Ever since I started strength training in the gym, the idea of benching 225 for reps was the pinnacle for every guy when it comes to chest workouts. It was like a status symbol (something like the drumming sounds of the gorilla pounding his chest).
Today I will clarify how many people can bench 225, and most importantly, how you can also improve your bench numbers.
Overall, out of 45 million Americans who have and use gym membership, about 1-2% of them can bench over 225 pounds. However, this number does not include people who train with their body weight (without the gym), as well as people who train at the home-based gyms, in their garages, or in basements.
Please keep in mind that this data is only an estimation (I will also touch on how much of the population can bench 225, at least in the developed counties).
What Does It Mean To Bench 225?
In short, to bench 225 means you can perform a bench press exercise with two 45 lbs plates on each side of the bar. The weight must be lowered to the chest and raised (aka pressed) above the body to full elbow extension. The total amount of weight is 225 lbs (100kg).
This is not easy because it requires tons of practice, good nutrition, and consistency. However, for most people, the 225 bench probably doesn’t matter very much.
Why 225 Bench is impressive? In general, bench 225 is impressive because it’s the ultimate test of muscular strength and endurance for the upper body at the NFL Combine. Performing this lift with a barbell requires not only high levels of strength in the chest, shoulders, core, and grip, but also the optimal length of the arms, genes, and training history.
The goal is to press 225 pounds of weight as many times as possible. Studies have shown that the NFL-225 test is also to be a reasonable predictor of 1RM bench press in Division I players.
Not only that.
A survey done by Dr. Felix has shown that 24% of women see men’s chest as the most attractive body part. The second place goes for the facial hair (22%) closely followed by arms at 19% (source).
Here are the details.
|Most attractive male body parts||Percentage|
As you can see, being able to bench 225 not only increases your strength but can also boost your confidence because having a strong and saucy-looking chest makes you more attractive to the opposite sex.
Who Can Bench 225?
As a whole, not everyone can bench 225 because it not only requires an extraordinary level of strength but also good form and experience in the gym. People who can bench 225 spend several months training not only on their chest muscles but also with others compound movements (e.g. deadlifts, squats).
In other words, if you want to be able to bench more, you need to focus on all muscle groups and hit them with a heavyweight.
This happens due to acute testosterone response (which affects the whole body, not just the chest muscles).
Here’s how it works.
Immediately after a workout session (assuming that you prioritize compound movements and used optimal load and intensity) there is an acute spike in the levels of anabolic hormones like testosterone, IGF-1, and growth hormone.
See the graph below.
Keep in mind that these hormonal changes are only temporary, however, this is enough to facilitate a positive anabolic (muscle growth) effect not only on the chest but on the whole body.
For example, doing heavy squats and pul-ups will lead to an acute increase in your testosterone level, which will trigger hypertrophy and strength gains in the chest, shoulders, legs, and arms.
How long to bench 225 for reps? Overall, it takes about 6 to 24 months to hit the 225-lb bench press, depending on your strength and workout routine. Beginners who train once a week will need more time to reach 225, whereas intermediate lifters who hit the chest twice a week can achieve 225 as soon as 6 months.
Of course, some people reach this goal much quicker than others. However, don’t be discouraged if it takes longer to reach this goal (more on that later).
What Percent Of The World Can Bench 225?
In general, it’s hard to conclude how many percent of the world can bench 225. According to the WHO, more than a quarter of the world’s adult population (1.4 billion adults) are insufficiently active. Plus, around 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men do not do enough physical activity to stay healthy.
In other words, there is not enough data to know how many people in the world can bench press 225.
Here are some statistics taken from the IHRSA.org website (for those who want a specific number).
According to IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association):
- 71.5 million people used the gym in the United States in 2019 (that’s 1 out of every 4 people).
- 49.5% of all gym-goers are men (source).
- According to T-Nation.com, 1-3% of the guys who regularly train in the gym can bench 225.
This means that less than one million men in America can bench press 225 or more.
Why Is 225 Bench So Hard?
