bench press statistics

13 Interesting Bench Press Statistics And Study Findings For 2022

Are you looking for random (but interesting) bench press information? If you are, then this is the post for you! Because today, I will be sharing 12 bench press statistics and study findings in 2021.

Here’s what I’ve uncovered:

  • Chest training preferences between guys and girls.
  • Heaviest bench press records.
  • Average bench press performances for UK and USA residents.
  • People prefer to bench press using both dumbbells and barbells.
  • Most people prefer to use a full range of bench press motion.
  • Incline bench press activates the upper chest the most.
  • Grip-width affects maximum weight lifted.
  • Bench press activates the chest more than dumbbell flyes.
  • Beetroot juice can increase bench press performance.
  • Foot position during a bench press affects chest activation.

So let’s dive into the numbers!

Interested In Starting Bench Pressing?

If you’re interested in bench presing at home, I use and recommend the Flybird weight bench and PowerBlock Elite adjustbale dumbbells.

I found it to be a cost-effective and convenient way to bench press at home without the space required by a barbell setup!

1. Chest Training Preferences Between Men And Women.

Key Statistic

  • 30% of male gym-goers favour training the chest.
  • In comparison, only 17% of female gym-goers favour training the chest.
  • Males are 13% more likely to train the chest, compared to females.

This Simply Gym Poll asked their website guests which muscle groups they preferred to work out the most.

So how popular are chest workouts between males and females?

pie chart to show male muscle group training preferences at the gym

Almost 30% of men who go to the gym, do so with one thing in mind- to pump their pecs!

Furthermore, the guys at Simply Gym note that their guests favored the bench press to get a good chest workout.

This comes as no surprise, given the bench press is one of the most popular weight lifting exercises to have been invented!

pie chart to show female muscle group training preferences at the gym

The same poll by Simply Gym also revealed that women place less emphasis on working the chest.

According to the poll, only 17% of women who use the gym, prefer to train their chest muscles.

This is rather surprising, given the effectiveness of the bench press as an upper-body exercise.

Simply Gym attributes this finding to the fact that many women are conscious of packing on TOO much muscle.

Indeed, Erica Cordie (professional bodybuilder) feels the same.

She states her reasoning for limiting her bench pressing comes down to the fact that she already has too much muscle in the chest area.

bar chart to show chest training preferences between men and women

Taken together, the results from the Simply Gym poll show that men are 13% more likely to train their chest, compared to women.

This comes as no surprise, considering females find the chest to be one the most attractive male body parts.

If you’re interested, you can check out my other article for V-shaped body workouts you can do at home.

2. The Heaviest 1-Repetition Bench Press.

Key Statistics

  • Will Barotti holds the title of heaviest bench press recorded, as of 2021, at 1105lbs (501.5kg).
  • Tiny Meeker holds the title of second heaviest bench press, at 1102lbs (499.9kg).

Will Barotti | 1,105 lbs Bench Press

The title for heaviest bench press for a single repetition (or 1 rep max) currently belongs to Will Barotti.

Will pressed a gargantuan 1105lbs (501.5kg) at The Metal Militia Powerlifting Federation in June 2020.

This is closely followed by Tiny Meeker’s previous record of 1102lb (499.9kg), which was made at the 2013 Cajun Hardcore Powerlifting Meet.

Note: 1RM refers to 1-rep max. If you don’t know what this is you can go to my other article for a full explanation of RM’s in weight training.

3. Average Bench Press Capabilities According To Age.

Key Statistic

  • The average man can bench press 0.75 to 1.00x of their bodyweight, (depending on age).

So how does the average guy compare to the bench pressing machines mentioned above?

line graph to show bench press capabilities according to age

According to Healthline, the average man can bench press 0.75 to 1.00x their own body weight. And the exact number depends on age (and of course, training level).

As a man, here is how much you should be able to bench press, according to your age:

  • 20-29 years old- 1.00x your body weight.
  • 30-39 years old- 0.90x your body weight.
  • 40-49 years old- 0.80x your body weight.
  • 50-59 years old- 0.75 your body weight.

You can also check out my other article on dumbbell bench press standards.

4. Bench Press Standards For The Average Man And Woman

The average man weighs 200lbs and the average female weighs 170lbs.

Let us also assume that the average person is a beginner.

