How Many People Can Bench 225? (Study reveals)


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.

me benching 225

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 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?

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.

One study has shown that the NFL-225 test is also to be a reasonable predictor of 1RM bench press in Division I players.

Bench 225 NFL combine record

Here are the top 10 NFL Combine records for bench 225, according to NFL.com.

  • Stephen Paea, 49 reps (2011).
  • Mike Kudla, 45 reps (2006).
  • Mitch Petrus, 45 reps (2010).
  • Netane Muti, 44 reps (2020).
  • Jeff Owens, 44 reps (2010).
  • Donatri Poe, 42 reps (2012).
  • Russell Bodine, 42 reps (2014).
  • Harrison Phillips, 42 reps (2018).
  • Tank Tyler, 42 reps (2007).
  • David Molk, 41 reps (2012).

So yeah, these guys are brutally strong.

Bench 225 is attractive

Apart from being strong, benching 225 is also attractive.

A survey done by Dr. Felix, a UK-registered Online Doctor and Pharmacy service, has shown that 24% of women see men’s chest as the most attractive body part.

The second place goes for facial hair (22%) closely followed by arms at 19%.

Here are the details.

Most attractive male body partsPercentage
Chest24%
Hair22%
Arms19%
Abs13%
V-Cut9%
Eyes3%
Face2%
Legs1%
Why bench 225 is important (source: dr.felix.co.uk)

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 other compound movements (e.g. deadlifts, squats).

Here’s a photo of me benching 225 for 8 reps in a scrap outdoor gym.

photo of me benching 225 for 8 reps
I did 8 reps of bench 225 in an outdoor gym

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 below.

doing compound exercises to bench 225

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.

In addition, you can use testosterone boosters that help to increase testosterone levels naturally.

How long does it take to bench 225 for reps?

It may take 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 more quickly 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?

As much as benching 225 is impressive, in some countries in eastern Europe, benching 225 for reps is not that difficult (seriously). A good example is the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv.

Most of the University campuses in Kyiv have old-school outdoor gyms where you can do bench, squats, and even deadlifts.

The picture below shows the bar (quite rusty) with a weight of 101 kg, equivalent to 225 lb (the plates are chained so you cannot add or reduce the weight).

How much of the population can bench 225
Bench with a 225 lb in “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute”

(You can see the 101 kg written on the side of the plate).

Do you know what is the most interesting? That is the only bench in this outdoor gym. This means there are no lighter bars.

photo of me benching 225

According to local students, most of the people who train in this outdoor gym can do bench 225 for reps without any problems.

The same example you have in the legendary Kyiv’s scrap metal gym, “Kachalka“. In most cases, the weight on the bar is set (you cannot change it) and the lowest weight is 100kg.

Here’s w photo of the incline bench.

What percent of population can bench 225
Outdoor gym “Kachalka” in Kyiv’s Hydropark

However, that’s not the case for most countries.

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) is 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).

What percentage of the population can bench 225?

According to IHRSA report (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.
  • According to T-Nation.com, 1-3% of the guys who regularly train in the gym can bench 225.

Taking this into consideration, this data suggests 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.

(Here you can read my article where I clarify if benching your body weight is considered good or not. (It’s a good one.)

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 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 the correct technique

The correct form, full range of motion, breathing, and optimal weight are all essential 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.

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.

How many women can bench 225?

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.

In the video below you can see how Dana Linn Bailey and Jennifer Thompson try to do the NFL Combine 225 bench press for reps test.

Wanna bench more? You can learn how to bench more in my article how many reps of 225 to bench 315 here.

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?

Of course.

Keep in mind that these numbers are not based on science.

“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.,” says Tim.

Here are the details.

RankingBench press
Decent225 pounds or 1.25 x Bodyweight
Good315 pounds or 1.5 x Bodyweight
Great365 pounds or 2 x Bodyweight
Bench 225 ranking

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.

Conclusion

As you can see, it’s tough to know exactly what percent of men can bench 225. I always believe that numbers in 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.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc) and a veteran endurance athlete. He loves to experiment and share his successes and failures to help busy men and women who want to lose weight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts