T Nation

Raw, Natural Bench Press

This may have been answered a million times but I am looking for the weights that a Raw ( IE no Bench Shirt) and Natural (IE no Super Soldier Serum) Bench Presser would use to be considered Strong or Super Strong.

In order to decide if you’re strong or super strong on the bench press (or anything for that matter), you must figure out what your bench in weights is compared to your overall body weight. If someone bench presses 400 lbs. but weighs 300 lbs. then he isn’t strong. I would say if you can bench press 2x your bodyweight than your strong and 2.5x or more your bodyweight than your super strong. Just my opinion though.

Typically, 150-175% of bodyweight would be considered strong, 180%-200% is very strong, and over 200% is super strong. There are people that bench 250-300% of bodyweight, but the vast majority are juicing. I have been in a couple of competitions where anyone benching 200% of bodyweight was tested immediately after the lift. Use of a bench shirt adds 5-10% onto a raw lift. No standard though.

This asian guy at the gym weighs only 152 pounds but can bench 250, with his feet up in the air (what are the advantages of having your feet up anyway?). The guy looks huge, when he told me he’s only 152 i couldn’t believe it.
I haven’t seen him try any more than 250, but i’m sure if he really pushed himself he could get to 300 one day.

I agree with Scott and JRR. Twice your body weight is a good start to decide if you are strong.

I have a friend who competes in Olympic Weightlifting. He was once a powerlifter in high school and college. He is about 5’3" and 154lbs. I have seen him easily bench press 365 at 32 years of age. He usually benches once a week for sets of five up to his heaviest weight. He rarely does any other chest and tricep work.

He actually holds a record for doing 409lb at 148lb (back in college). He is a genetic freak!

Strong relative to what? That’s 99% of
the answer to your question.

If you mean strong relative to fellow, meet-winning competitive powerlifters,
then that’s a whole lot different
than strong relative the better guys in
your gym, which in turn is a whole
lot different than strong relative to
the average guy on the street.

Relative to the average guy on the
street, you are strong if you can bench
press your bodyweight.

Relative to the better guys in your gym,
you are strong if you can bench 1.5 times
your bodyweight.

Relative to successful powerlifters, depending
on what level of competition you’re talking
about, you are reasonably (but not by any
means unusually) strong at 2 time your
bodyweight.

However all this is pointless really. What
you can do depends on your particular body
structure and points of attachment. If your
insertions are close to the joint, which
gives you an advantage of high speed, this
inherently limits the force you can generate,
while if the insertions are far from the
joint, you have great leverage for force
but not for speed. You will see guys with
bird chests, 13" arms, no shoulders, no neck,
no traps, no nothing, doing strict reps of 8
with 225 with ease. I’ve even seen that kind
of guy doing about 275. You will also see
much better built guys with arms, chest,
etc. who lift less. Which is better, being
the bird-guy who can lift double bodyweight
but doesn’t look like he even lifts weights
at all, or looking like a Greek god but benching
only bodyweight due to having attachments
favoring speed not force? Depends on your
priorities.

Hey Nate, did your friend actually do powerlifting for his college or did he do it while in college. the reason i ask is that i am a senior in highschool right now and do powerlifting for my school, but i was told that in college they do not have powerlifting, olympic lifting, or anything like that for the school. if there is though i think i will have a lot better chance of getting into some of the better colleges. Thanks - Nic

Also, to answer the original question at my level (highschool) the top guys in the state bench about 175% their body weight, but their are very very few that can do 200%. These are without bench shirts though and supposedly clean but since they do no drug tests (which i think is complete bullshit) some of the top guys could actually be on something. Keep in mind though that age is a big factor. At this level there is nobody over 19 years old.

I agree with Bill. Other factors maybe not mentioned are: 1)Form—I see quite a few guys who can bench 315 and more. Most have their asses off the bench or bounce the weight. That bench is bullshit. 2) Steroids—A 400 bencher on juice is a 335-350 bencher off the juice.

Nic, even though many meets are purportedly “natural”, I can tell ya, many of the competitors are not.

The “juice/benching” question is an interesting
one. So far as how many pounds the bench goes up, 15-20% is reasonable, but that’s with bodyweight going up too. If staying in the
same weight class and maintaining same
bodyfat, anabolics do less; or in
terms or improving percent bodyweight,
also less. I am not sure since normally
bodyweight goes up of course. I recall
Poliquin saying he thinks it is 10%
when viewed from that perspective.

Bill, in that vain. I know some powerlifters use certain anabolics to increase strength, but do not necessarily put on too much BW. Which would those be?

Halotestin, trenbolone, and methyltestosterone
are felt to have strong CNS effect and so
can give an increase in performance without
requiring much increase in muscle mass: but
so far as I know everything that is effective
that way also can add mass. Of course, you
can stop adding mass simply by limiting
diet :wink: