Last updated on November 6th, 2022 at 03:25 pm
Who else wants to know, “How Do You Bench Press a Person?”
It’s not exactly your everyday gym workout, but I’m sure many of us have thought about bench pressing a person.
Ever since Nicholas Cage bench pressed Hope Davis in the movie, Kiss of Death, the internet has been awash with people trying the same thing.
Of course, Hollywood is very different from real life.
And bench pressing another person certainly isn’t as easy as Mr. Cage made it look.
So, allow me to explain exactly what you need to do in order to achieve this impressive feat.
How Do You Bench Press a Person?
There are a number of points to consider when you bench press a person. Firstly, the person should weigh approximately 50% of what you would regularly bench press. This is due to the difficulty caused by the instability of a live human body when compared to a bar. The person should be lying face up, and you should place your hands on the middle of their back (at chest level) and underneath their butt or the top of the back of their thighs. Furthermore, you should also have two spotters either side for safety purposes, i.e. to place the person in your hands, to remove them, and as a safety net should they fall.
1. Bench Press a Person That Weighs Half of Your 15-Rep Max
As I say, Nicholas Cage certainly made bench pressing Hope Davis in Kiss of Death look a lot easier than it is in “real life”.
In fact, I can guarantee that you will get nowhere near your bench press max.
I would say a good starting point for bench pressing a person is to work out the weight of your 15-rep max bench press.
Then halve this number and that should give the ideal weight of the person you’ll want to bench press.
Plus, don’t expect to get anywhere near 15 reps either.
The main issue you’ll have is that a solid steel barbell is far easier to bench press than the irregular shape of the human body.
Additionally, you wouldn’t expect a barbell to squirm around or be party to uncontrollable fits of laughter.
Basically, the instability of an actual person makes it much more difficult to perform the movement.
Based on the figures I’ve just mentioned, you may not yet have graduated any further than bench pressing a small child.
Nicholas Cage Bench Presses Hope Davis in Kiss of Death
2. Where to Hold a Person to Bench Press Them Safely
Now, once again, we’re led ever so slightly astray by Nick in the video above.
You have to remember when bench pressing another person, it’s not just about you and your safety, but also theirs.
Nick’s right hand appears to be around the rib area.
I can tell you now that the amount of pressure that would be applied to you and the person you’re holding aloft would probably crush a few ribs in the process.
And let’s not even talk about where Nick’s left hand is, LOL.
The most difficult part of the entire movement is finding the person’s centre of mass.
Plus, this is likely to differ from person to person, based on body shape and weight.
However, it appears the optimum position to bench press someone would be with them lying with their face up.
You should then place one hand in the middle of their back, typically in line with their chest.
And the other hand is best placed on their butt.
I would actually say that having your hand a little lower, at the top of the hamstrings/back of one thigh, is actually much better.
But more often than not the person’s hips and butt will drop.
This would then completely alter the dynamics of the press.
However, your hands on the middle of the back and the butt is the safest option for the both of you.
People Getting Bench Pressed By a Strongman
3. What the Person Being Bench Pressed Needs to Do
I’ve already mentioned that a real live person will typically move a lot when you’re bench pressing them.
So, it’s extremely hard to mimic the press you’d perform with a bar.
You have to think about it from their point of view too.
It’s not just a case of they just have to lie there while you do all the work.
Firstly, I can guarantee that the person will have the fear factor, especially of being dropped onto the floor and injuring themselves.
So, simply being nervous about this could mean that they’re shaking.
Secondly, I guess it can also be quite funny, and this is even more true when it comes to your hand placement.
Once the other person starts laughing, they yet again become a moving “barbell”.
Finally, there’s your own nervousness to consider.
You too may worry about dropping and injuring the person, and of course injuring yourself.
So, the “movement” in terms of shaking could be created by you.
However, if you have a willing party, then they will need to do their best to resemble a barbell, i.e. remain as stiff, rigid, and still as possible.
In effect, the person will need to perform one huge isometric contraction of their entire body.
So, in reality this could also be a great exercise for them as well.
Therefore, the person should be aware of each and every muscle in their body, and then tense as many muscles as they can from head to toe.
Their breathing should be slow and controlled and obviously they must remain as still as possible.
You’ll notice in the video below that the guy bench pressing has his right hand slightly lower than I initially suggested.
Basically, in my “preferred” area of the body, i.e. the top part of the back of the thigh.
This is purely because the person he is pressing is the perfect participant.
You can see that she is keeping her body straight and tight.
She has placed her hands on her chest “crunch-style” so neither of them have to worry about flailing arms.
Plus, she has dropped her lower legs for more comfort.
Trying to keep the legs straight turns the movement into a core exercise for the person being pressed.
This may sound great initially, but one small movement of the legs as the core fatigues could put both people in danger.
How to Bench Press a Person
4. Have Two Spotters Available
Finally, and probably most importantly, always have two spotters available to help.
If you’re going to bench press a person then at least be sensible about it (okay, I know it’s not exactly a sensible thing to do, but you get my meaning).
For ease, your spotters should pick the person up and place them in your hands.
You then need to ensure that your “grip” is correct before they let go, as it can be difficult to get the centre of mass correct.
Once you’ve finished your party trick it’s much safer for your spotters to remove the person, as opposed to them trying to jump off, or you somehow lowering them to the floor.
Finally, a person tends to roll while they’re in your hands.
So, no matter how still and rigid they try to remain, as you press and lower them, there is a chance that they can topple into a different position.
Therefore, for safety purposes it helps to have a person either side of you.
You should bench press a person that weighs approximately half of your 15-rep bench press max. The person should lie down facing upwards. Place your hands on their middle back and on their butt or the top part of the back of their thigh. The person should remain as still and rigid as possible. Plus, you should only ever attempt to bench press a person with a spotter on either side of you.
For your next read I have delved into the phenomenon that claims that a girl sitting on a guy’s lap can actually increase his bench press.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.