T Nation

500lb Bench Press - How Common are They?


I saw my first 500lb bench press in person a few days ago at a 24 hour fitness here in Denver. Dude’s name was Leo, big dude was 6’2, a leaner 300 lbs looked like a defensive end/defensive tackle. Said he doesn’t compete anymore, but he was a power-lifter. Cool guy, gave me some tips on my squats.

I now know what a guy with a 500+ bench 700+ squat looks like. Definitely not someone you wanna fuck with lol.


I’m new to this forum, but I am one of the few people who have benched pressed 500 lbs raw with no steroid, or any other, use whatsoever… I benched it a few years ago and then took a three year lay off for some reason that I still don’t know yet… I have a few videos on YouTube… Yall can check it out… title is "strongest bench presser at UAB…


I like the “C’mon baby” in the background. You can’t fake that kind of support.


Yeah boi, tell us more and update us when you learn your reason


Yeah my wife had my support… I had tried 500 a couple of times before then and didn’t get it, but I felt it that day.


I’m still searching… I had told myself I wouldn’t take any more layoffs, but still done it anyway… I guess I had felt accomplished since I had reached my goal… I’m working my way back up now, but I haven’t went over 405 this time… I’m 40 years old so I’m not young anymore…lol


So there is 700000 people benching 500 in the world? Gravedigging haha.


no, that number is high. This thread was a year ago, so I don’t remember exactly what I was thinking, but I probably meant to say ‘less than 10,000 people’, rather than ‘less than 1/10,000 people’, as that is more better aligned with what I believe about the rarity of a 500 bench.


The biggest/strongest kid in my gym is a young SHW who reps mid-600s on squats with wraps, and deadlifts. I think his bench caps off at 420-430. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits 500 in the next few years.


I’m very late to this thread but feel like posting what I think will be the most accurate answer to the original question.

In 2017, 22 people bench pressed 500 or more in USAPL Raw Open division.


USAPL isn’t the only powerlifting federation in the US but it is one of the biggest and is drug tested. This would suggest to me that the total number of people in the US currently capable of bench pressing 500+ is probably around 100 max (including non-drug tested benchers and non-powerlifters and athletes in other sports requiring strength) or two per state on average making a 500 lb bench press a 100 in 330,000,000 rarity feat or 1 in 3.3 million. If the rest of the world followed the same pattern as the US then the number of people in the world capable of a 500+ bench press is probably around 2-3 thousand, although most of the world’s population lives in regions where bench pressing or gyms in general aren’t as common, so probably fewer than 1,000 people alive today could bench press 500 to raw competition standards if I had to guess.

Of course more people are alive who have done it in the past, but a legit 500 lb raw competition bench press is rare. Even the one person who posted in this forum claiming to have done it with video evidence didn’t do it to anything near competition standards in the video.


hahahahaah no man, you’re not even close. sorry. if you include drug users, the number’s going to skyrocket from your estimation, I promise.

There are many competitive strongmen who can bench 500 who don’t compete in powerlifting at all, for one thing.

There are many NFL players who can bench press 500 who have no interest in PL. In fact, I’d bet there are at least 50 nfl players who could bench 500 (between 1 and 2 per team), and that’s a conservative number imo.

your logic is just waaaaay off base man.


I thought the same. Using a drug-tested PL federation as your starting point and extrapolating from there gets you to… 100 people in the entire country who can do this? Not even close. Way more than that, even if you demand competition benches from all of them.


Can you guys cite other numbers for non-drug tested bench pressing from other powerlifting federations in the US or Strongman competitions? If so I’d be interested in hearing them.

Josh Bryant has half a dozen guys who can bench press 600+. He probably has some more who can do 500+. Only around 40 people worldwide have ever bench pressed 600 or more in competition and most of them are retired.

Eric Lilliebridge can bench press 500+.

Stan Efferding, world’s strongest body builder did 606 at his best.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s claimed best gym max was 500.