Knowing this allows us to approximate how much weight the average man and woman should be able to bench press, as follows:

Bench Press VariationAverage Male Beginner StandardsAverage Female Beginner Standards
Barbell flat bench press136lbs51lbs
Barbell incline bench press130lbs41lbs
Dumbbell flat bench press90lbs32lbs
Dumbbell incline bench press108lbs40lbs
Dumbbell weights are for both dumbbells combined.

These standards are based on a single repetition (i.e. 1-rep max) from the Strength Levels database.

5. Average Bench Press Weight Range In The UK.

Key Statistic

  • The average UK male is able to bench press between 122.5lbs (55.6kg) to 310lbs (161.4kg), depending on training level.
  • The average UK female is able to bench press between 42lbs (19.0kg) to 210lbs (95.3kg), depending on training level.

Next, we ask how the average UK resident should perform on the bench press.

To do this, we need to find the average weight of UK residents.

According to the BBC, the average UK male weighs 185lb (84kg).

line chart to show average UK bench press weight

Combining this number with Strength Level’s bench press standards (which comprises 13,354,000 individual bench presses), the average UK male should be able to bench press between 122.5lbs (55.6kg) to 356lbs (161.4kg).

This is clearly a wide range of weight. And the exact weight will vary tremendously depending on his training level.

BodyweightBeginnerNoviceIntermediateAdvancedElite
185lbs122.5lbs168.5lbs224lbs288lbs356lbs
Average UK Male Bench Press Range (1 Rep Max)

The BBC also notes that the average UK female weighs 154lb (70kg).

And this means the average UK female should be able to bench press between 42lbs (19.0kg) to 210lbs (95.3kg), depending on her training level.

BodyweightBeginnerNoviceIntermediateAdvancedElite
154lbs42lbs70.5lbs110lbs157lbs210.5lbs
Average UK Female Bench Press Range (1 Rep Max)

Here are Strength Level’s definitions for training level:

Training LevelCriteria
BeginnerPerson has been weight training for at least 1 month, and can correctly perform the exercise movement.
NovicePerson has been weight training for at least 6 months, and has regularly practiced the exercise movement.
IntermediatePerson has been weight training for at least 2 years, and has regularly practiced the exercise movement.
AdvancedPerson has been weight training for at least 5 years, and is well adapted to the exercise movement.
ElitePerson has been weight training for at least 5 years, and competes in strength competitions.

You can learn how to build a bigger chest with dumbbells in my other article!

6. Average Bench Press Weight Range In The USA.

Key Statistic

  • The average USA male is able to bench press between 136lbs (61.7kg) to 379lbs (171.9kg), depending on training level.
  • The average USA female is able to bench press between 51lbs (23.1kg) to 231lbs (104.8kg), depending on training level.

Next, we ask how the average USA resident should perform on the bench press.

According to Healthline, the average US male weighs 200lb (90kg).

line chart to show average USA bench press weight

And using the same Strength Level bench press standards means the average USA male should be able to bench press between 136lbs (61.7kg) to 379lbs (171.9kg), depending on his training level.

BodyweightBeginnerNoviceIntermediateAdvancedElite
200lbs136lbs184lbs242lbs308lbs379lbs
Average USA Male Bench Press Range (1 Rep Max)

Healthline also notes that the average US female weighs 170lbs.

And this means the average USA female should be able to lift between 51lbs (23.1kg) to 231lbs (104.8kg), depending on her training level.

BodyweightBeginnerNoviceIntermediateAdvancedElite
170lbs51lbs83lbs125lbs175lbs231lbs
Average USA Female Bench Press Range (1 Rep Max)

If you’re trying to gain muscle and strength, then you may be interested in my other article for a complete guide to building 10 pounds of muscle.

7. Free Weight Preference Statistics For Bench Press Training.

Key Statistic

  • 50% of people prefer to alternate between barbells and dumbbells for bench press training.
  • 48% of people prefer to use dumbbells when bench press training.
  • Only 2% of people prefer to exclusively use barbells when bench press training.

The bench press is most commonly performed using free weights- either a barbell or dumbbell.

So which is the most popular free weight for bench pressing?

