Of all the exercises out there, the bench press seems to have permeated into the mainstream culture more so than any other.
“How much do you bench?”
That’s a question anyone who’s even remotely serious about working out will have heard or, more likely, even been asked themselves.
What if we changed the question, though?
What if it became “How much SHOULD you bench” instead?
Many lifters seem to have set a benchmark—excuse the pun—of 225 lbs as the number representing success on the bench press.
Today I’m going to look at why that is and what a realistic goal to target with your bench press actually is.
What Percentage Of Guys Can Actually Bench 225 lbs?
While there is no conclusive evidence on what percentage of the population can actually bench the illusive 225, a number of studies have been done and seem to place it around the 10% mark of active lifters.
You then have to consider that men only make up half of the population, and, according to studies, just over half of them regularly work out. That means that, when you break it down, you’re looking at a number closer to 3-4% of the population that can actively achieve the feat.
If that’s making you hesitant about trying to hit 225 yourself, don’t let it.
I’m not saying it isn’t an achievable goal. It will just take a lot of hard work and dedication.
What About Women?
I also know there will be some of you reading this thinking I’ve assumed no women can achieve the feat, which is also not the case.
Without including women, the percentage would have been 2-3% instead.
The fact is, women will have more of a struggle to hit this number than men. Hence they make up a smaller portion of the percentage.
This is due to two reasons.
Firstly, the average man is naturally bigger and stronger than the average woman. This obviously won’t always be the case but in general, our bodies are bigger, heavier, and more powerful.
This brings us to the second point, that men are naturally heavier than women.
If you watch any strongman competition, the taller and heavier guys usually dominate. This is because of how much you weigh directly impacts your strength.
This same reasoning again makes men more likely to outlift their female counterparts.
How Much Should You Weigh To Bench 225 lbs?
OK, so I’ve said that weight often directly correlates to strength, and now I’m guessing there are a few of you wondering how much you should weigh if you want to hit that milestone.
Now, before I give you that number, I want to make clear that it’s not definitive. I’m not saying if you weigh less than that it won’t be possible, it will just be more challenging.
There are also a few other factors that could affect things, such as:
How Much Of Your Body Weight Is Lean Muscle
You could weigh well over the specific weight, but if you have very little muscle mass and the majority of your weight is fat, you will still be unlikely to possess the strength required for such a lift.
How Tall You Are
This point is similar to the one above.
If you’re 7 ft tall, you’re naturally going to be heavier, as there is just more of you. Bones, organs, and tissue are all heavy, but if you haven’t built a solid amount of muscle, the weight of your frame won’t be able to help you make the lift on its own.
The Proportions Of Your Body
The bench press is a completely upper body exercise. Your chest, triceps, and shoulders will be doing almost all the lifting.
We’ve all seen athletes like footballers—or soccer players, for our American readers—that have huge legs but substantially smaller upper bodies.
This will make them heavier overall but the muscle mass in their legs will be of little use to them during a bench press.
The Real Answer
Now that we’ve got all that out the way, the recommended target used to gauge strength on a bench press is the ability to press 1.5 times your bodyweight.
That means that with a solid amount of muscle mass, a 225 lbs bench press is a realistic target for people with a bodyweight of 150 lbs.
Hopefully, that number should have put some of your fears to bed, as that is an average size for a grown man and by no means out of reach for female lifters either.
How Long Does It Take to Bench 225 lbs?
OK, so you’ve cleared all the hurdles so far, and now you’ve likely got one question before you decide you’re going to go for it, how long is it going to take?
Again, this is a hard question to answer. It will depend on a number of factors such as your starting point, how hard/often you train, and your diet.
For argument’s sake, let’s say that you’re in reasonable shape and have your training and diet down, as those should really be your priorities before targeting a goal like this.
The average man can bench 135 lbs when he begins working out, which gives us 90 lbs we need to add to hit our target.
Most studies have an increase of 10-15 lbs per month on your bench press as a realistic aim. That gives us a timeline of anywhere from 6-9 months to achieve our goal.
For women, the average bench press is 80 lbs, so using the same formula, we have a target of 10-15 months.
Is a 225 lbs Bench Press Good?
When you take everything into account, there’s a reason 225 is the gold standard for the bench press.
It’s a realistic goal that shouldn’t be out of anyone’s reach if they want to obtain it, but one that will take a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve.
The timescales I listed may seem long to some of you, but nothing happens overnight when it comes to adapting your body.
Don’t worry if you can’t hit this target either.
You can still build a good physique with lower numbers. One of the best things about bodybuilding and weightlifting is that your main competition is yourself.
That being said, if you do want to do it, why not get started today? You absolutely can do it, you’ve just got to be willing to put in the time and work.
Check out our review of the Athlean-X AX-1 Training System to see if this is the program that’ll help you fast-track that 225-pound bench!