T Nation

Bench Press Baseline?


From your experience in gyms, what would you say that the average bench one rep max is for both natural and chemically assisted male lifters?

I think that for natural men, the range, which depends on weight, is probably from 230 to 280.

For the chemically assisted bencher, I have seen that 375 to 450 is the range, with these guys being often larger than the natural lifter, and also depending on what they are taking.

What would be your estimate from your gym?


My gym is pretty weak overall, I'm at the local rec center. There's one freaky 15 year old who can bench 315x3, but I haven't seen anyone else come close to that. Most guys just go with a plate a side.. sigh... sadly I'm not much stronger than that, but I'm gaining strength week by week! :slight_smile:


i got to a weak gym

im gonna say natural 185-275

not 245-315


Everyone naturally, with hard work, can bench 100-150+lbs over their bodyweight.


i dont have any experience with "enhanced" ppl :slight_smile:

however here is my direct experience as gym owner and trainer.

the average guy weight in my gym is 70kg
only a really little % of the gym customers train for strenght.

quite all train for "look" better.

i have around 600 customer (male and female), i can name 20 serious male trainee and 1 female.

still that trainee usually train BB style, not for strenght but for mass

the average bench press at 70kg is 1RM is 180-190lbs.

at 90kg 1RM become 275.

stronger one at 92kg as 1RM 350lbs
mine at 95kg is a poor 297

our "strongest" woman at 50kg bodyweight as 1RM of 143lbs, her best lift is however squat (a nice 135lbs 6RM)

however all we train for "mass".

i would like to start serious strenght training with the next season (ie from september)...


sadly here in Italy BB training as very little audience and strenght training smaller than BB (ie quite no interest out of big city)



Regular gym rat---275 MAYBE. Chemically assisted---If they do double BW raw that would be very good.

NOW....let's clarify things. My perception of a good bench is different than most. For example, I have a friend who starts at NC State. Unusually strong kid. BW right now of 260 or so. He can do 3-4 reps at 415 or so bouncing the weight off his chest, and lifting his ass off the bench on every rep. He spotted me (42yrs old, 208 BW at the time) three weeks ago, and I did 405 for 1 rep with a 2 SECOND pause at my chest. No ass off the bench..... he then tried it and got stapled.

So what do you consider a good bench? Most jerk offs consider his 425 for 3-4 reps a good bench press. Remember, Pausing at the bottom turns most guys into girls......


At the university rec center I lift at, I would say that the average bench is maybe around 245. I've seen guys get stapled by 95 pounds, and a few guys (including myself) do over 300. I've never seen a 4 plate effort, though.


a good BP is a BP with stop of 1" at the bottom and no bouncing. and no ass "lifting" :slight_smile:


With work and effort, a natural lifter should be able to hit twice their BW raw. It might take a couple years of dedicated lifting, but is doable. Problem is, most people don't want to do the heavy lifting it takes to reach difficult goals.

Once things start to get hard, they quit.

Almost anyone with 9 months under their belts should be able to bench BW +80~100 lbs. A lot people claim 9 months when in reality they've been playing around in the gym of and on for 9 months. Nothing consistent - no effort, no intensity = no gains.


I notice that when it comes to the bench, many people will try to improve their 1RM, just because their is glory in it. I also notice this with the leg press machine also and to a lesser extent with cheating barbell curls, and to a much lesser extent than that squats.

I also notice that some guys will become obsessed with the 1RM of a bench press. I see some guys training it 3 times a week.

Other people have brought up form...

Yes many times the form sucks. If a person is a total joker they will bounce, however, I would say that lifting the ass off of the bench is more common.

But then again, they aren't using bench shirts or an arch...


Quite a big question.

The first thing we need to do is clarify that the few that are interested in strength are NOT in the majority of fitness centers people go to. In our town, there are, I don't kno, maybe 15-20 gyms within a certain area. 2, maybe 3 of those have any people training for strength.

We keep associating the modern fitness center with what we thought gyms were back in the 60's, 70's and 80's. Back then, bodybuilders, powerlifters, and other freaks of nature were quite common in gyms. Then people realized that the best way to make money is to get a bunch of people who would like to look better to half-ass train a few days a year yet pay for full year memberships. This is good business, but provided a complete watering-down of talent in gyms.

