One million people…
Yeah, that is the exact number of people (well…give or take a few thousand based on our statistical analysis) in the United States who can bench press 225 pounds.
225 pounds is significant number in the wonderful world of bench pressing and joining the “2 Plates Club” is a goal that all lifters should strive for.
…and if you want the best program for hitting 225 (fast!) check out the legendary Westside Barbell’s Bench Press Manual (you can thank me later!)
I hit a 225-pound bench press during my sophomore year of high school. In college, I regularly took part in “NFL Combine-esque” 225-pound bench press for reps competitions. I still love the awe and aura that arise while watching a strong guy rep out 225 or the giddiness of watching a young lifter hit 225 for the first time.
Today, we’re going to talk about some 225-bench press BENCHmarks (zing!) to let you know where your 225-pound bench press stacks up or how to get there if you’re not quite there yet.
Table of Contents
How Much Should You Bench for Your Bodyweight?
This question is difficult to answer without a bit more context.
In this case, by “context”, I mean “muscle mass vs. body fat”.
A bigger guy by virtue of having more overall weight and, more specifically, more “good weight” on him should bench press more than a smaller guy. However, the larger the difference in body weight between two men, the more difficult it is to make these types of comparisons.
To simplify things, put two guys in the same weight class in a powerlifting meet and they will be judged the same, regardless of body fat percentage.
However, we generally expect less from the man who is 30% body fat than from the man who is 8% percent body fat.
So we’re back to the drawing board.
Thankfully, powerlifting coaching legend Mark Rippetoe has established a series of strength standards for all major lifts. We actually used these in our calculation of squat and front squat standards (check these out…you’re not skipping leg day…are you?) as well as in our discussion on deadlift standards/”how much should I be able to deadlift?”
These numbers are based off of his decades of experience as a competitive lifter and training professional. They can be used as baselines for strength levels at different weights.
As we can see on the chart, there is a very wide variance in bench press strength levels. The lightest, least-experienced lifters do not break into the double digits. Meanwhile, experienced big guys are benching close to a quarter ton.
In the context of the 225-pound bench press, only men who have an intermediate level of experience are able to lift this much weight. Since most men are lower-than-intermediate lifters, a 225-pound bench press is above average.
For advanced and elite lifters, a 225-pound bench press is expected for all but the lightest male lifters. At the higher levels, experience is significantly more important than body weight.
When determining how much you should bench be able to bench, take your lifting experience into consideration. If you are brand new to lifting, you should expect to bench significantly less than someone of the same body weight who has been lifting for 10 years.
Use these standards as a guide and aim to beat these numbers for your bodyweight and experience level!
How Many People Can Bench 225 In the United States?
I made my 1,000,000 call and now I have to show my cards. Thankfully, I have a few graphics and some trusty statistics to help me prove my claim!
And there you have it! Einstein couldn’t refute these equations!
How Many Men Can Bench 225 Around the World?
Due to size, diet, and training differences, it is difficult to come up with universal averages for the bench press for all the men of the world. However, we can get a rough idea, using data on strength statistics and bodyweight averages for men in the United States and other countries.
The average man in the United States weighs 198 pounds.
We know that there are almost 1,000,000 men in the United States who can bench press 225 pounds. We also know that there is a correlation between weight and bench press strength.
Now let’s take a look at the average weights of men in a few other select countries:
From here, we can divide the average weight of the men in each of these countries (155.6, 188.3, etc.) by the average weight of men in the Unites States (198). Next, we take this result and multiply it by the male population of each country.
What are we left with? The approximate number of men in each country who can bench 225 pounds.
Bench press calculators do not account for cultural differences so these numbers are rough. Regardless, one can expect bench press averages to be higher for men in the Unites States and the United Kingdom than in other countries.
Is it Impressive to Bench Press 225?
A 225 pound bench press is nothing to scoff at and takes a bit of dedicated training for anyone who is able to PR a couple of plates on each side. For lighter men and for most women, bench pressing 225 pounds is likely going to turn quite a few heads.
Even for larger men, a 225-pound bench press is more of sign of dedication than of pure strength. Somebody who has a 225 bench press has put in the work and one day may be able to put up some seriously impressive weight.
How many people can bench 225 pounds at the Globo gym? Kind of a lot
Stepping into any Globo gym you’re likely to see multiple people bench press 225 pounds (or more) over the course of an hour-long gym session. This doesn’t trivialize the significance of benching 225 pounds, but shows that it is by no means an uncommon feat of strength.
225 Bench Press at the NFL Combine
Of course, there are some major outliers when it comes to bench press strength. Professional athletes, particularly those striving to play in the National Football League are renowned for being incredibly strong.
Every year, prospective NFL players put their skills to the test during a battery of tests completed during the NFL Combine
The 40-yard dash has historically been the most popular and most “glamorous” of the Combine tests. However, the 225-pound bench press test best displays the sheer power these men possess.
Each participant takes a shot at bench pressing 225 pounds as many times as possible.
As expected, athletes in historically “bigger” positions (offensive and defensive linemen) get more reps than those in “smaller” positions (running backs, safeties, linebackers) who get more reps than the smallest athletes (wide receivers, cornerbacks, quarterbacks, kickers, punters).
Generally, even the lightest wide receivers are able to get 7 or 8 repetitions while linemen regularly surpass 40 repetitions!