Overall, 225 bench is so hard because it requires an enormous amount of strength, as well as correct form and practice. Plus, it is not uncommon to get pain or injury from doing heavy bench press because this exercise is an internal rotator of the shoulders.
And thanks to our modern lifestyle where we spend most of our days in the seated position, many people become excessively internally rotated. As you can imagine, doing a heavy bench press on the weekly basis can continue to promote internal rotation of the shoulders.
Plus, many guys like to test themselves and do 1RM as often as possible, which also adds to the problem. If you’re not a powerlifter, you should not test your max bench press regularly.
How many guys can bench 225? Overall, only a small number of people can bench 225. The average man can only bench 60 to 80% of their body weight, whereas the average female can bench 20 to 30% of their body weight.
From all of the gyms that I’ve worked at, there was only a small percentage of guys who could bench 225. The reality is that majority of people who go to the gyms and fitness clubs are out of shape. In fact, most people do not know how to perform the bench press correctly.
How To Bench Press 225 Fast
Here you can find the video tutorial that explains how fast can you bench 225 from Jeff Nippard.
How To Bench 225 For Reps?
In general, to bench 225 for reps, you need to train with heavy weights (mainly compound movements) and stay within the 1-5 rep range for optimal strength adaptations to occur. You also need adequate recovery, rest, and protein in your diet.
Here is the 225 bench checklist.
- Use Heavy Resistance – Ideally, to bench 225 you should train with heavier weights twice a week. Using heavyweights will elicit greater strength and hypertrophy responses. It will also enhance anabolic responses (which we’ve already talked about).
- Implement progressive overload – Progressive overload means adding more training load over time. This can be in the form of doing more sets per week or adding more weight to the bar, Both are good.
- Add variety to your workouts – To push yourself further, you should consider doing variations on the bench press and using different advanced training methods like drop-sets, negatives, or supersets. You can also add extra equipment to make the exercise more challenging like power bands or chains. These can make a huge difference to your performance.
- Train with correct technique – The correct form, full range of motion, breathing, and optimal weight are all essential to be able to hit the 225 bench. While benching 225 pounds at an unbroken range of motion will give you a good lift, it will not be a smart move because it can lead to injury.
- Maintain your lean muscle mass – Please remember that your amount of lean body weight (muscle mass) also plays a huge role in your bench press performance. For example, if you’re doing calorie deficit and losing weight, your strength will suffer.
NOTE: Please keep in mind that your training history matters. If you were previously strong, you already have muscle memory. This means you can grow your muscle and strength quickly. If your muscle memory is strong enough, you can bench press 225 lbs in as little as 3 months.
Another thing to keep in mind is gender. In general, women have a smaller upper body than men, so their ability to bench 225 pounds is considerably lower. However, some women can bench press 225 pounds with multiple reps.
How Much Should I Weigh To Bench 225
In general, you should weigh between 150 to 180 lbs (65 to 81 kilograms) to be able to bench press 225-pounds, according to Tim Henriques strength standards. People who weigh more than 200 pounds should be able to bench 225 much easier.
Of course, even if you weigh more than 200 pounds, is this mean that you are strong if you can bench 225?
Keep in mind that these numbers are not based on science.
In fact, Tim Henriques said that “it wasn’t the result of a specific scientific study but simply the end result of literally tens of thousands of hours spent in a variety of fitness type settings: commercial gyms, private training studios, powerlifting competitions, recreation centers, athletic training facilities, etc“
Here are the details.
|Decent||225 pounds or 1.25 x Bodyweight|
|Good||315 pounds or 1.5 x Bodyweight|
|Great||365 pounds or 2 x Bodyweight|
In case you’re wondering, I weigh 180 pounds and I can bench 225 for 4 reps (without breakfast). Do I consider myself strong? Nope.
As you can see, it’s tough to know exactly what percent of men can bench 225. I always believe that number in the gyms should not be the goal but only the information to know your progress.
Of course, using two big plates does give a great feeling of accomplishment and confidence. But it should not be used as a way to compare yourself with others.