The bench press is a popular weightlifting and bodybuilding exercise. It strengthens the upper body muscles, including the shoulders, arms, and pectorals.
Once you’ve mastered the proper bench press form and basic movement pattern, you’ll see rapid gains in this classic chest-builder.
However, if you’re new to lifting weights or the gym, how will you know if you’re ready for the bench? Or how much should you bench press for your weight?
Here’s our guide to help you:
How Much Can an Average Person Bench Press?
How much you can bench press depends on several variables, such as your training, height, and fitness level. As a personal trainer, I consider my client’s lifting experience, build, and size to know their benchmark.
Additionally, there are bench press averages you can use as a guide. One of which is by considering the body weight.
Average Bench Press by Percentage of Body Weight
Your body weight or muscle mass is the most significant predictor of how much you can safely bench press. The reason is that your body weight affects how much you can lift.
You know you’re getting stronger if your weight increases due to increased muscle strength. Adding weight results in bigger totals, which let you lift more.
Here’s the bench press average by weight for adult men:
Bodyweight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Pro
114 lbs. 85 110 130 180 220
123 lbs. 90 115 140 195 240
132 lbs. 100 125 155 210 260
148 lbs. 110 140 170 235 290
165 lbs. 120 150 185 255 320
181 lbs. 130 165 200 275 345
198 lbs. 135 175 215 290 360
220 lbs. 140 185 225 305 380
242 lbs. 145 190 230 315 395
275 lbs. 150 195 240 325 405
319 lbs. 155 200 245 335 415
320+ lbs. 160 205 250 340 425
You’ll observe that an advanced male lifter or elite athlete can lift more than twice as much weight as an adult male who doesn’t lift. This data is the official Bench Press Standards chart used by ERX.
Here’s the bench press average by weight for adult women:
Bodyweight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Pro
97 lbs. 50 65 75 95 115
105 lbs. 55 70 80 100 125
114 lbs. 60 75 85 110 135
123 lbs. 65 80 90 115 140
132 lbs. 70 85 95 125 150
148 lbs. 75 90 105 135 165
165 lbs. 80 95 115 145 185
181 lbs. 85 110 120 160 195
198 lbs. 90 115 130 165 205
199+ lbs. 95 120 140 175 220
Average Bench Press by Age
With human growth hormone and testosterone at their highest, you are at great strength potential in your 20s. Moreover, muscle mass decreases about 3-8% per decade after 30 years old. This change has not significantly kicked in yet in your body.
Since you’re at your physical best at this age, you can bench press at about 100% of your body weight. An average man who weighs 200 lbs can safely bench press 200 pounds.
Again, I’m highlighting only bench pressing averages here. Trained people can bench press at a heavier weight vs. their body weight while within this age range.
The natural decline of testosterone starts at 30 and gradually drops by about 1% per year. The natural drop in testosterone affects a man’s muscle mass and strength.
Meanwhile, if you’re in your 30s, you can bench press about 90% of your body weight. So, you can bench press 180 pounds if you’re a 200-pound guy.
Related: Best Weight Bench Under $200
Your body and mind undergo a cascade of changes as you reach 40. The experience makes you uncomfortable, frustrated, and just plain weird if they allow it. Because of the continued loss of muscle mass and testosterone, you may have lower energy levels than in your 20s.
If you’re in your 40s, you can bench press about 80% of your body weight. Again, if you’re a 200-pound guy, you can bench press 160 pounds.
Changes in tendons, ligaments, and muscles happen when you reach your 50s. As a result, some adults within this age range prefer a sedentary lifestyle to their earlier life. Sadly, this can lead to loss of strength and weight gain.
Not to mention that the age-related loss of muscle mass and testosterone continues. Additionally, if you’re in your 50s, the average weight you should be able to bench press is 75% of your body weight. That’s about bench pressing 150 pounds if you’re a 200-pound person.
People Under 20
The average bench press weight for a 19-year-old male is 1.4 times body weight. Meanwhile, a female’s average bench press weight is 0.9 times body weight.
Average Bench Press Affected by Arm Length
Another factor that influences the weight you can safely bench press is your arm length. The longer the muscle becomes, the weaker it gets. Consequently, the distance the weight travels increases.
