How Much Should I Be Able To Bench

The question, “How much should I be able to bench?” shouldn’t really fill you with worry that you’re not doing 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 weight should you try?

It’s something you’re bound to be asked sooner or later along your fitness journey and you want to be able to give them a number that meets bench press standards. 

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 bench press for a male is 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?

Man Doing Bench Press

Here’s a table that outlines the weight that an average man should be able to perform, based on their experience level and age.

Experience Level

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 do 5 pounds, and an advanced trainer will be able to bench 290 pounds. (Livestrong)

Age (if he weighs 120lbs)

It makes sense that someone who trains regularly will lift more – and not just when it comes to bench pressing. 

Doing other exercises, like floor dumbbell presses, will help to increase fitness level and boost muscle growth, which will help one progress to the bench pressing standards. Additionally taking supplements such as beta alanine will help as well since it will help you build more muscle.

Let’s now take a look at the same table for the average woman.

Experience Level

An untrained woman will be able to bench press 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 press 145 pounds (Livestrong)

Age (if she weighs 100lbs)

Body Weight Vs. Experience Level - Bench Press Standards

Which one is more important?

They both have their place, and to figure out the bench-pressing number you can actually consider both bodyweight and experience level in the same equation to get a much more accurate picture of the bench-pressing standard.

For Men

Man Exercising

An average man who weighs 165 pounds and who doesn’t have experience with lifting should be able to lift 120 pounds.  Now a guy of the same weight who’s at an intermediate level of fitness should lift 185 pounds. An elite athlete of the same weight should be able to lift 320 pounds.

For Women

Woman Doing Bench Press

As for the average woman, the bench press standards are a little different. 

A woman who weighs 165 pounds and doesn’t have any experience should be able to lift 80 pounds. Someone of the same weight with experience who’s at an intermediate level should be able to lift 115 pounds. Finally, an elite athlete will be aiming for 185 pounds, as Livestrong explains.

Looking At The Bench Press & The Gender Differences

If you’re wondering why the differences between the average man and woman are quite significant when it comes to bench pressing, this is down to how men (generally) tend to be able to lift heavier weight than women. 

There are some reasons for this.

Larger Muscle Fibers

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 press more.

Lean Tissue in Upper Body

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 working it like the rest and best! Perhaps the answer to the question, “How much weight should I be able to bench?” really is “Anything I want!”

Too Old? Never!

Elderly Weightlifter

Age is nothing but a number when it comes to fitness. With the proper form, bench press no matter how old you are.  Strength is important at all ages, especially as we get older.

While people under the age of 13 shouldn’t be lifting heavy weights, there’s no upper age limit for this exercise. In fact, when we perform weight training it promotes bone density something we lose as we age.

It’s still important to consider that recovery times will slow down a bit with age and make sure not to push beyond your personal limit. 

Why Should You Bench Press Regularly?

Don’t ask “How much should I be able to lift?” 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 proper form, it’s also great for your hips, legs, and lower back.

The bench press is also a great example of an exercise that promotes our functional fitness.  We build up the muscles in our chest and back and shoulders, which enables us to be able to do the heavy lifting around the house. 

How do you Perform an Average Bench Press?

Next time you are at the gym, go ahead and check out the bench press.  Even if you can only do one rep, you are already stronger for it.  Don’t expect to be able to lift your bodyweight.  The best thing about doing 1 rep, is that pretty soon you will be on your way to 5 reps and then 10.  Follow the steps below the next time you visit the gym to perform a proper bench press.

Get to the Gym

Now that you know all of the details behind what the average man and woman can bench press, it’s time to try it out yourself.  Remember no need to press your body weight.  Do what you can with your personal goals and make sure you have good technique.

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