I tracked down a Reddit poll, which asked users:

Do you prefer using a barbell or dumbbell for bench pressing?

pie chart to show dumbbell or barbell preference for bench press

Out of the 36 total user responses, 18 users (50% of total responses) said they preferred using combining dumbbells AND barbells in their training.

Of the remaining 18 users, 15 (48% of total responses) stated they preferred to use dumbbells. And only 3 (2% of total responses) stated they prefer using barbells.

This isn’t surprising, given the well-known benefits of incorporating variety into weight lifting workouts.

But why did 15 users prefer using dumbbells-only?

The most popular response was that dumbbells allow for a greater range of motion, greater muscle stretch, and better muscle growth stimulus.

If you’re interested, you can check out my other article for a barbell vs dumbbell bench press weight conversion!

8. Bench Press Range Of Motion Preference Statistics

Key Statistics

  • 83% of people perform the bench press with a full range of motion, allowing the weight to reach chest-level before pressing upwards.
  • 17% of people perform the bench press with a half range of motion, allowing the weight to reach the point where the elbows are at a 90° angle before pressing upwards.

There are many different variations of the bench press. Each differs in grip-width, angle, and range of motion.

Range of motion in particular affects which muscles are engaged the most.

A reduced range of motion (i.e. allowing the weight to go half up or half down) shifts emphasis differently between the pectorals and triceps.

Allowing the bar to reach halfway up, before lowering again, will emphasize the pectorals.

In contrast, letting the bar reach halfway down, before pushing the bar, will emphasize the triceps.

Furthermore, a full range of motion (all the way up, all the way down) will maximally engage the pectorals AND triceps.

So how low do people choose to go when bench pressing?

This Bodybuilding poll asked 207 people this exact question.

pie chart to show range of motion preference for bench pressing

According to the results, only 35 people (17%) allow the elbows to reach a 90° angle before pressing up. In other words, a half bench press.

The remaining majority 172 people (83%) allow the weight to fully reach the chest line before pressing up. In other words, a full bench press.

You can check out my other article for more ways to make the bench press more difficult and effective.

9. Incline Bench Press Muscle Activation Statistics.

Key statistic

  • The 30° incline bench press activates the upper chest 30% more than the flat bench press.
  • The 60° incline bench press activates the front shoulders 33% more than the flat bench press.

As you know, there are many bench press variations.

A popular way to add variety to a bench press is by altering the bench press angle. And this is done with the idea being to isolate the contraction to the upper, mid, or lower pectoral muscles (thereby training the different chest regions).

Two of the most popular bench press angles are the flat and incline bench press.

So how do these bench press angles emphasize the different regions of the chest?

A 2020 study sought the answer to this question.

The scientists attached electrodes to the upper, mid, and lower chest of 30 male participants as they bench pressed at different incline angles (0°, 15°, 30°, 45°, and 60°).

This allowed the scientists to measure the muscle activity in the upper, mid, and lower pecs.

And here are the results:

  • 0° flat bench press- activates all three pec regions equally.
  • 30° incline bench press- activates the upper pecs the most (30% more than the flat bench press).
  • 60° incline bench press- activates the front shoulders the most (33% more than the flat bench press).

You can check out my other post to find out how much weight you should be lifting on the incline dumbbell bench press.

A good adjustable bench like this Flybird can be delivered cheaply from Amazon. It’ll allow you to bench press at different angles at home to target your upper chest!

You can check out the full review here!

10. Bench Press Grip-Width Statistics.

Key statistic

  • Wide-grip bench pressing allows 0.8% more weight to be lifted, compared to standard-grip bench pressing.
  • Wide-grip bench pressing allows 5.7% more weight to be lifted, compared to narrow-grip bench pressing.
  • Standard-grip bench pressing allows 4.8% more weight to be lifted, compared to narrow-grip bench pressing.

Grip-width is another popular way to add variety to a bench press.

Furthermore, heavy weight lifting is associated with improved muscular hypertrophy (muscle growth).

So which grip width is allows you to bench press a heavier weight?

A 2021 study answered this question.

14 males were asked to perform bench presses using a narrow, standard, and wide grip. And the 1-repetition max (the maximum weight lifted in one go) was recorded.

This allowed the scientists to record the maximum weight each participant could bench press.

Here are the results:

  • Wide-grip bench press- averaged 109.8kg
  • Standard-grip bench press- averaged 108.9kg.
  • Narrow-grip bench press- averaged 103.7kg.

