So, you want to know the ideal bench press to squat ratio?
When it comes to training we all typically aim for some form of symmetry.
This typically starts out with the symmetrical appearance of your physique.
However, with experience comes knowledge, and it’s not long before your aim changes to lifting a certain weight for one exercise in comparison to another exercise.
So, how much exactly should you bench press in comparison to your squat?
Let’s find out.
Bench Press to Squat Ratio
The ideal bench press to squat ratio is 3:4 or your bench press should be approximately 75% of your barbell back squat. A respectable aim for most lifters is to bench press 1.5 x their body weight and to squat 2 x their body weight. This, once more, equates to bench press being 75% of squat. That being said, in order to test your bench press to squat ratio, never use your one-rep max, as this can fluctuate significantly day-to-day. Instead, aim to test both lifts with your 3-rep or 5-rep max.
The “Ideal” Bench Press to Squat Ratio Will Vary
Firstly, I think it’s important to state that there is no “ideal” bench press to squat ratio that everyone should be able to fulfil.
What I mean by this is that we are all different to each other, our body’s are different to each other, and even the way that our body’s react to exercise can be very different.
As an example, a person with shorter legs will be able to squat far more efficiently than someone with longer legs.
A short, stocky person will typically have a far more proficient squat than a skinny and tall person.
Plus, your ratios can differ depending on whether you’re male or female.
And even age can be a determining factor too.
Now, the reason I mention this is because I’m about to reveal the “ideal” bench press to squat ratio.
However, I don’t want you to feel perturbed if your lifts are way off the mark.
Remember, there are all these other factors to take into consideration.
That being said the ideal bench press to squat ratio is approximately 3:4 or 75%.
So, as an example if you can bench press 225lbs then you should be able to squat 300lbs.
The Bench Press & Squat Percentage of Body Weight Formula
Something else that most lifters strive for, more specifically when going from a beginner to intermediate lifter, is the ability to bench and squat a particular percentage of their body weight.
A good standard to hit is benching 150% of your body weight and squatting 200% of your body weight.
Now, once more this can differ depending on the numerous factors I’ve already mentioned.
However, this is a good percentage of body weight to aim for with both lifts, irrespective of age, height, limb length, etc.
Now, I can guarantee that some people will completely disagree with the figures I’ve stated here.
However, there’s a huge difference between what an elite lifter or someone who purely focuses on powerlifting can achieve compared to your regular gym-goer.
I’m sure there are many people capable of benching 250% of their body weight or squatting 400%.
I salute you, you are clearly an exceptional lifter, far greater than my abilities allow for.
However, for most regular gym goers, your aim for your bench press to squat ratio is approximately 3:4 or 75%.
Never Test With Your One-Rep Max
Okay, the other main thing I would say about testing your bench press to squat ratio is that you should never use your one-rep max.
I know we typically like to perform exercises as a percentage of our one-rep max, but this doesn’t mean this is the best way to test strength output.
Realistically, your one-rep max can wildly vary from day-to-day.
Okay, you could say the same about any rep scheme.
Things such as how well you slept the night before, food intake, stress, emotions, etc. can all play a role in how well you lift.
However, you’ll typically find that at a slightly higher rep scheme, things seem to even out.
Therefore, I would suggest testing your bench press to squat ratio in the 3-5 rep range.
Furthermore, use 3 sets to test, while building up to what you believe is your max for the third and final set.
So, as an example, if you feel that your max 3-rep bench press is 285lbs, your 1st set could be 3 reps of 135lbs, and your second set could be 3 reps of 185lbs.
Once more, I repeat, don’t feel too downhearted if you’re not hitting that 75% ratio.
As I say, there are certain physical factors that can affect this.
However, this should also give you a great idea of how close to the “ideal ratio” you are, and which of the two exercises potentially requires more of your time to focus on.
For me, personally, I always like to test in the 3-rep range, as this is what I find works best for me.
Squats and Bench Press – Strength Training
So, as you can see, the ideal bench press to squat ratio is 3:4.
In other words, your aim should be to be able to bench press 75% of what you can barbell back squat.
That being said, this may not be achievable for everyone, as you have to take into consideration various physical traits.
As an example, someone who is short and stocky, with short legs, will squat far more efficiently than a taller person with long legs.
Conversely, bench pressing is much more difficult for someone who has long arms.
Furthermore, age could also be a factor, due to decreased testosterone production, as well as loss of lean muscle mass and strength.
Something else to look at is that most recreational gym-goers will typically aim to bench press 1.5 times their body weight and squat twice their body weight.
This once again means that the aim is to bench press 75% of your barbell back squat.
Finally, when it comes to testing both bench press and squat, I would avoid using your one-rep max.
You will have far more credible results when you test in the 3-5 rep range.
And now you can discover more about the ideal bench press to deadlift ratio.
Hi, I’m Partha, the founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I’m someone who’s been passionate about exercise and nutrition for more years than I care to remember. I’ve studied, researched, and honed my skills for a number of decades now. So, I’ve created this website to hopefully share my knowledge with you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, get fitter, or build muscle and strength, I’ve got you covered.