In this article, I will be discussing what is the average bench press by weight, and give a few techniques for reaching such a bench press. For the purpose of this article, I am going to assume that in this case “average” refers to just the average guy in the gym.
Naturally, if you are a looking for the average bench press for a competitive powerlifter or collegiate athlete, these standards are going to change. For an intermediate, advanced, or otherwise competitive audience, see the weights for bench press article for the average bench press by weight for strength athletes. There, you will find simple formulas you can use to calculate where your bench press fits in based on your exact bodyweight.
The standards in this article are assuming we are referring to the adult male (age 18 and up), as the “average” lift goes down when referring younger lifters such as high school students. See the bench press by age article for standards based on age.
Average Bench Press By Weight
When it comes to the average bench press, you are probably wanting to know what the average lifter thinks about another guy’s bench. Is it good? Is it bad? Well, that all depends on perspective.
This article attempts to answer the question.. Am I weak? Well, that all depends on context. Since this is a subjective measure, the standards generated in this article are based on what the average guy in your average gym is going to define as the minimum amount of weight someone needs to bench based on their size to not be considered weak.
The average man in the United States is overweight and sedentary and to be frank, cannot bench press his way out of a paper bag. The average guy in the US cannot even bench press 100 pounds, regardless of bodyweight.
However, once you enter the gym, things change a bit. By default, you will be lumped into one of three classes: “small”, “average”, or “big”. Unfortunately, none of this depends on your height, weight, or body composition. The average guy is going to use these simple characteristics and has the following expectations:
Average for a Small Guy: 185 pounds
“Small” Guys – To the average guy, weighing 165 lbs or less will automatically get you lumped into the “small guy” category. It does not matter if you are 6′ and very thin or 5′ 5″ and fairly muscular.
If you are benching less than 185 pounds in a gym as a male, the average guy will consider you below average and be thoroughly unimpressed with your lift. By 185 pounds, you are average enough that you will not be automatically considered weak as a “small guy”.
“Average” Guys – Weighing in between 165-210 pounds will automatically get you lumped into the “average” category for most people, regardless of height. At this weight, a 205-pound bench press becomes average.
If you cannot bench at least 205 pounds and are an average-sized guy, most people will consider it to be a below average bench press by weight.
“Big” Guys – If you weigh over 210 pounds, by default you are considered “big” by the average guy. Even if you are 6′ 6″ and fairly thin, you will still be big. An average bench press for someone this weight is 225 pounds. If a “big” guy cannot bench press at least 2 plates on each side of the bar, he will be considered weak.
These average standards are simply what most people are thinking when they observe other people working out in the gym. If you are do not bench at least 185 pounds, by default you are a beginner. Heavier men will need to bench press 2 plates to break the beginner status.
At this level, adding weight to your bench press is easy. Just make sure you bench press twice a week, strive to perform another rep or add 5 pounds to the bar each week, and eat enough calories and you are sure to make some progress beyond the beginner stage.