And here is how the 1-rep max’s compare to each other:

Vs Wide-Grip Bench PressVs Standard-Grip Bench PressVs Narrow-Grip Bench Press
Wide-Grip Bench Press
--0.8% higher5.7% higher
Standard-Grip Bench Press0.8% lower--4.8% higher
Narrow-Grip Bench Press5.7% lower4.8% lower--
Maximum Bench Pressing Weight Comparison For 3 Grip-Widths (Data Derived From Larsen et Al. 2021

Of course, this doesn’t factor in the training specificity of individuals.

To put it simply- if you exclusively train the narrow-grip bench press, then chances are you will be able to narrow-grip bench press more than your standard/wide-grip bench press!

11. Bench Press Vs Chest Fly Statistic.

Key statistic

  • The barbell bench press activates the pectorals 16% more than the dumbbell chest fly.

The bench press is arguably one of the most popular exercises to get a bigger chest, closely followed by the dumbbell chest fly (you can follow this link for dumbbell fly standards).

So how do the two exercises compare?

A 2020 study addressed this question.

17 males were asked to perform bench presses and chest flyes, with electrodes attached to the upper, mid, and lower pecs.

This allowed muscle activation to be recorded as the participants performed each exercise.

Here, the scientists found that the bench press elicited a 16% higher pectoral activation, compared to the chest fly.

Find out the pro’s and con’s of dumbbells in my other article!

12. Effect Of Beetroot On Bench Pressing Performance.

Key statistic

  • Consistent beetroot juice supplementation can increase bench pressing repetitions by 18%.
  • Beetroot juice supplementation can also increase total weight lifted across all sets by 19%.

Beetroot juice has long been associated with increased physical performance. This is due to the nitrates which are believed to dilate the blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the muscles.

This 2016 study examined the effect of beetroot juice on bench pressing strength.

12 male participants were fed either a 6-day beetroot or blackcurrant juice plan.

They were then asked to perform 3 sets of bench press repetitions, each set at 60% of maximal weight until muscle failure (the point where the participant could no longer perform another repetition).

What did the scientists find?

bar chart to show effect of beetroot juice on bench press reps

Those who consumed the beetroot juice were able to perform 45 reps across 3 sets. In comparison, those who consumed blackcurrant juice were only able to perform 38 reps across 3 sets.

bar chart to show effect of beetroot juice on bench press weight

The extra 7 reps allowed the beetroot-drinking participants to push a total of 2583kg, compared to blackcurrant-drinking participants who only pushed 2172kg.

Therefore this study shows that beetroot supplementation can increase bench press reps by 18% and total weight lifted by 19%.

You can also check out my other article to find out how bananas can help you to build muscle.

13. Bench Press Foot Position Statistic.

Key statistic

  • Suspending your feet whilst performing the flat bench press can increase pectoral activation by 12%.

Foot positioning is an important aspect of bench pressing form, and driving your feet into the ground allows you to press more weight.

But what happens to the pectorals when the feet aren’t planted onto the floor?

bar chart to show pectoral activation in a bench press when feet are on the ground or suspended

A 2019 study examined how foot position affects pectoral activation during a bench press.

20 males were asked to perform 8 repetitions of the flat bench press with feet planted onto the ground, at 60% of maximal lifting capacity.

Participants were then asked to perform the bench press again, but with feet raised in the air.

Electrodes were also attached to the chest to measure pectoral activation.

The study found that bench pressing with the feet on the ground resulted in a 324mV pectoral activation. In contrast, bench pressing with the feet suspended resulted in a 362mV pectoral activation.

Therefore, suspending your feet whilst performing the flat bench press can increase pectoral activation by 12%!

Recap: Recommended Gear To Start Bench Pressing

Conclusion

Finished!

That’s my 12 favorite bench press statistics and study findings for 2021.

Some of the findings may help you improve your own chest training. Others are more trivial.

Either way, I hoped you enjoyed them!

Which bench press fact surprised you the most?

Let me know in the comments below!

Alternatively, download the FREE Kalibre Muscle Blueprint PDF to find out EXACTLY how I transformed my skinny body as a hard gainer!

I used the bench press to build a bigger chest

Thanks for reading guys!

Peace Out,

Kal

(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)

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