Health & Fitness

How Much Should I Be Able to Bench Dilemma – Answered

The bench press is a staple in the weightlifting arena. Although we pride ourselves in always focusing on our own capabilities and striving to beat our personal bests, we also can’t help pushing ourselves even more when we notice the guy on the bench next to us lifting more weight than we are able to. We are competitive by nature, and, in this instance, competitiveness is a healthy way to improve our numbers. It is important, however, to bench press correctly and safely. It is equally essential to answer the question: How much should I be able to bench press? The weight amounts vary according to different factors. This article will detail these points.

How Much Should I Be Able to Bench Press

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How To Bench Press

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced athlete, knowing the basic rules to bench pressing will ensure that you reach your optimal goal weight.

  • Start by lying flat on the bench. Your feet should be planted firmly on the ground. Make sure the bench fits your shoulder width. If you choose a bench that is too narrow, it will be unstable. A bench that is too wide can prevent the proper movement of the upper arm.
  • Extend your arms straight out to the sides and then bend the elbows. Bring your hands up to the bar so that they are shoulder-width apart. Hand placement determines which muscle group you work more. For example, if you narrow your grip, you will engage the triceps more.
  • Lift the bar off the rack and position it above the middle of your chest. The bar should then be lowered toward the chest while inhaling. Exhale as you lift the weight back up.

The following video showcases a weightlifting expert demonstrating common mistakes and key points to follow, so that you can bench press correctly.

How Much Should I Be Able to Bench

Anyone that already lifts weights or is interested in starting wants to know: How much should I be able to bench press? There are a variety of considerations that dictate feasible weight goals.

Body Weight To Bench Press Ratio

Body weight is a crucial component in determining these goals, however, age and skill level also play a role. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following parameters for males:

  • Age 24- Body Weight of 170 – Presses – approx. 105% of BW
  • Age 33- Body Weight of 180 – Presses – approx. 75% of BW
  • Age 46- Body Weight of 183 – Presses – approx. 70% of BW
  • Age 53- Body Weight of 187 – Presses – approx. 65% of BW

Some recommendations for males that incorporate skill level include:

  • If you are a beginning lifter (less than a year of training) you should be able to bench press 80 percent of your body weight.
  • If you are an intermediate lifter (training between nine months and two years) you should be able to bench press 95 to 100 percent of your body weight.
  • If you are an advanced lifter (training for several years or more with stringent goals) you should be able to bench press 130 percent of your body weight.

Important Note on “How Much Should I Bench”

It is crucial to recognize that these are general guidelines and are not one-size-fits-all. Other factors need to be considered in addition to these recommendations.

Injuries play a significant role in regulating your capacity to achieve your goals. Diet and overall health also affect outcomes. Protein is comprised of amino acids which are the building blocks of muscles, so a diet consisting of more protein may boost muscle growth.

How To Bench Press Safely

There are many things to do and to avoid in order to bench press safely without risk of injury.

Dr. Layne Norton is a coach and avid weightlifter. He discusses the following points to ensure a safe and effective workout.

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing any exercise is ignoring their breathing.

Breathing appropriately during any workout maximizes the benefits of that workout. The same is true when bench pressing.

Dr. Norton says that inhaling a big breath using your abs before you lower the bar allows the body to push more weight.

One problem among novice lifters is that they tend to bounce the bar off their chests. Dr. Norton warns that this can put excessive pressure on the sternum and may cause your body to be less tight.

Also, many people, of all levels, tend to roll their shoulders forward when lifting the bar. This triggers the shoulder blades to unlock and the feet to move.

Disrupting the positioning of a stable body can lead to injury. Flaring the elbows out while lifting seems like it is easier to lift, but this movement can cause injury to the shoulder.

Using wrist wraps helps keep the wrists vertical, which allows for a more powerful lift.

Sneakers with a good grip help keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, which also adds to the power and improves safety.

Using Common Sense When Bench Pressing

Emergency rooms across the United States have reported an increase in injuries from weight-training incidents by 35% in the past 20 years.

Dr. Jones, associate professor of health sciences at the University of Arkansas reports that a lot of these injuries are a result of carelessness.

One sound rule to follow when bench pressing is to press from a rack and/or have a spotter. This is particularly important when utilizing heavy weights or if you are trying to reach a new goal.

The first few attempts may fail, and it is prudent that someone is behind you ready to help if necessary. Dr. Jones warns that you should start slowly.

Many of us would love to jump right in and bench press over 300lbs without a grunt or groan, but we all know that isn’t reasonable. Building up responsibly is the only way to achieve your goal weight for the bench press.

The more you practice this skill and master the technique, the more weight you will be able to lift.

The next time you ask yourself, how much should I be able to bench press, keep in mind that dedication and grit play a substantial role in determining what you can accomplish with bench pressing.

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