Take On This Week’s Friday Fitness Test: The Bench Press
Men's Health teamed up with the Sports Science Institute of South Africa to define a new fitness standard.

November 25, 2013

man doing a bench press in the gym

Want to find out if you’re MHFit? Try our Friday Fitness Test: the bench press.

Purpose: Determine the max strength of the upper body.

Equipment: Olympic barbell with 50kg combined total (including bar and collars), bench

Goal: As many 50kg bench press reps as possible in 2 minutes.

Related: The 15 Best Exercises To Build Your Chest

Take The Test

Lie flat on your back on a bench, with your feet on the floor or on the bench. Your hips and shoulders should say in contact with the bench throughout the move. Place your hands onto the bar roughly 5 -10cm wider than your shoulders. When the bar is lowered to your chest, your elbows should be able flex to close to 90 degrees. To start the test, lower the bar off the stand and with control, bring it down to the centre of your chest, touching it lightly on your sternum.

Then press it upwards until your arms are locked straight above you. You are not allowed to bounce the weight off your chest. Breathe in while lowering the bar, and exhale when you press it upwards. You will need to get as many reps of this 50kg bench press in 2 minutes. You can rest at the top of the movement but you can’t place the weight back on the stand. Once the weight is placed on the stand, the test is finished and reps should be counted.

Training Tip

To get the most out of your bench press, keep your hips flat on the bench, and keep your feet planted. Keep your elbows tucked in, and press through your heels for more power.

Reasons For Disqualification

1. Bouncing the bar off your chest.
2. Not extending your arms fully.
3. Any touching of the bar by the spotter.

Related: Build Your Chest and Back with Just One Dumbbell

Level 1 – 0-20
Level 2 – 21-25
Level 3 – 26-30
Level 4 – 31-35
Level 5 – 36-40
Level 6 – 41-45
Level 7 – 46-50
Level 8 – 51-55
Level 9 – 56-60
Level 10 – 60+

Related: 3 Classic Chest-Chiselling Exercises That Will Make Your Pecs Pop

To workout your final score, add up your seven totals to get one number. Then divide that number by 7 and times by 10. That will be your final MH Elite score for the leaderboard.

(Total score ÷ 7) X 10 = MHELITE score