“How much do you bench?” is one of the most common questions you hear in a gym. Why? Because people generally consider benching a critical indicator of strength. But how much should you bench if you weigh 150 pounds?
If you weigh 150, you should at least bench 45 pounds and at most 300 pounds. A woman weighing 150 can bench between 45 to 210 pounds, and a man in similar conditions can bench around 90 to 300 pounds. Generally, men and women can bench up to 2 and 1.7 times their weights, respectively.
Read on to see how much weight you should bench, depending on your conditions. And what factors affect your ability to bench. We also show you how you can increase your bench press weight.
What Should Your Bench Be Compared to Your Weight?
Other than weight, two other factors impact your bench press ability: your gender and fitness or training level.
So, if you’re a man who has just started training, you should be able to bench around 50 to 90 percent of your body weight. But if you’re a woman in a similar condition, you should aim for approximately 20 to 30 percent of your weight.
But, you can improve these numbers with proper training. So, for example, a professional male athlete can bench press as much as twice his weight. This number could be up to 1.7 times for a woman.
In other words, an average man weighing 150 pounds should be able to bench press around 60 to 200 percent of his weight or 90 to 300 pounds, depending on his strength level.
An average woman weighing 150 pounds should bench around 30 to 140 percent of her weight or 45 to 210 pounds depending on her fitness and training level.
Strength Level provides detailed tables on bench press standards based on gender, body weight, and level of training.
Healthline also provides two charts for the average bench a man or woman should be able to do.
In the table below, you can see those numbers for men and women weighing 150.
|Male (150 lbs)||90 – 110||130 -140||170 – 179||235 – 237||290 -300|
|Female (150 lbs)||44 – 75||73 – 90||105 – 113||135 – 161||165 – 210|
Keep in mind that age is another crucial factor. People are generally stronger in their twenties and thirties. So, if you’re older, you might want to tamp down a little on your bench press.
Now that you know how much you should bench, let’s see how you can improve.
How Can You Increase Your Bench Press?
Here’s a list of things you can do to increase your bench press:
1. Adopt an Appropriate Benching Technique
As a person exercising bench press, you should first adopt the proper technique and then try to improve it. To do that, you should consider these tips and tricks.
Maintain Proper Grip
In finding the right grip, you should open your arms until your forearms are vertical to the ground. If you go wider, your shoulders bear too much pressure. You can try a narrower grip if you want to work your triceps more.
For the bar, the best place is on the heel of your hand. Doing this helps you bench in a more stable way.
Don’t try thumbless grip or, in other words, suicide grip even if you see some pros do that. This technique can lead to severe injuries.
Pay Attention to Your Feet’s Position
You can position your feet in two different styles: hold your feet on the floor or elevate your feet and keep your legs at a 90-degree angle. A 2019 study by researchers at the University of Almería showed that the second approach is more efficient and improves your performance.
But keep in mind that the first approach is better for people interested in overall body strength, and the second approach is more suitable for people trying to enhance their upper body muscles.
Another consideration is that adopting the second approach needs some training. So, if you’re a beginner, you shouldn’t start benching with elevated feet right off the bat.
Avoid Flared Out Elbows
Elbows flaring out can cause two issues: reducing your efficiency and increasing the risk of injury. Tucking in elbows too much is also problematic. So, try to maintain a balance that feels the most comfortable.
Arch Your Lower Back a Little
A common misconception is that arching your back during bench press can be harmful. But it’s a valid technique that helps you lift more weight (by shortening the range of motion you go through) and reduces the risk of injury. That’s because, naturally, our lower backs are slightly curved.
2. Boast a Healthy Diet
If you want to improve your bench press, you have to increase your calorie intake with healthy foods. Eat foods containing complex carbs like whole-wheat bread, barley, potato, oatmeal, and beans to build lean muscle.
You should also pay attention to your diet before and after the workout. About one to two hours before the exercise, eat a light meal. But after that, you should eat a meal or drink a shake with high amounts of sugar and protein.
And last but not least, always stay hydrated.
3. Put Alternative Exercises in Your Workout Program
By doing alternative exercises like barbell row, military press, dumbbell pullover, and close-grip pushup, you can enhance your bench press, too. For example, barbell row can build up your latissimus dorsi muscles (aka lats), which help with shoulder and arm movement and support good posture. Therefore, they’re critical muscles in bench pressing. Dumbbell pullovers are another exercise that can help you with your posture.
These exercises are helpful complementary moves that can make your workout sessions more fun and prevent injuries.
4. Do Fewer Reps With Higher Weights Instead of More Reps With Lower Weights
Numerous studies, including a 2016 study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, show that high-intensity training is more effective in strength building than high-volume training.
So, if you want to increase your bench weight, try fewer reps with higher weights instead of more reps with lower weights. For example, instead of doing 12 reps with a 90-pound bench, do five reps with a 140.
5. Consume the Right Supplements
First of all, keep in mind that progress in bench press takes time. But some supplements can speed up your progress. Creatine, whey protein, and collagen are helpful supplements. Watch this video to find out more about the best supplements for bench press gains.
Studies show that creatine can improve athletic performance and increase lean body mass. In a study by the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, participants’ total bench press repetitions increased significantly (14%) after using creatine.
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6. Avoid Overtraining
We fall into the trap of overtraining in two situations. One is when you see you’re not improving according to your expectations; You overtrain because you think trying harder is the way to achieve those goals. However, trying harder may not be the solution. Sometimes resting results in better outcomes.
You may also overtrain because your improvement is better than what you expected. In this situation, you’re motivated to try even harder; You think your goals weren’t ambitious enough. But overtraining is not the answer. You should set reasonable goals and schedule accordingly.
To know whether you’re overtraining, check if you have these symptoms.
7. Rest and Recover
Putting aside at least one day (or better 2 to 3 days) between benching sessions for recovery could positively affect your performance.
Also, don’t forget to get enough sleep. Having a regular good night’s sleep helps you in bench press because your body releases growth hormone during the R.E.M. stage, which helps restore muscle tissue.
The numbers we provided for bench press weights are just estimates. Use them as a starting point to find your ideal number. Consider your age, shape, and gender in this process.
Then, try our recommendations like adopting the proper technique, eating healthy, not overtraining, and taking enough rests to improve your bench weight.
Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API