The bench press is absolutely one of the best exercises for an amazing upper body.
It builds powerful and sculpted:
- Plus it’s great for your core!
And like most exercises, the size and development of those muscles from the bench press depend heavily on building strength and lifting heavier weight over time.
So how long does it take to reach a 225-pound bench press for reps? (Or more?) How many people can bench 225?
To bench 225 pounds (two plates) for reps seems to take about one year of serious training on average. Some people reach it a lot faster (4-5 months or so) while others are slower (2 years or more).
No matter how you slice the data, benching 225 is relatively rare and not that many people do it. Self-selected folks in online fitness communities who are extremely serious about lifting make it seem common — but your average gym-going population only has a few people who reach this milestone!
How fast you bench 225 really depends on:
- Your bodyweight
- Whether you’re bulking or cutting
- Previous training history
- Arm length
For reference, I’ve been lifting seriously for a little over a year and a half and can’t bench 225 for reps yet. But I also weigh about 130 pounds and have spent a lot of that time cutting to get lean and toned!
Let’s dive in a little bit and take a look at some of these factors that go into how long it takes for you to bench 225, 315, 405, and beyond.
Overall bodyweight seems to be one of the biggest factors in your bench press strength.
Simply put, when you weigh more it’s easier to bench more.
This is true of a lot of lifting exercises, but it applies much more to the bench press than to, say, bicep curls.
There are a lot of possible explanations for this, including:
- More weight means more overall muscle mass
- Bigger measurements give you a shorter range of motion and better leverage
- More mass in the shoulder area provides better stability for pushing
That last one is one of the most credible explanations I’ve seen so far.
(You can read more about that theory and its logic over on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s site.)
Regardless of WHY it’s true, just know that is true.
That’s why when you’re cutting and losing weight, your bench press is often one of the first and most severe lifts to suffer.
In regards to this discussion, you’ll bench 225, 315, or 405 a heck of a lot faster when you weigh more.
If you’re 250 pounds, a 225 or two plate bench isn’t even bodyweight!
For guys who are very lean and light, it’ll be a lot more challenging to reach that number.
Bulking vs Cutting
You’ll bench 225 pounds a lot faster if you bulk, bulk, and bulk some more until you get there!
This isn’t exactly rocket science.
When you’re brand new to lifting, you’ll go through a period of “noob gains.”
That’s where you gain strength extremely easily and quickly on all of your lifts, even if you’re losing weight because your body is learning how to recruit muscle fibers and execute the movements.
At some point, those fast gains will run out if you’re not eating enough food to gain muscle on a bulk.
It’ll be up to you to decide what you care about most:
- Reaching a 225 bench
- Or overall health & aesthetics
It’s probably a better idea to take your time and avoid too much unwanted fat gain from bulking.
A nice, slow, lean bulk should do the trick, along with a few cutting cycles along the way to stay lean.
It’ll take longer to get to 225 this way, maybe closer to the year or two-year plan.
If you just want to reach an impressive bench as fast as possible, lift heavy and eat away!
Previous Training History
If you were able to bench press 225 or more in the past, you’ll probably reach that level faster than your average untrained person.
Retraining your muscles is easier and faster than building them from scratch.
This will definitely work to the advantage of high school or college athletes who haven’t lifted in a few years.
You’ll be able to regain that strength a lot faster.
Complete newbies will take longer to reach a 225, 315, or otherwise impressive bench press.
Keep that in mind when people claim they benched 225 after 3 months of training. It’s possible they had the muscle and potential the whole time and simply needed to reactivate it.
There’s a lot of debate about whether “hardgainers” are actually real.
(A hardgainer is someone who struggles to put on muscle and gain strength.)
While it’s true that some people do struggle, it could be genetics, or it could be:
- Poor nutrition
- Faster metabolism (and not eating enough)
- Bad training programs
But one thing I think that shouldn’t be disputed is that different people gain at different speeds.
Put two people of the same bodyweight, untrained, on the same program, eating the same food, and I highly doubt they’ll both reach a 225 bench at the same exact time.
Some people are just naturally faster and others are naturally slower.
You have to optimize your training and diet and work hard within the confines of your genetics.
This is another one that’s hotly debated.
And when you look at the research, arm length is probably only a very small indicator of bench press strength.
But it does matter.
