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Achieving a 315 lbs Bench Press: A Guide

All about reaching a 315 lb bench press! Learn about the challenges, genetic factors, and essential training strategies to boost your bench press performance and build a stronger, healthier body.

Jabari Martin, Registered Dietitian, NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Written and researched by Jabari Martin R.D., NASM C.P.T.


Reaching a 315 lbs bench press is a huge milestone for most lifters. It’s evidence of your strength, dedication, and perseverance. But, this journey is often filled with struggles, and your genetic factors can play a crucial role. In this short article, I’ll tell you about the challenges and realistic expectations, and give you essential tips to help you reach your bench pressing goals.

The Struggle

When I first started bench pressing, I thought I’d never get strong enough. I often felt like I was under a “bench press curse,” unable to make significant gains despite my efforts. This isn’t uncommon; almost every lifter female and male, young and old, deals with these doubts.

How Common Is It?

On the internet, it looks like everyone can bench press 315 lbs, but in reality, it’s quite rare. There’s a giant chasm between what people claim online versus actual real-world achievements. Seeing someone bench press 315 lbs in your typical Planet Fitness is a rare sight, underscoring the difficulty of this goal.

Can the Average Man Do It?

For most men, bench pressing 315 lbs is a challenging goal. Genetic limitations and the need for dedicated training are significant factors. While it’s certainly possible (I did it!) for many, it requires a combination of the correct training, nutrition, and sometimes, a bit of luck in the genetic lottery.

Intermediate Strength Standards

Understanding these intermediate strength standards can help set realistic goals. These benchmarks provide a clear path for progression:

  • Bench Press: 225 lbs
  • Squat: 315 lbs
  • Deadlift: 405 lbs

If you can lift these weights, you’re an intermediate lifter. These standards help lifters gauge their progress and set achievable, realistic milestones.

Genetics and Arm Length

Genetics, particularly arm length, significantly impacts bench press performance. Longer arms make the lift more challenging due to worse leverage issues. If you have longer arms, you might need to work harder to achieve the same results as someone with shorter arms.

Chest Insertions

The placement of chest insertions plays a crucial role in bench press performance. Individuals with advantageous chest genetics often excel in this lift. Those with optimal chest insertions can generate more power and stability during the press.

Hand and Wrist Size

The size of one’s hands and wrists affects stabilization during the bench press. Larger hands and wrists can provide better support and control, making the lift more manageable.

Muscle Fiber Types

The composition of muscle fibers, whether fast-twitch or slow-twitch, influences lifting performance. Fast-twitch fibers are more suited for explosive, one-rep max lifts, while slow-twitch fibers are better for endurance activities.

Alex Eubank Example

Take the case of Alex Eubank, whose struggles with the bench press highlight the challenges faced by those with long arms and a lean physique. His example underscores the importance of considering body mechanics and individual differences in training.

Gaining Weight

Gaining weight is often crucial for making progress in the bench press. There is a strong relationship between body weight and strength. Adding muscle mass can significantly enhance your bench press performance.

Why Does Bench Press Drop When Cutting?

Cutting weight can lead to a decrease in bench press performance due to changes in leverage and mass loss. The principle “mass moves mass” explains this phenomenon. When you lose weight, you might also lose some of the leverage that helps you lift heavier weights.

But remember: While gaining weight helps you lift heavier, it’s essential to focus on adding lean mass to your body rather than just adding weight indiscriminately.

Don’t Obsess Over Maxing Out

Constantly attempting one-rep maxes can lead to injury and is not recommended. Obsessing over maxing out will lead to burnout and your progress will plateau. Instead, it’s more effective to follow a structured routine with more reps like the Stronglifts 5×5, for example. This specific routine worked for me.


Achieving a 315 lb bench press requires patience, dedication, and a focus on your overall body development — not just your chest and arms, but also your back and shoulders. Assistance exercises, proper nutrition, and a well-rounded approach are crucial if you want to continually get stronger and stronger.

Remember, it’s not just about the numbers but also about building a strong, healthy body. Keep pushing, stay motivated, and celebrate every milestone along the way.‍‍‍