How Much Can You Bench?

My husband wants to be able to bench 200 lbs by his 60th birthday, which is in a couple weeks. He’s 5’ 9", 165 lbs. a smoker, and he lifts weights about 8 hours a week. I believe his best weight to date was 185 lbs.

  1. Do you think he can do it?

  2. How old, big, dedicated are you and what can you bench?

(1) Well, if he works bench twice a week, and adds five pounds each time, and he’s currently at 185, no problem. You said that was his best weight, however. If he’s currently benching 160, he’s got a bit of a problem, unless he really likes torn muscles.

(2) I suck at upper-body stuff. I bench 90 lbs, which is a stupidly small amount of weight, but my leg press is 270. Martial arts will do that to you: lots of leg strength, no upper-body (“All that upper body strength really slows you down”).

I’m 35, 6’1", 205 and lift weights 3-4 times a week, 50 minutes each time
and bench about 150.

Compared to other guys at the gym, that ain’t very much.

I can bench my 7 year old. He’s 63#

I was very into weight training in college. I was up to 285 on the bench. I was 6’ 2" 220.

After colelge I stopped almost completely due in no small part to copious amounts of work for a Phd.

Now 10 years later I’m still 6’ 2" (thank Og I haven’t shrunk) and 250 lbs. I work out at my home gym 3-4 times a week. I can put up 200 lbs if I had to but I work out with two 35 lb dumb bells doing butterflies, and cross overs. Thats the extent of my chest work out.

If he lays off the bench for a while and does some flies, he should be able to put 10, 20, 40 pounds on his benc h weight.

Most I ever benched was 195 lbs., but I can’t bench right now cause of a shoulder problem. I don’t really care all that much either, so that didn’t help. I’m much more impressed with a big deadlift. For the record, I’m 25 and had been training for about three and a half years at the time.

15 lbs. in two weeks? That’s reaching a bit. Have him look up wave loading protocols; those are probably his best shot.

47 yo
Extremely dedicated to not acquiring a middle-aged body, but better about exercising than I am about eating right (read, not enough to satisfy, “enough” being the new “too much”).

I’m not real big, but if you met me you could probably tell that I work out.

~155# body weight
Seated machine BP 190# for 5 reps
Incline Dumbbell BP 60# each side for 8 to 10 reps
Barbell BP–Don’t know, haven’t done one in years, but probably around 160#.

Currently I work out all weekdays if I can: MWF about 45 minutes of lifting followed by 20 minutes of cardio; on the other days about 45 minutes of cardio.

5’5", 130-135 pounds, female, 38. Used to bench 115 at my max, maybe a year or two ago. I don’t do much lifting anymore (I concentrate on aerobic and bodyweight exercises) but I bet I’d be at maybe 85-90 pounds. My chest tends to be one of my weakest body parts.

Is the 185 a one rep max? He should’ve started maybe a little sooner. Just make sure he has a big strong spotter when he tries it. And if he really wants to get serious about lifiting, get him to quit the cigs…

Depends, how long has he been lifting for?

Without knowing that, I would say that a 15 lbs gain in two weeks is very unlikely. But without knowing his routine I can’t really say. Even if you do everything right, 15 pound gain in a Month is pretty insane. Although beginners can put on mass very quickly, I’m assuming that he’s a little seasoned.

I have a pretty good routine for Chest. At 5’7" 165lbs, i can flat bench around 330. Im 28, lift 4 days on/1 off.

Well dayam! What is your chest routine?

I did two sets of six with 195 yesterday, and a final set of ten with the same. My intermediate goal is a set of ten with 205. Long term is ten with 225.

My PR is 305, touch and go. But that was twenty years ago.


I’m going to post this even though it’s kind of lame – I am a 44 year old woman, 5’1" and weigh about 130 (really need to lose 10 lbs. or so) and who does no fitness stuff at all. My son (now in the Navy) is a pretty serious weightifter – his best bench press was 305 just before he went to Boot Camp. That was in November and he hasn’t been able, what with Boot Camp and A-school and so on, to keep his training up to that level. his bench has dropped back down to 285 or so. Anyway, shortly before he left, we were upstairs with his home weights and I attempted to bench what was on his rack – about 200 lbs, probably. I was just goofing around, but Nick switched the bar to 95 lbs and told me to try that and I benched it twice. I thought that was pitiful (remember, Nick was putting up around 300 at the time), but Nick thought it was really good and later I heard him bragging about me to his friends. I guess I’ve been wasting my talent all these years lifting nothing but cookies, books, and babies!

When I was in college, I was about 5’10" (well, still am) 175 lbs and maxed out at 225lbs bench (although 200lbs was typical). Nowadays…those numbers are reversed.

Highly unlikely I’m sorry to say. It sounds like your husband is already an avid weight lifter so whatever benefits he gets will be minor over the next few weeks. If he were a beginner adding 15 lbs over the course of a couple of weeks would be totally plausible but not for an experienced lifter.

Maybe he should vary his training routine. I have found that drop sets taken to failure work alot better for building strength than the standard pyramid training routine. Drop sets involve taking a heavy weight and doing as many reps as possible, then cheating/assisting a few more reps. THen you lower the weight a bit and do more reps with more cheating/assisting and you just keep lowering the weight and going to failure.


If you’re unusually leg-centric, I must be cabled really oddly. I bench 70, although I’ve done 90. Just passed the 1000 mark on the leg-press around the end of June, Moving in the pathetic direction, on the bicep curls I can just barely do 3 sets of 15 reps with a 20 in each hand.

When I was 30 and 210 lbs, I’d clear 305. 10 years later and 215 lbs, I clear 35 to 40… but I do it 100 times, take a brief breezer and keep going until my muscles absolutely fail. Tell the truth, I’m much happier with the results of the latter.

As your husband probably knows, it ain’t the finish on the violin that makes it desirable, it’s the beauty of the tone.

I’ll third (or fourth) the idea that if he’s been lifting a while then a 15-lb increase just isn’t going to happen quickly.

I’ve been lifting since high school (I’m 36 now), and what I’ve realized is that the results (bodywise) are more important than any numbers. I don’t care that I can’t come close to my max bench in my 20s; what I care about is that I’m still going to the gym and that I still feel good about myself. All that I will gain by trying to bench press some lofty weight is a chest or shoulder injury. I’d rather press the lower weight a few more times to failure (using a spotter) to keep/gain muscle mass.

Unless the number 200 is vitally important to him, you two should celebrate him just getting to the gym and being more fit than almost all 60-yr olds!

Hmmm…185 to 200? About an 8% jump? It should be real close.

I am 38, 185 lbs and I can do 250 for several reps. With a spotter, I’d put on about 265 and see if I could rep that out.

What he should do is build a plan around another date, not his b-day. It’s a nice goal, but I don’t get hung up on one number (200 lbs). If the rest of his chest is not developed, the 200 would represent very little.

No idea what my max is, but I’m 5’8" and 155 lbs. Yesterday I was doing my bench routine and did 3 sets with 145 lbs with 8, 6 and 5 reps respectively. I could probably do more if I had a spotter and really pushed myself.

I have no idea what that would work out to as far as a max. But there you go.

2 weeks? No. 2 months? Definitely yes.

30, 160 lbs, pretty dedicated (6 days per week, 3 running, 3 lifting), haven’t maxed out in a long time. Currently doing 4 sets of 6 @ 165 lbs. Probably could do 185 or 195 for a single, though. Chest strength has never really been my gig. I’m more of a back and leg guy.