After publishing the post ”Realistic Squat, Bench and Deadlift For Naturals: How much?”, many people asked me whether a 225lbs bench press is a respectable accomplishment for a natural lifter. The answer is yes. A 225lbs bench press is a very good number for a true natural bodybuilder. However, the lift has to meet certain criteria to be considered legit.
If you are fat, it does not count.
Out of the big three, the bench press is affected the most by your bodyweight. The second you lose a significant amount of weight, even if it’s fat, your bench press prowess goes down. Therefore, it is easier to bench heavy when you are a fatso swine. However, benching 225lbs when you weigh about as much yourself is not particularly impressive. Conversely, benching 225lbs when you weigh 170lbs in a somewhat lean state equals a pretty decent lift.
If you cut the range of motion and bounce the bar off your chest, it doesn’t count.
In the video below, you can see a few heavy steroid users compete in a ”225lbs bench press competition”. All competitors in the clip are performing half reps except for the winner – he is performing less than half-reps.
A proper bench press repetition requires the lifter to touch his chest with the bar at the bottom and to lock out at the top. A pause at the bottom is optional but highly recommended.
We don’t care whether you’re Mr. Olympia or not, Phil! Your reps were incomplete too.
No Excessive Back Arching
Powerlifters, especially the girls, love to abuse their back flexibility in order to create a big arch shortening the range of motion and subsequently allowing the lifter to move more weight. This doesn’t count as a legit lift either. You should arch your back, but not more than you need to perform the bench press with proper form.
Get, real! You are a natural lifter.
Videos of 20-year-old lifters bench pressing 500lbs are uploaded every day on YouTube. That creates unrealistic expectations and a distorted notion of what’s achievable naturally without anabolic steroids.
If steroids are removed from sports, the world records would drop by 200-300 pounds if not more. As a natural lifter, you have to know that and recognize your limitations.
Anyone bench pressing over 315lbs is a suspect!
Undoubtedly, 90% of the people bench pressing 315lbs and above are not natural unless they weigh 315lbs of pure fat themselves. Benching such high numbers requires muscle mass and strength that are simply out of most people’s reach.
Of course, there are also people who can’t bench press 315lbs despite being on steroids.
What’s a realistic bench press number for a natural girl?
A really good bench press number for a girl is a bodyweight bench press or close to it. This level of strength is really difficult to achieve when you’re a female because women tend to have lanky upper bodies, narrow shoulders and naturally small chest muscles. However, most girls will never bench press 225lbs naturally unless they weigh about as much and/or use the excessive powerlifting arch, which is essentially a cheat move.
Who cares anyway?
There are higher priorities in life than your bench press numbers. For example, being lean and athletic is more important to your health than pushing a stupid barbell. You are not 10 years old anymore. Your lifting numbers should not be the base of your self-esteem.