Bench Press Calculator - Find Out Your One Rep Max
The most popular question for anyone to ask someone who lifts is “how much do you bench?” It’s like that’s the only exercise that matters and shows off your brute strength.
If building a bigger bench press is something you’re trying to do, you’ve probably spent a lot of time under that bar. The bench trains your pecs, shoulders, triceps, core, and even your lats and upper back.
Have you ever tested your one rep max?
While testing your one rep max is something I advise against doing often, there is a bench press calculation you can use to figure out your max. This calculator is great because it can give you an idea of what your max is without having to do it.
I’ll touch more about not testing your one rep max a little bit later.
Bench Press Calculator
There are quite a few equations that can calculate your one rep max. They all get you close to the same answer, so for this article, we’ll use the Brzycki method to calculate.
1RM Equation: 1RM = w / (1.0278 - (0.0278 × r)) , where w = weight lifted , r = reps performed.
So if you lifted 185 for 5 reps, your calculated one rep max would be around 208 pounds.
This equation works with pounds or kilograms.
Other Bench Press Calculations to Try
- Brzycki: 1 RM = w / (1.0278 - (0.0278 × r))
- Baechle: 1 RM = w × (1 + (0.033 × r))
- Epley: 1 RM = (0.033 × r × w) + w
- Lander: 1 RM = (100 × w) / (101.3 - 2.67123 × r)
- Lombardi: 1 RM = w × r 0.1
- Mayhew et al.: 1 RM = (100 × w) / (52.2 + (41.9 × e-0.055 × r))
- O'Conner et al.: 1 RM = w × (1 + 0.025 × r)
- Wathan: 1 RM = (100 × w) / (48.8 + (53.8 × e-0.075 × r))
Using Your One Rep Max in a Workout
Being able to calculate your one rep max is nice because you can see how you are progressing.
Strength and fitness coaches will set up programs using a percentage of your one rep max because they want you to train at a certain percentage of your relative one rep max.
If your calculated one rep max on bench is 225, if a program calls for a set of 5 at 85%, you simply need to multiply 225 by .85, which is 191. So you would be doing 190 for 5 reps.
But what if a program calls for your three rep max or something else?
I got you covered.
Reps / % of 1RM
- 1 / 100%
- 2 / 95%
- 3 / 93%
- 4 / 90%
- 5 / 87%
- 6 / 85%
- 7 / 83%
- 8 / 80%
- 9 / 77%
- 10 / 75%
- 11 / 73%
- 12 / 70%
Once you calculate your one rep max, you can use the information above to figure out any of your rep maxes.
So if your program calls for 3 sets using your three rep max, you simply take your calculated one rep max (225 in my example) and multiply that by 0.93 to equal a 210 three rep max.
Tips for Building a Bigger Bench
Here are a few tips for getting a bigger bench. Instead of giving you the usual spiel, I’ll give you a few tips that aren’t as obvious.
Try Hammer Curls
Anything that helps train your biceps has to be a great exercise. In all honesty, improving your hammer curls and strengthening the muscles they work will help you achieve a heavier bench.
This is a golden nugget of information I received from some elite powerlifters… and it works.
Squeeze the Bar
If you are one of those lifters that seem to have their hands barely gripping the bar, you are losing out on a lot of pounds.
When you squeeze the bar as hard as you can, you are starting a process called irradiation. This sends a signal to your body to pack your shoulders and you will experience increased aggression.
Along with that, better wrist positioning and a more rigid body overall will improve the power you can produce.
Work Your Upper Back and Lats
Training your back will balance your body’s strength. If all you do is train chest and you skip out on your back, you’re creating imbalances and you’re not allowing your body to perform at its peak.
Do heavy deadlifts, perform rows, and pound that upper back, rear delts, and traps.
I personally try to row whatever I can bench. This balance is important, but don’t be discouraged if your back isn’t up to par yet. As you improve, your bench will go up too.
Record Your Form
If you’re serious about getting stronger, you’re going to need to record your form from multiple angles.
You need to be able to see what you are doing every rep — what’s going wrong, what’s going right, what can I do better?
Keeping an eye on your form can help you catch that wrist you are dumping or if you’re not staying along a good bar path. There will be a lot of information that you can use to improve.