Ronnie Coleman’s best bench press was 500x5, estimated 1RM around 580.

Jay Cutler’s best bench press was 550x2, estimated 1RM around 575.

Multiple time WSM Brian Shaw can max bench press around 550.

This year 2 people at the NFL combine bench pressed 40 or more reps (one guy did 41 and one guy did 42). According to some formula I found online, a 500 lb bench presser should be able to do 40.8 reps on the NFL 225 test. The average career length in the NFL is significantly less than 10 years which would suggest that maybe there are only 20 people in the NFL capable of 500+, although we could be generous and guess that maybe there are a few more who get there after joining, but not many.

Can you really think of any other sources of extremely strong bench pressers who are in league with these guys? Enough to come up with 50 more people in league with the WSM winner, Mr Olympias, and the top 10-20 NFL players?


One last thing that crossed my mind just after my last post is that steroids make more of a difference in muscle mass and body composition. So they matter much more in a sport like bodybuilding than they do when it comes to lifting as much weight as possible.

I’ll be very surprised if any statistics can be found to show that my answer is off by more than perhaps a factor of 2, but I still think 100 is closer to actual than 200.


It feels like he posts a new client hitting 500 every week lol


I don’t think that is true, “steroids” is a fairly broad category and there are guys using who keep get stronger without adding mass. Different drugs have different effects, a powerlifter looking to stay in the same weight class wouldn’t take the same stuff as a bodybuilder trying to maximize muscle mass. Just look at tested vs. untested records, you have guys the same size lifting a hell of a lot more weight. The squat seems to be an exception for some reason, with Ray Williams and Jezza Uepa, but those guys are something else anyway.

@flipcollar - you are quite knowledgeable on the subject, what is your opinion?


I’m not sure anyone can compile a true list, but I can give you anecdotal evidence. I live in Maine, population 1.2 million. I’ve only been lifting for about 5 years, mostly as a hobbyist/gym rat, never as a competitor. Let’s run down the list of people in and around my little circle…

I personally know one guy who definitely could have done that, and might still be able to even though he’s on the wrong side of 40 and doesn’t train the bench very much or compete anymore. I’ve seen him rep 405 for 10 in the last year, which I’d think has him in the ballpark. His best meet lift that I found online was 672 multi-ply, but I think I recall him saying he’s benched over 700. He trained at Westside.

Another guy popped into a jiu jitsu training session I was at and I found a video of him benching 650 in a multi-ply meet. I’m not sure if that puts him at 500 raw, but he’s gotta be close. I’m hoping to cross paths again and do a little rolling with that beast…

I know a friend of a friend definitely can right now, and he is an active raw powerlifting competitor about an hour south of me. He has also trained at Westside.

The one guy who I know for certain can do this in a meet already makes the state disproportionately represented in a country with (according to you) only 100 people who can do it. If I’m right about the other two we’re off the charts strong. Perhaps Maine is just home to a disproportionate number of very strong people that happen to be in or very close to the very small circle of lifters I actually know in person, but I doubt that’s the case.

So, in summary, your entire premise doesn’t pass my smell test.

Oh, and I almost forgot about Tony Atlas, former pro wrestler who lives and trains in my area. I don’t think he can bench 500 now, but I know he used to be able to and I think he can still take 405 for a ride. I ran into him once. Still a really big dude.


This is also patently absurd, especially when you’re talking about getting to a 500 lb bench press. This also explains why you think your premise is sound in the first place.



In this database alone, there are 923 US lifters benching over 500lbs.


I live in Ottawa (as you may have guessed), population just under 1 million. I know or know of 4 guys here who have benched 500 or more in a meet, one is trying to hit 600 at 50 years old. There are a few other who are benching mid-upper 400s and might reach 500 soon, and for all I know there could be a couple others benching 500+ that I don’t know of. And here I am still trying to hit 400…