T Nation

Question For Bouncers


How big does a guy have to be to bounce at night clubs? I'm 5'11" at 200 lbs, 8% body fat. I know that this ain't shit in the whole scheme of things, but is it big enough to bounce?

The reason I ask is because the other day I overheard some kid in my college gym talking about his job as a bouncer. He is a bit bigger than me, but he is weak as hell. So I was thinkning, if this weak pussy can bounce, why can't I?

Plus, I was at the strip club last week, and as I looked around at the clientele, there was no one there that would give me problems, physically speaking, unless he was a trained fighter.

So, to all you bouncers out there, set me straight: should I put another 30 pounds on my bitch-ass, or do I have a legit shot at bouncing?

Being a Bouncer - Tips, Techniques and Tales

Depends on where you are thinking of working, but for the most part, if you know your shit, then you don't have to worry about your size.


It depends on where you work and also what part of the country. I know in Texas, most of those guys must be pushing over 250lbs with some close to 300lbs. You don't exactly need to know how to fight at 300lbs. Standing there is enough of a deterrant. I know guys in the Florida area who weigh about 270lbs. One is 275lbs at 6'2". Another is about 5'9" and 260lbs. He isn't exactly someone you would fuck with. Generally, the bigger you are, the more you might get paid in some places. Size is an asset as a bouncer. That doesn't mean they are all that big, however, but when your main opponent happens to be drunk college students, you need to be able to hold your own against the possible football player starting shit who needs to be thrown out. Getting someone to stop fighting because you look like one scary son of a bitch often goes much farther than being some little guy who has to constantly prove he can fight a little.


Agreed. I think a bouncer should be bigger than most of the customers he's likley to encounter. I don't think 200 is it. Most bouncers I've seen are actually pretty huge.


I bounced for a couple years, and wasn't a big guy at all: I'm about 6'2" and at the time my weight went from 185 to 200 lbs. Granted, I was damned cut, so that was pretty straight-up muscle mass, but that's still not huge. Not by a long shot.

Thing is, most people get this idea stuck that bouncing is about size, strength, or kicking the hell out of people. Or all three. It's not.

It's more about awareness, confidence, and a cool head. Seeing the pattern of the trouble before it starts, intervening, talking people down from an agitated state, and keeping the peace. If it comes to a fight, it's not about being Bruce Lee. Most nightclubs pay shit wages, and it's not worth a punch in the mouth for that cash. So bouncers gang up, grab the jackass, and eject them with minimum fuss.

Sure, fights happen. And yes, you should know how to handle yourself in one. No, you're not expected to be an action hero. Any good manager will not hire someone who's going into the job with something to prove.

Granted, at the club I worked at, I was one of the smaller guys. One dude that we nicknamed "House" was only 5'10", but tipped the scales at over 300 lbs. Strongest bastard I've ever met. Two other guys went on to compete in Strongman competitions, and several were football players.

Whole crew respected each other though, regardless of size. What matters most is having your shit in order, and being a stand-up kind of guy.


I'm 6'8" 230, and while most of the time people steer clear of me naturally, there are some little assholes that always try to pick a fight... Now, granted I dispatch them easily, I'm wondering for the past/current bouncers, do ya'll get the same thing?


I bounced in college. The bigger the better for the deterent effect as far as I'm concerned. I was about 240ibs in college and strong. About 6'. I was mid size for a Jersey shore bar.

Learn one or two good holds such as a wrist lock. Alwyas grab the arms up high by the triceps or biceps when the fighting starts. Try to make sure you got one fighter on your team (boxer). And never ever get physical with a real boxer pro or amatuer.

As long as the place has a team and not just one or two guys your proably OK.


I put myself through college by bouncing. I was 6', 270lbs. I was the second smallest guy on the team.

I have seen excellent bouncers who are around the 200lbs - 220lbs mark. The really have to make up for what they lack in size. Whether that be by being insanely strong, a pit fighter, or by having excellent social skills depends on the person and the environment they are working in.

For example - good social skills works at the local college bar, it doesn't work at the local biker bar. All the lighter guys had a "presence" about them, and reputations as excellent workers.


An asshole is an asshole no matter your size, man. :wink: One of the guys I worked with was 6'8" and 380... just a hulking brute. Nice guy. Does the strongman circut up here now.

Jamie and I often worked the back of the bar, on opposite corners of the dancefloor. When he was bored, he'd flag me over and get me to go in and talk to the people 'cause he knew that if they were going to go quietly, they'd go with me... and if they were looking for a fight, they'd swing at me. I was big enough so that someone could look tough by taking me down, but not so big that my size was a deterrent.

There's always one in the crowd.

