The question, “How much should I be able to bench?” shouldn’t really fill you with worry that you’re not benching enough, as long as you’re working on your fitness goals and striving to progress and improve as time goes by.
That said, it’s only natural to be curious about your “bench press number.”
So… how much can you bench?
It’s something you’re bound to be asked sooner or later along your fitness journey.
Although the number obviously varies from person to person, there are some ways for you to figure out how much you should be able to bench right now.
The average guy can bench press 135 pounds, but there are other factors that can help you hone in on a more specific number, so let’s take a look at a table featuring factors such as weight, experience, age, and gender.
How Much Should I Be Able To Bench?
Here’s a table that outlines the average weight that men should be able to bench, based on their experience level and age.
Age (if he weighs 120lbs)
An untrained guy will be able to bench 135 pounds right off the bat.
Someone with a few months of experience with lifting should be able to bench 175 pounds, an intermediate lifter will be able to bench 215 pounds, and an advanced trainer will be able to bench 290 pounds. (Livestrong)
● A 20-something guy should be able to do one rep max with 106% of his body weight. So, if he weighs 120 pounds, this would be around 127lbs.
● A 30-something guy should do one rep max with 93% of his body weight, which is 112lbs.
● A 40-something guy should be able to do one rep max with 88% of his body weight, which is 106lbs.
● A 50-something guy should be able to do one rep max with 75% of his body weight, which translates into 90 lbs. (Livestrong)
It makes sense that someone who trains regularly will lift more – and not just when it comes to benching.
Doing other exercises, like floor dumbbell presses, will help to increase fitness level and boost muscle growth, which will help one progress to benching heavier weight.
Let’s now take a look at the same table for women.
Age (if she weighs 100lbs)
An untrained woman will be able to bench 80 pounds.
A woman with a few months of experience should be able to bench 95 pounds, an intermediate lifter should lift 115 pounds, and an advanced trainer will be able to bench 145 pounds (Livestrong)
● A 20-something woman should do one rep max with 65% of her body weight, which is 65 lbs.
● A 30-something woman should do one rep max with 57% of her body weight. This would be 57lbs.
● A 40-something woman should do one rep max with 52% of her body weight, which would be 52lbs.
● A 50-something woman should be able to do one rep max with 46% of her body weight, which is 46lbs. (Livestrong)
Body Weight Vs. Experience Level
Which one is more important?
They both have their place, and to figure out your bench-pressing number you can actually consider both body weight and experience level in the same equation to get a more accurate picture of the bench-pressing standard.
A man who weighs 165 pounds and who doesn’t have experience with lifting should be able to lift 120 pounds, while a guy of the same weight who’s at an intermediate level of fitness should lift 185 pounds, and an athlete of the same weight should be able to lift 320 pounds.
As for women, the standards are a little different.
A woman who weighs 165 pounds and doesn’t have any experience should be able to lift 80 pounds, a woman of the same weight with experience who’s at an intermediate level should be able to lift 115 pounds, and a woman who’s an athlete will be aiming for 185 pounds, as Livestrong explains.
Looking At The Gender Differences
If you’re wondering why the differences between men and women are quite significant when it comes to bench pressing, this is down to how men (generally) tend to be able to lift heavier loads than women.
There are some important reasons for this.
Research published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology found that men have greater strength due to having larger muscle fibers.
Men also have slightly stronger muscles than women – about five to 10 percent stronger, in fact – according to The New Rules of Lifting for Women by author Lou Schuler.
This contributes to them being able to bench more.
There are also differences concerning upper body strength as a result of how women have a lower proportion of lean tissue distributed throughout their upper body.
Of course, all this shouldn’t stop women from benching like the rest and best! Perhaps the answer to the question, “How much should I be able to bench?” really is “Anything I want!”
Are you ever too old to bench?
Age is nothing but a number when it comes to fitness.
While people under the age of 13 shouldn’t be lifting heavy weights, there’s no upper age limit for benching.
It’s still important to consider that recovery times will slow down a bit with age and know not to push beyond your personal limit.
Why should you bench regularly?
Don’t ask “How much should I be able to bench?” Ask, “Why not?”
The bench press is a great chest workout, but it also targets the forearms, triceps, shoulders, pecs, rhomboids, and trapezius muscles.
When you do it with correct form, it’s also great for your hips, legs, and lower back.