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Bench Press to Get Big?

I have been hearing conflicting information on this topic: Does bench pressing big weights make you bigger?
Now obviously i know that taking a guy who benches 135 and increase it to 315 he will get bigger, but to where does the point of diminishing returns on muscle gain start?
Will a guy who benches 315 be better off working more on hypertrophy work for triceps, pecs and shoulders rather than just benching to get stronger?

Any thoughts?

They’re a bit hand in hand. On the way to that you find out that you need to do xyz in typical hypertrophy ranges, tuv in rehab/prehab ranges, and qrs in max strength rep ranges.

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315? Are you talking for a max or for reps?


It’s all individual. Some have success getting a massive chest benching alone while others need more specialized work later on. If your bench is under 315, you should probably focus on just benching more with a little assistance here and there. Once you get to where your bench has stalled, start branching off if you wish to gain more size. Generally speaking, size and strength go hand-in-hand. There are outliers yes, but usually, the stronger you get, the more you eat to recover. The more you eat, the bigger you get.

Also, the size/strength debate will rely on form and technique as well. A bodybuilder benching is going to differ from a powerlifter benching. The more arching and leg drive involved, the less upper body recruitment involved, resulting in a lower stimulus for growth. If you look at a lot of top strength athletes with big chests and the ones with smaller chests with big bench numbers, the ones with a small structure arch harder and their form is less based on size and brute strength and more technique and shortening limb ROM.

I’ve always heard that any time you get to benching 1.5x bodyweight gains are harder to come by. As you gain weight, you should be able to benching more. A lot of it has to do with genetic structure. I gained about 35 lbs in weight last year which has help increase my (calculated) bench 50 lbs or so to 415-420 lbs, which is around 1.68x bw. It’s possible to keep gaining but progress slows. I gain about 5 lbs a month in bench now. Chest is about 50 inches.

I’m a little confused. Why are you using 135-315 max as your example if you’re well beyond that?

Anyway. For YOUR situation, I would say it depends on your personal goals. You’re more than sufficiently strong to build a ton of size with higher rep work. If you’re trying to be Mr Olympia, you’ll need to be working with 400ish for reps, so yes you would need to get stronger. But that strength can be built through rep work anyway, so it’s sort of a moot point.

Basically I’m saying that, for bodybuilding purposes, you are strong enough to dedicate yourself essentially entirely to hypertrophy work, and you would be fine for most goals. For a reference point, I can’t bench press 400 lbs (although I’ve been very close), but I’ve managed to build a decent looking physique.

Christian T. has made a strong argument for dips being a better chest builder than the bench.

Using someone’s bench press ability is not a good indicator for whether the end result in size will be desired. There have been incredibly strong men with pecs that are relatively flat compared to their other pressing muscles. That’s why many bodybuilders do not flat bench press.

And no one except powerlfifters has to flat bench press. Even beginners don’t have to.

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Some good replies here.

Another question: Do you think there will be a huge diffrence in the amount of muscle gained when comparing the Db bench press and the BB bench press?

See my post above.

Some guys get the most pec development they can from barbells OR dumbbells. Others don’t, and have to use dips, dumbbell bench press, and machine presses.

However, in the end, for a regular guy not doing bodybuilding or powerlifting shoes it will be inconsequential so long as the whole body is trained. No built guy gets on a beach and is judged like he’s onstage.

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Right? And most of us never get lean enough where you could even tell anyway.

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