So…how many people can bench 225 in the NFL?
How long does it take until you can bench 225?
Benching “two plates” is no small feat and joining the 225 bench press club is cause for celebration. I remember when I first put up 225. I had worked up to the weight little by little and had a 25, a 10, and a couple of 5s on each side.
A 225-pound bench press is a 225-pound bench press, though and I was glad that my work over the previous 3 years finally paid off.
3 years…in hindsight seems like kind of a long time!
Consider that I started to weight train for high school football halfway through seventh grade. I had just turned 13, had a rudimentary weight set, and didn’t even know I had to touch my chest for the rep to count for another year and a half.
(thanks for letting that slide for all that time, Dad…)
I didn’t touch an Olympic-sized barbell until I was almost 15 and my first year of high school weight training was almost completely self directed. With all of that not working in my favor, I’m actually kind of proud that it only took me that long to bench that much!
During this time period, my bodyweight “ballooned” up from 115 pounds to about 155. That being said, I’ve never been one of the biggest guys in the gym. Somebody starting with more bodyweight to work with, all things being equal, will progress much faster than I did.
If you’re big enough and naturally athletic, you might be sitting at a 225-pound bench press without even realizing it!
Even if you’re not quite benching 225 yet, with a dedicated training program where you regularly bench (like Starting Strength or 5/3/1), it shouldn’t take too long to bench 225. If you’re an average-sized man in the United States, this is somewhere in the 1-2 year range.
I don’t mind that it took me closer to 3 years to bench 225. Once you hit a 225-pound bench press, you won’t mind either!
Tips to get to hit a 225 bench press
If you happen to weigh over 300 pounds and have some athletic experience, you might be able to look at 225 pounds and bench it on your first try.
This isn’t most people; don’t feel bad if it takes you a little more effort.
The bench press is primarily a chest movement so working on strengthening the large muscles of the chest is the most effective way to bench press 225 pounds. Heavy barbell work and dumbbell work that hits the mid chest, upper chest, and lower chest provides the most “bang” for your training “buck”.
Of course, your chest is not the only body part involved in your bench press. You can put up much bigger bench press numbers by strengthening your triceps and even your shoulder muscles. All of these muscles are in play as you grasp the barbell in your hands, lower with your arms to your chest, and push it away from your body.
If hitting 225 for that one magical repetition is your main goal, low-repetition sets will do wonders for you. The muscle endurance benefits from higher-rep sets will not be as beneficial to your one repetition PR. If one day you decide that you would like to take part in the NFL combine someday, working on big sets with 225 pounds will be in your best interest!
You can do more than simply strengthening your muscles and preparing your body for the rigors of the 225 bench press. Perfecting your form and technique can go a long way to helping you to reach this milestone.
Experiment with your hand placement on the barbell and find the width that is the most conducive to your pushing strength.
If you are only concerned with locking 225 out, any way possible, you can also look into different levels of back arch to assist you.
Generally, the higher you arch your back off of the bench, the less distance the bar has to travel to make initial contact with your chest. A higher arch also greatly reduces the distance you must push the barbell away from you to lock out the lift.
In recent years, some powerlifting federations have banned excessive back arch. If you are planning to compete, you should check with your preferred federations (be sure to check out what their weight classes are, too!) before you devote a significant amount of training time to perfecting it.
The most important tip for achieving a 225-pound bench press is to train in a consistent and focused manner. You will want to follow a program designed for linear strength development and to closely track your progress. By paying close attention to your progress, you can make regular increases and adjustments to your training weights.
Even if your weight increases are relatively light, they quickly add up over time. Consider starting with a bench press personal record of 100 pounds. Even if you only add 5 pounds to your max every month, you will achieve a 225 bench press in just over 2 years of training.
Add 10 pounds per month and your new 225 pound PR will make you proud after a year’s worth of training!
Frequently Asked Questions
Hitting a 225 bench press is a big deal. Let’s look at some of other burning questions you probably have about this feat of upper-body strength:
Assuming most of your weight is “good” weight, the more you weigh, the better your chances of benching 225. I don’t suggest “dirty bulking” or eating a bunch of crap solely to gain weight to make benching 225 easier. However, a 250-pound man is almost always going to hit a 225-pound bench press faster than a 125-pound man.
Once you achieve a 225 pound bench press, you can continue your training progression as desired. In the coming months, you will likely start having working sets during training where you have to hit 225 for 2 or more repetitions. At this point, your max bench press will likely be slightly higher and you’ll write “225” into your training log for “sets” as opposed to as a “PR”.
Go Hit A 225 Pound PR in Your Garage!
A 225 bench press is a worthy training goal to shoot for. It is attainable for just about all men, but is challenging enough that it will take some time to achieve.
Thankfully, almost all beginner powerlifting programs require few equipment items and minimal space. There is no better place to train for a 225-pound bench press than your garage or home gym.
Especially when you have the Bench Press Manual to guide you!
There is no better place to ultimately hit your PR, either!
To close…you’ve heard it 1,000 times before, but I’ll say it again:
“Don’t skip leg day!”
We’ve been over the bench press standards and now that I’ve made you feel self-conscious about your legs, it’s time to check out the back squat and front squat standards. You’ll never skip leg day again!