Bikers hung out in the second bar I worked in: Satan's Choice (big up here, merged with Hell's Angels a few years back) used to hang in the back corner every Friday night, like clockwork. So long as they were left alone, or given respect when dealt with, things were cool. Every now and again one of the university jackasses (two in town, one known for knuckleheaded football players) would try to look tough by eyeballing one of the Choice, or sometimes even lipping off.

Yeah, you can guess how that would end.


I hear what you guys are saying.

I freely admit, like I did in my original post, that I am by no means "big". However, compared to the average schlub that frequents college clubs, I am no doubt physically superior.

I guess my main concern is that I don't want to make myself look like a fuckin clown trying to get a job at "only" 200 lbs.

So, based on the fact that I am 5'11 at 200 lbs, 8% BF, and have an extensive background in athletics along with good social skills, should I pursue this?


In my opinion, at that height and that weight, you wouldn't intimidate even one person. I have been approached to bounce at certain parties when I was in Texas. They would see me working out in the gym and ask me to do it so I have had the experience even though it was never a regular job. They are going to pick someone who, either through height or size or both, stands out and will deter a fight to begin with most of the time. You may be "big" compared to the average nonlifter, but you aren't exactly that tall or big enough to fit that role. That doesn't mean no one your size ever did it before. It just means from what I have seen, they would go for someone else.


try it- what the fuck do you have to lose? basically you've read everyone's post- you know what a bouncer requires for a job (size, skills, etc). approach the owner and tell him why you feel you meet the requirements. if he says no, so. what.



I was about a buck eighty when I had my first job as a bouncer, at 18 or19 years old.

I also had a silver medal in the state martial arts tournament and was captain of my University's Rugby Team...

Your job isn't to win fights as a bouncer...you're job is to keep them from happening and stop them if they do. Size shouldn't be much of a concern...generally you're stopping patrons from fighting, not fighting them personally.

If they are trying to fight you and not each other, then you're probably not cut out to be a bouncer, no matter how big you are.


When I was bouncing I only weighed about 200 pounds, at 6'2". It was at a university bar, fairly upper class and generally white- so we had drunken and stoned idiots, but no real bad-asses. Having some martial arts skills helped, but basically I was not hit by a patron- even once. A few tried but they were too drunk to connect. Having a crew is very important- I would not work anywhere alone. I was usually the smallest on the crew but had the best inter-personal skills. Most small bouncers have 'mad skills' in some fighting discipline. Your first weapon is your awareness. Your second is your mouth. Then it's physical. It was easy money, a way to meet lots of people, I got fed by the club as well as paid, and it kept me out of trouble on a Friday night. I would say give it a try, but do some martial arts, and shaving your head is a good way to add to your 'intimidation' factor.


I personally have never seen someone that small working as a bouncer. I guess it all depends on where you live. In Texas, you would have been tested on a regular basis depending on the club.


Very true...but it depends on the shape of his head.


I have been a bouncer and bodyguard for about 14 years and am currently working only on the weekends for fun and to maintain my security license, for when the massage work is slow.
I am 5'11 and even thougth most of the guys coming into the clubs are bigger than I am there is no problem most of the best bouncers have been shorter than me.
Sure you need to be able to handle yourself, but you also need to know how to deal with people, we are not hired thugs we are proffessionals hired to maintain peace and to protect staff and patrons.
I try to be like a Maitre'd at an 5 star restruant even when working in bikerbars, if you treat people with respect and dont do the tougth guy act you will have less problems.
But you must know how to handle yourself if a fight does breakout, the first few weeks will be your proving ground, when the wannabe tougth guys will try to see what your made out of. deal with them quickly and efficently.
I usualy mingle and help the bar staff out by picking up empties it keeps the place clean removes weaponry and gets you in with the crowd without seeming out of place.
If you dont have real confidence in beingt able to deal with the situation dont do that job you will only put yourself and your workmates in danger.


Well, I'm 5'6" and was about 195 when I bounced in New Orleans. I worked at a strip club and a country bar. Of course the bars I worked usually had a bunch of huge guys too, but your attitude and fighting experience counts too. At the time I was big into Ju-jitsu and judo and didn't hesitate to scrap with a big guy. Although if they were Prof X size I might would have to use the magic slapjack or the old ASP baton trick to get things under control.

good luck


I agree. Having a tight crew and good people skills under stress is important. I never made much money, but I hooked up with more girls in a week than I had in my entire life previous to being a bouncer.


Same here. 5'7" 210 and bounced all through college. Never had a problem. The ones Prof X size were always the easy going drunks who would actually back me up in a fight. In my experience the ones who cause trouble were 5'5"-5'9" and about 140-165 soaking wet. The alcohol made them feel bigger and tougher. And the occasional cat fight. Greatest job to meet girls. Like a rock star or something.

         good luck