T Nation

500lb Bench Press - How Common are They?


AR upregulate/increase in EVERY muscle when there is increased testosterone or receptor saturation would occur.

Which is why it’s still very simple:

Do you, as a natural, experience disproportionate growth in the shoulders?


So does increased AR concentration = increased muscle growth? I think that is becoming the real question here.


Not out of proportion when compared to the rest of my body, but perhaps disproportionate when compared to what someone with low testosterone (such as a woman) could expect.

The only way to verify that would be for me to take steroids and compare growth between muscle groups, training volume would also have to be spread out fairly evenly.


The question here is whether or not increased androgen receptors in the shoulder girdle combined with increased androgen levels do in fact result in increased muscle growth in the muscles surrounding the shoulder girdle, and therefore the bench press because those muscles are the prime movers in that lift. However, we can go back and forth all day and we will never prove anything because we just don’t know. I think it is possible, other people think it isn’t, but the only thing that really matters is the actual truth, which cannot be discerned by a debate.

Does anyone here have a subscription to PubMed, researchgate, or similar sites? On Wikipedia, under “anabolic steroids” I found this: “Overall, .exercise where the most significant improvements were observed is the bench press.” There is a reference to an article titled “Effects of androgenic-anabolic steroids in athletes” , Hartgens, F. & Kuipers, H. Sports Med (2004) 34: 513. doi:10.2165/00007256-200434080-00003. I am not able to read the full article, and only a few of the abstracts for its nearly 300 references. If you really want to find the answer, chances are it is somewhere in there but it’s not free, that article alone costs $49.95US.


See my reply to his post.

Lol this is why I did a lot of research on this topic in the past(though I’ve currently lost interest). I don’t experience more growth in the shoulder girdle on steroids. I actually get more growth in the legs(like flip). There are probably other factors that play a more important role in hypertrophy than the concentration of receptors.


Anyway, let’s assume for a moment that this whole AR/AAS thing is nonsense an has nothing to do with bench press performance. Why is it that Dennis Cieri is the only man below the 120kg class that has benched over 500lbs. in an IPF meet, and the SHW record (in a full power meet) is Ilyes Boughalem with only 605? He also benched 623 in a bench only meet. Josh Bryant alone has at least three lifters that bench over 600 and has benched over 600 himself. Then there’s Eric Spoto and Kirill Sarychev who have benched well over 700. Meanwhile, the IPF has three of the best raw squatters of all time. Does the IPF attract weak benchers for some reason? Or does it have to do with the fact that they are either not using PEDs, or using them is significantly lower doses (possibly cycling off prior to a meet) to avoid detection? Does anyone else have an explanation?


Probably. It’s hard to quantify potential gains. There are guys on juice with big squats and deadlifts but shitty benches, Chuck Vogelpohl comes to mind.


In the shoulder girdle? Well, no. Or yes. It’s just semantics, isn’t it? By definition, being natural it would be “proportinate”. But chris_ottawa’s observation that there is a much greater discrepancy between men and women in upper body strength vs. lower body does provide us with a good clue.

There is an article on Lyle McD’s site about training calves where he makes interesting observations. It is suggested that freaky legs of modern bodybuilders as opposed to previous generations are the result of year round bombarding of AAS, so that even parts with lower AR eventually get staurated.


This is out of my league. I’m not a powerlifter and I’m not sure how most of these elite lifters train. If I were to make a guess, the natural guys could have reached their limit of muscularity but could still make gains in the lower body lifts with improvements in technique or changes to further maximise leverages. The question would then be, “are assisted lifters maximising their potential in the lower body lifts?”


That’s another thing, supposedly the quadriceps are the muscle group with the largest potential for growth.

Anyway, we can’t prove anything. Buy articles and pubmed subscriptions if you want, but even that’s still debatable.


Now when you say similar you mean in relation to the bench press right? Because no matter what, women will put up lower numbers than men when controlling for BW and caliber of the athlete. Yes women do have a larger ratio of lower body to upper body strength than men but men are still overall stronger. Also it still has not been proven as to why these strength ratios are different and if it’s due to nature or nurture/culture. Just clarifying my man.


I would have to look around for the study if someone wants to argue about this, but there is also evidence that most elite female athletes have significantly higher levels of testosterone (this is also assuming that they aren’t on juice) than the average female.

A funny thing that I read yesterday, if you were to run a study to compare the effect of androgenic hormones on natural and enhanced ale athletes you would need to have castrated men as the control group. Any volunteers?




cool. Lyle takes a guess at why a particular phenomenon exists, and ensures that guess fits in with his previously developed theory. I’ll definitely be checking that out.


Why? The question was very simple. Are your shoulders growing faster than your other bodyparts? You answered no. You will experience the same thing on steroids. That’s it.

Edit: If you don’t accept this, we will just have to agree to disagree since all this will lead to nowhere anyway.

Are you representing him accurately? From your previous post, you know that ARs increase due to increasing levels of androgens. They also decrease when levels of androgens decrease. They are already “saturated” at current androgen levels.


I met Chris at a few meets back in the 90’s. He was the real deal. Deep chest, short arms, SHORT range of motion. Awfully thick muscles though. Also nice guys. RIP Chris


I don’t know, maybe you’re right. Anecdotally I have heard many times about the upper pecs and delts growing “disproportionately” on steroids, but yeah, that’s just anecdote. As for Lyle’s article, best thing is to just google it (you know I can’t link.)


They are very rare unless you hang out with powerlifters or go to a gym like supertraining and I bet you don’t even see 500lb every bench day there even (ignoring variations like board press). 700 deadlift is easier than 500 bench and how often do you see that in person. Another thing about 500 bench is even the people who can do it can’t do it their entire training career, maybe their best bench in competition is a bit over that but it doesn’t mean they could do it at the gym if you asked, for various reasons.


And since its related to the topic. When I first started working out I went to this gym for a summer, probably couldn’t bench much over 135 at the time. Some guy asked me to spot him on a 500lb bench, yes it had the 2.5lb plates too. He did two reps and I didn’t even need to touch the bar. Turned out he was a 600lb bencher who competed nationally. 13 years later I don’t think I’ve ever seen 5 plates on a bench press at any gym. Another reason why its so rare, 600lb bencher and even he only did 500 that day, probably a lot of guys in mid 500s who rarely go 500 or over. So the lift itself is much more rare than the people capable of it, because its done sparingly and mostly in competition.


Kevin Oak has done 500 lbs (plus a few) in competition more than once that I’ve seen on videos. But I also actually saw him miss a 500 lbs bench in competition as well. I’ve never seen him post any videos benching 500 lbs in practice.

My recollection is Dan Green has trouble with 500 lbs in competition videos, makes it, misses it.

Larry Wheels on the other hand…easy peasy! Saw him in an Oak video do 600 (or was it 650 lol) for a double with his elbows wrapped -that’s the first time I’ve seen that (elbows wrapped for a bench). Dudes got an unreal bench.

And no, nobody’s natural, in case anybody wonders.