Now the only places you will typically find strength is in locally-owned gym rat kind of places and private facilities. It's like pulling teeth to even find a place that will let you deadlift.

With that being said, what most people will see with regards to strength is a complete misrepresentation of what is achievable for a lot of men. I can easily see how people would think the average guy will never bench 275+ drug-free, but this is not the case if one is training for strength.

And here is what I'll allow as far as bench performance:

1) No pause.
2) Little perceptible bounce.
3) Ass can come up a tiny bit, but should be difficult to even see it move. If it leaves the bench before the bar does, then it's going to be too much.
4) No hands on the bar besides the lifter's after the hand-off and before the rack.
5) No double pumping.
6) Fairly even extension.

This is a gym lift, not a meet lift. I don't think we should factor in a pause, because that is too much of a judgement call. I'm sure some people think they're pausing for 2+ seconds when in reality they are counting the time the bar sunk into their gut, so lets just avoid making that judgement call here. As long as there is no significant bounce, it's fine by me.

I have seen very few guys weighing 185+ that I don't think could bench 300. Do they? Of course not, but I have seen too many guys get their bench to 300+ in a matter of months once they commit to it and stop being retarded about their training. Some guys will have a much harder time than others, but it's likely that they would have an easier time deadlifting or with other movements. That is fine, but it is a small portion of the population.

If you're under 185 or so, 275 would be a very good goal for most. Now if you're in some very low percentile of weight, like significantly under 150, you will have different goals, such as double bodyweight that you will do better shooting for.

What we see in gyms is a lot lower than what people are capable of. I would agree that most "average" fitness center guys can probably do 225-275 with their current method of training. I think they all could do a whole lot more though.


i train with 4 other teens 2 of them just started with me this year both improving there bench 90 pounds and gaining more then 20 pounds and benching 225 at body weight under 180 not great but a start

im at 365 and trained with my science teach who hits 340 at 170 both of ares were done at usapl lifting meet

and three othere people in my gym who hit over 400 not much more though
and sevearl in the low 300s


I'd have to say that the typical guy at my gym puts 185 on and doesn't challenge himself.


At my gym (typical commercial gym, a little similar to 24 hour fitness in the US), my guess is that the average guy's average bench press set is 80 kg (176 lbs) about 8 times - that would put the average 1RM somewhere around 95 to 100 kg (209 - 220 lbs).


I wouldn't agree that with hard work everybody can reach a double BW raw bench. That just isn't true. I mean i'm sure you guys have seen alot of people weigh in the 230-250 range. This would mean with hard work they could bench 460-500?? Yeah right, not clean. If you get to a 500 bench you are approaching world class.

If you can bench double your bodyweight thats pretty amazing. Definately national level. I gurantee you most of you guys dont know anyone who can bench double bodyweight who are clean. I'm a powerlifter/strongman and i dont know anyone who benches double their bodyweight raw and i know guys that bench 700 plus pounds in a shirt, which is definately world class.

So there is alot to be said for a double bodyweight raw bench.


At my gym I'd say average is 2 plates (225) though I max out at 300 natural. I've seen one guy go 5 plates (495 x 3 reps); I hope he was using! He was a big fatty so who knows.


I'd say most of the guys top out around 300-315. Most can't press over 225. But I have seen one guy (with a background in powerlifting) bench a clean 435. So to say that you can only get 100-150 over your bodyweight is total bullshit.



I read somewhere that in all the population that only about 5 % can bench their bodyweight. I have a lifting pardner that can do reps with 350, without a pause, I know a guy 25 years old, no juice, did 405 for 10 reps. But these guys are special, but most guys can bench without a shirt,at my gym, can lift maybe 5-10% above their bw.


My husband and I lift at a "fitness" oriented gym in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. Most guys in our gym don't push themselves to see what their 1rep max is, most just do 225 for a couple if they can, and leave it at that. My husband however is a totally natural 175lbs, and his 1rep max is 365lbs. Female wise there is no competition for me, all the other girls just do cardio, but my 1 rep max is 175lbs


In the last week I've seen a guy do 315# for 8 reps, a guy do 455# for 3 reps, a guy do 425# for 4 reps, and a guy do 405# for 3 reps(all with acceptable form). When I chalk up do get my measly 320# for 3 reps, people look at me like I'm a pussy. I work out at an average "fitness center" type gym.