Progression of the bench press world record

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Bench press world records are the international records in bench press across the years, regardless of weight class or governing organization, for bench pressing on the back without using a bridge technique. The advent of bench press shirts, which support the lifter's shoulders and provide upward force, have increased records significantly since 1985 (for example, when the shirted record was 438.64 kg (965 lb), the unshirted record was 323.41 kg (713 lb)).[1] Today, the world record bench press without a bench shirt is 327.5 kg (722 lb) (327.5 kg), set by Eric Spoto (USA) in May 2013.[2]

Prior to IPF Formation[edit]

1898Georg Hackenschmidt presses 164 kg (361 lb).[3]raw
1916Joe Nordquest presses 165 kg (363 lb).[3]raw
early 1950sDoug Hepburn becomes the first man to bench press 400, 450, and 500 lb. In November 1950 he pressed 400 lb (181.82 kg). He pressed 450 lb (204.55 kg) in 1951, and 500 lb (227.27 kg) in December 1953.[1][3]raw
1959Bruno Sammartino presses 256.82 kg (565 lb).[4]raw
1967Pat Casey presses 615.5 lb (279.2 kg) on March 25, 1967 and becomes the first man to bench press over 600 lb.[5]raw
1971Jim Williams presses 635 lb (288.64 kg) at the Eastern USA Open. Then in November, he presses 661 lb (300.45 kg).[6][7]raw
1972Jim Williams presses 675 lb (306.2 kg) with only ace bandages on his elbows, wearing a t-shirt on November 9, at the 1972 AAU World Powerlifting Championships.[5][8][9]raw

Foundation of the International Powerlifting Federation[edit]

With the foundation of the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation), the Federation began keeping "official" powerlifting world records as the international governing body for the sport of powerlifting. Previous records which hadn't been set within the newly established rules, were reset (For example elbow bandages had been allowed prior to the formation of the IPF, but were later outlawed). These are the official bench press records after the IPF-reset until they surpass the previously set mark of 306 kg (675 lb) by Jim Williams.

1973Don Reinhoudt presses 580.04 lb (263 kg) raw at the inaugural IPF World Powerlifting Championships in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on November 10, 1973.[10]raw
1974Don Reinhoudt presses 590 lb (267.6 kg) raw at the AAU Senior National Championships in Fort Worth, Texas on September 1, 1974.[10]raw
1975Don Reinhoudt presses 607.37 lb (275.5 kg) raw on May 3, 1975 in Chattanooga.[10][9]raw
1977Wayne Bouvier presses 610 lb (276.69 kg) in August, 1977.[11]raw
1978Doug Young presses 611.8 lb (277.5 kg) on April 3, 1978 in El Dorado, Arkansas.[9]raw
1979Lars Hedlund presses 612.9 lb (278 kg) on June 21, 1979 in Stockholm.[12]raw
1979Bill Kazmaier presses 617.3 lb[13] (280.0 kg) on July 8 at the USPF Nationals in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and then breaks his own record with 622.8 lb (282.5 kg) on November 4, 1979 in Dayton, Ohio at the IPF Men's World Powerlifting Championships.[14][15]raw
1980Lars Hedlund presses 628.3 lb (285.0 kg) on March 4, 1980 Copenhagen.[12][9]raw
1980Bill Kazmaier presses 633.83 lb (287.5 kg) despite quadriceps injury at the 1980 World Series of Powerlifting in May 1980 in Auburn, Alabama.[14][16][15]raw
1981Bill Kazmaier first presses 639.3 lb[13] (290.0 kg) and then 661.4 lb[9] (300.0 kg) at the USPF West Georgia Open Powerlifting Championships, held in Columbus, Georgia on January 31, 1981 to become the first human to officially bench press 300 kg (661.4 lb)(raw) in an IPF-sanctioned meet (and without elbow wraps).[14][15]raw
1984Ted Arcidi presses 666.9 lb (302.50 kg) without wrist wraps on April 1, 1984 in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Hawaiian Internationals at only 286 lb bodyweight.[9]raw