Simply put, people with longer arms have a much longer way to push the weight. That requires more effort, stamina, power, and pushing strength.
People with shorter arms, on the other hand, may have a slight advantage due to the shortened range of motion.
This isn’t a massive deal, but it could explain why there are some minor differences in bench strength between people with similar body types, training experience, and nutritional approaches.
Programming / Routine
To bench more, you have to bench more!
Makes sense, right?
This is just something to keep in mind, that how fast your bench strength increases is definitely dependent on how you’ve programmed the bench press into your routine:
There are a lot of different approaches to this, way too many to list here, and none is necessarily better than another.
- Bench heavy once per week
- Bench heavy twice per week
- Bench heavy once and high reps once every week
- Bench three times per week
- Bench your 1-rep max every day (Bulgarian)
- Rotate between flat bench, incline bench, and other presses a few times per week
- And so on.
Your mileage may vary based on any one of these approaches.
But it’s safe to say that if you’re not consistently training the flat bench press every week, it will take you a lot longer to progress on that movement.
Conversely, overtraining the bench could exhaust your chest muscles, derail your recovery, and cause progress to be slower.
Gender (Can women bench press 225 pounds?)
Due to simple physiology, women have less muscle mass in their upper bodies than men do.
For that reason, women will usually bench press a lot less than an equally trained man.
Is 225 pounds a realistic bench press goal for a woman?
It’s hard to say for sure. There are tons of women who can bench press that much weight and more for reps.
But according to most strength standards, a 225 bench for a woman under 200 pounds would be an extremely competitive (advanced or elite) level lift.
If you’re a woman and you can rep 225, you should be competing in professional powerlifting.
(That wouldn’t even get most men in the door.)
But go for it! Just know that it will probably take you many years of focused training to reach that level of strength.
Is benching 225 impressive?
If you spend too much time on YouTube fitness and BodyBuilding forums, you start to feel like a complete loser if you can’t bench over 300 pounds.
But the truth is that anyone who’s been to a commercial gym can tell you at least 90% of men can’t bench press 225 pounds.
If you can, you should be super proud.
It shouldn’t be the end-all goal! There’s plenty of room to improve beyond that.
But yeah… it’s impressive that you put in probably a solid 6 months to 2 years of dedicated training in order to achieve something most people can’t do.
How long does it take to bench 315 or 405?
This is a harder question to answer.
One reason being… a lot of people never bench 315 pounds even after many, many years of training.
There are a few reasons for that:
- It takes more than 2-3 years of focused training in most cases
- You may need to mix up your training and programming along the way
- Injuries, aches, and pains can derail progress
If you’re not training properly and eating just right, you’ll probably never get there.
BUT, assuming you’ve got your routine locked down, you could technically bench 315 about 5-6 months after benching 225 if you added 5lbs per week or so.
In reality, that’s enormously difficult to do, especially after you’ve already milked your newbie gains.
You’ll probably need to:
- Continue bulking
- Experiment with pause bench, wide/close grip bench, etc.
- Rotate with different presses
If you’re not really dedicated to the goal, it’ll be super difficult to achieve.
For casual lifters who just like working out and want to look good naked, a 315 bench is going to be a pretty lofty goal.
But if you set your mind to it and give it a few years, you can get there.
How long does it take to bench 135 pounds for reps?
If you’re a fully grown man who weighs about 130 pounds or more, you should be able to reach a 135 (one plate) bench press after a few months of solid training.
If you’re naturally skinny and lean, or don’t weigh much because you’re short (like me!), it might take a little bit longer.
A 135 bench press for someone who weighs 120 pounds is actually pretty respectable!
But if you weigh 160, 170, or more, a 135 bench should come pretty easy during the newbie gains phase.
A 135lb bench press for most women would be an intermediate to advanced but hardly unreachable lift.
Most women could probably hit that number after a few years of training.
Factoring in all of the above, it should take somewhere around 1 year of dedicated training to bench 225 pounds for reps as a man.
But don’t let that discourage you if it takes longer! There are lots of legitimate reasons that your progress might be slower, and in some cases, it might be a good thing (like keeping your bodyweight and fat levels low).
Some people also reach that level and beyond much faster.
(Before you go, find out what to do if you hate the bench press. Then check out my ultimate guide to bench press motivation… benching is hard work, but it’s worth it!)
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Hope that helps!