For this reason, barrel-chested men thrive at bench-pressing movements. However, they also compensate for such strength on exercises like the deadlift: moving closer to the ground to catch the weight properly.
All of us are anatomically different in our muscle insertion, origin, and bone structure. Because of such a difference, individual biomechanics can vary.
Average Bench Press By Classifications of Lifters
Now, let’s talk about the bench press average by classifications of lifters.
A novice lifter or someone who benched for at least a month yet knows how to bench press properly should be able to lift more than 5% of your fellow weightlifters. Meanwhile, a novice lifter whose been going to the gym consistently for at least six months is stronger than 20% of other weightlifters.
Intermediate-level lifters or those training for at least two years are stronger than 50% compared to other weightlifters. Lifters in this level can bench press around 215 lbs.
However, being stronger than most lifters doesn’t mean you can get too comfortable. So, keep pushing yourself if you want to become an advanced lifter.
Moreover, an elite lifter or pro has over five years of competitive lifting experience. They are stronger than 95% of weightlifters and can be able to bench press around 360 lbs.
Tips to Increase Your Bench Press Weight
The classic bench press has been one of the glamorous lifts in the gym. Plus, it’s one of the finest ways to power your chest and add size and strength. But boy, can it also be frustrating. Some have even hit the plateau as their bench press weight isn’t increasing.
But, stop worrying about your bench press plateau; here are some tips to increase your bench press weight:
Engage the right muscles
Focus on the primary movers in the bench press. These are the triceps, anterior deltoid, and the pectoralis major. These muscles maintain a posture or keep your joints in place.
Add five to 10 lbs. more every bench session
Your warm-up or first set of bench press should be slightly more or the same as the weight you did in the second set of your last bench press day.
Utilize other exercises
If the answer to fixing your bench press is not doing more bench presses, then utilize other exercises to boost your bench press. It includes doing barbell row, floor glute bridge, and shoulder press. All these are major contributors to your bench press competence.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bench Press
What does bench pressing do for you?
Bench presses increase upper body strength, tone muscles (mainly the chest muscles), and improve endurance. For weightlifters and strongmen, the bench press can augment their weight training. For powerlifters, it’s vital for competition.
What should I be benching for my weight?
The question “how much should I bench for my weight?” is something you’re bound to ask along your fitness journey. Although the number varies from person to person, consider an average bench press of 90% of your body weight.
Your bench press standard (the amount you can bench) depends on more than just your iron will. If you’ve never bench pressed before, begin lifting about 22 pounds and focus on your technique. Once you gain more experience on the bench press, you can add more weight.
How much should a 150 lb man bench?
If you weigh 140 to 150 pounds, you’ll be able to bench between 170 to 184 pounds.
What does it mean to bench 225?
To bench 225 (100 kg.) means you can perform a good bench press workout with two 45-pound plates on both sides of the bar.
The weight must be raised (or pressed) above the body to extend the elbow and lower the chest fully. The 225 bench press is not easy as it requires consistency, good nutrition, and tons of practice.
Is benching 225 impressive?
For an adult man, yes, benching a 225 is impressive because it is the ultimate test of endurance and muscular strength for the upper body. Moreover, performing this lift requires high levels of strength in the shoulders, chest, grip, core, training history, genes, and optimal arm’s length.
However, a 225 bench for women under 220 lbs. can be a competitive (elite or advanced) lift. Therefore, you should compete in professional powerlifting if you’re a woman and rep 225.
Is benching 135 good?
Yes, benching 135 pounds is good. An untrained adult man can bench such a weight right off the bat.
Don’t be afraid to start bench pressing with just the bar and focus more on proper form. Then, gradually gauge where your present bench press strength is at.
With this data in mind, I hope it could help you identify whether you are performing well in the bench press or if you need improvement.
It’s likewise important to highlight that longevity in the sport or workout will likely lead to strength gains by developing muscle mass and proper technique. Also, being mindful of those two things can make you become a successful lifter in the future.
Lastly, I recommend you build up weight gradually and let go of quick expectations. Keep in mind that it takes time to see noticeable results from bench pressing.
For access to more exercise and fitness articles, lifestyle tips, celebrity workouts, nutrition and health info, visit ExpertFitness.org.
Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.