Repetition Maximum Testing: Bench Press

strength-repitition Jul 16, 2023

Here is a general protocol for testing 1RM bench press strength:

  1. Warm up thoroughly: Perform a general warm-up consisting of light aerobic exercise followed by specific warm-up sets of the bench press. Gradually increase the weight with each set until you reach a weight that is close to your anticipated 1RM.
  2. Determine starting weight: Choose a starting weight that is challenging but manageable for 3-5 repetitions. This weight should not be too heavy, as you want to be able to perform several warm-up sets before attempting your 1RM.
  3. Perform warm-up sets: Perform 2-3 sets of 3-5 repetitions at increasing weights, resting 2-3 minutes between sets.
  4. Rest: Rest for 3-5 minutes after your last warm-up set.
  5. Attempt 1RM: Load the barbell with a weight that you believe you can lift for 1 repetition. Perform the lift, making sure to use proper form and technique. If successful, rest for 3-5 minutes and increase the weight for your next attempt. If unsuccessful, decrease the weight and try again.
  6. Repeat attempts: Continue to increase the weight and attempt your 1RM until you can no longer lift the weight with proper form and technique.
  7. Cooldown: Once you have completed your attempts, perform a cooldown consisting of light aerobic exercise and stretching.

It's important to note that this is a general protocol and may need to be adjusted depending on individual factors such as training experience, injury history, and physical limitations. Additionally, it's always a good idea to have a qualified spotter present during 1RM testing to ensure safety.

The normative data for 1RM bench press strength can vary depending on factors such as age, gender, training experience, and body weight. However, here are some general guidelines:

  1. In untrained individuals, the average 1RM bench press for men is approximately 135 pounds (61 kg) and for women is approximately 65 pounds (29 kg).
  2. In trained individuals, the average 1RM bench press can vary widely depending on factors such as training experience, body weight, and gender. For example, a study of male powerlifters found an average 1RM bench press of 372 pounds (168 kg), while a study of female collegiate athletes found an average 1RM bench press of 117 pounds (53 kg).
  3. In older adults, the average 1RM bench press can also vary depending on age and physical function. For example, a study of older adults aged 75 and older found an average 1RM bench press of approximately 55 pounds (25 kg) in women and 88 pounds (40 kg) in men.



  1. American Council on Exercise (ACE). (2014). ACE Personal Trainer Manual: The Ultimate Resource for Fitness Professionals (5th ed.). American Council on Exercise.
  2. Ebben, W. P., Feldmann, C. R., & Dayne, A. (2009). Analysis of the kinetic variables associated with maximal deadlift performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 23(9), 2464-2470.
  3. Hakkinen, K., Alen, M., Kraemer, W. J., Gorostiaga, E., Izquierdo, M., Rusko, H., & Mikkola, J. (2003). Neuromuscular adaptations during concurrent strength and endurance training versus strength training. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 89(1), 42-52.
  4. Kraemer, W. J., & Ratamess, N. A. (2004). Fundamentals of resistance training: Progression and exercise prescription. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(4), 674-688.
  5. Peterson, M. D., Rhea, M. R., & Alvar, B. A. (2004). Maximizing strength development in athletes: A meta-analysis to determine the dose-response relationship. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 18(2), 377-382.
  6. Swinton, P. A., Stewart, A. D., Agouris, I., Keogh, J. W., & Lloyd, R. (2012). Effect of load positioning on the kinematics and kinetics of weighted vertical jumps. Sports Biomechanics, 11(3), 346-363.

Download Our Measurz App For FREE And Perform, Record and Track 500+ Tests With Your Clients Today.

Try Our Measurz App FREE For 30-Days

Want To Improve Your Assessment?

Not Sure If The MAT Data-Driven Approach Is Right For You?

Get a taste of our MAT Course and data-driven approach using the MAT with a FREE module from our online MAT Course.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.