press exercise, but other muscles in the arms, shoulders, and back also play a role.
The more muscle mass and strength you have in these areas, the more weight you can lift. Regular resistance training with a focus on these muscle groups can help improve your bench press performance.
Technique/form: Proper technique and form are necessary if you want to maximize your strength, prevent injury, and ensure safety. It’s important to have a stable base, maintain proper body alignment, and engage the appropriate muscles.
Having good upper body strength helps as well.
Training: Consistent and progressive training is necessary for increasing strength and muscle mass. This includes both bench pressing and accessory exercises that target the muscles used in bench pressing.
Nutrition: Proper nutrition, including adequate protein intake, is important if you want to build muscle and repair muscle tissue. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables can help too.
Body weight and size: The higher your body weight, the more weight you can lift in the bench press. However, this also depends on your body composition.
If you have a higher percentage of body fat, it may be more difficult to lift heavier weights than someone with a higher percentage of muscle mass.
Take note that body weight and size shouldn’t be your only factor. Instead, look at the whole person and see their size and experience in lifting.
Age: Your age can be a significant factor that affects the bench press weight you can handle. As we age, our bodies go through various changes that can impact our strength and muscle mass.
In general, younger individuals tend to have a higher muscle mass and a more robust hormonal profile. These can aid in muscle growth and strength development.
Therefore, they are able to lift weights better than individuals belonging to the older age group.
This doesn’t mean that older individuals can’t improve their bench press strength and lift heavy weights. There’s no rule that dictates how much one can bench press by age.
However, there are suggestions. For example, you should be able to handle 100% of your body weight if you bench press by age 20 to 29.
Common Errors in Bench Press Form That Can Limit Performance
Many people make mistakes in their bench press form. These errors can limit how much they are able to bench press.
They may even cause injuries as they’re working on improving the average bench press they have on record.
To get a better understanding, here are some common errors in bench press form:
Lifting your head
Many people lift their heads off the bench when they’re pressing. This can put unnecessary stress on your neck and shoulders.
For safety, keep your head on the bench throughout the movement.
Flaring your elbows
Flaring your elbows out to the sides can put extra stress on your shoulders and increase the risk of injury. Instead, tuck your elbows in at a 45-degree angle to your body.
Arching your back excessively
While some arch in your lower back is natural, excessive arching can lead to lower back pain. It can reduce the effectiveness of the exercise too.
Keep your back in a neutral position throughout the movement.
Bouncing the bar off your chest
Bouncing only the bar off your chest muscles can give you momentum and make the exercise easier, but it also reduces the effectiveness of the exercise and increases the risk of injury.
Pause briefly at the bottom of the movement before pressing the weight back up.
Using too much weight
Using a heavier weight than what you can handle can lead to poor form and increase the risk of injury. Remember, the way you perform bench press depends not just on the weight you’re lifting. Don’t focus solely on it, particularly if you are new.
Choosing a weight that you can lift with proper form for 8-12 reps is still better than picking the heaviest weight you’re able to bench press.
Failing to engage your core
Engaging your core muscles can help stabilize your body during the movement and reduce the risk of injury. Keep your core tight throughout the exercise.
Lifting your feet off the ground
Lifting your feet off the ground can reduce your stability and make it harder to lift the weight properly. Keep your feet flat on the ground throughout the movement.
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- How Much Weight can the Average man Lift? – Livestrong
- Bench Press Standards (lb) – Strength Level
- Unleash Your Best Bench Press Yet – Menshealth
- Bench Press Standards – ExRx
- 8 Great Tips for a Better Bench Press – Muscle & Fitness