Equipped (with bench shirt)[edit]

1985Ted Arcidi first presses 678 lb[17] and then becomes the first man to bench press over 700 lb with a lift of 705.5 lb (320.0 kg),[18] performed without wrist wraps, but with one of the first prototype supportive bench press shirts, which was 50% polyester and 50% cotton and only one layer thick.[1][19]shirt
1990Ted Arcidi presses 718.1 lb (325.72 kg) at the APF Bench Press Invitational on September 30 in Keene, New Hampshire.[20]shirt
1993Anthony Clark presses 725 lb (328.85 kg) in May and then on September 25, breaks his own record with a 735 lb (333.39 kg) lift at the USPF Northwest Open.[21]shirt
1994Anthony Clark presses 738 lb (334.75 kg).[22][23]shirt
1995Jamie Harris presses 740 lb (335.66 kg) at the APF State Championships in March 1995.[23][24][25]shirt
1995Chris Confessore presses 741 lb (336.11 kg) at only 236 lb bodyweight on June 17, 1995.[22]shirt
1995Anthony Clark presses 748 lb (339.29 kg) and 750 lb (340.19 kg) at the Great Bench Press of America Meet in Texas.[26]shirt
1996Anthony Clark presses 770 lb (349.26 kg) and later 780 lb (353.80 kg) in September 1996 at the Mr. Olympia.[26]shirt
1997Anthony Clark presses 785 lb (356.0 kg).[26]shirt
1999Tim Isaac is the first man to bench press over 800 lb* with a lift of 802 lb (363.78 kg) on July 24 in Phoenix, Arizona.[27][28]shirt
2003Gene Rychlak is the first man to bench press 900 lb (409.09 kg).[29]shirt
2004Gene Rychlak is the first man to bench press over 1000 lb with a lift of 1004 lb (456.36 kg) in November. [30]shirt
2006Scot Mendelson presses 1008 lb (458.18 kg) (February 18) in a powerlifting exhibition called FIT EXPO in Pasadena, CA.[30][31]shirt
2006Gene Rychlak presses 1010 lb (459.09 kg) (December 16).[32]shirt
2007Ryan Kennelly presses 1036 lb (470.91 kg) (September 22–23).[33]shirt
2007Ryan Kennelly presses 1050 lb (476.27 kg) (December 1).[34]shirt
2008Ryan Kennelly presses 1070 lb (485.34 kg) (April 12).[35]shirt
2008Ryan Kennelly presses 1074.8 lb (487.5 kg) (July 13).[36]shirt
2008Ryan Kennelly presses 1075.0 lb (487.6 kg) (November 8).[37][38]shirt
2013Paul "Tiny" Meeker presses 1102.0 lb (500.0 kg) (December 14) at the Cajun hardcore powerlifting meet in Buna, TX.[39][38]shirt

* note: Anthony Clark performed a controversial 800-pound bench press at the Arnold Classic in 1997, 2 years before Tim Isaac. This lift was, however, later turned down.

Unequipped (without bench shirt)[edit]

For the bench press to be considered raw, no bench shirts are allowed; however, wrist wraps, singlets and belts are allowed. Elbow bandages had been allowed prior to the formation of the IPF, but were later outlawed.

1996James Henderson presses 705 lb[40] raw in a t-shirt without wrist wraps or a belt to become the first man to bench press over 700 lb raw in May 1996.[41]raw
1997James Henderson first presses 699.97 lb[40][42] and on a later attempt the same day 711 lb (322.5 kg)[40][9] raw without wrist wraps or a belt on July 13, 1997 at the USPF Senior Nationals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (full three-lift-meet).[43] Today, it is still the highest bench press ever performed in a drug-tested competition as well as the highest ever done in an IPF-sanctioned three-lift-meet.[44]raw
2003Scot Mendelson presses 713 lb (323.4 kg) on February 8, 2003.[44][42]raw
2005Scot Mendelson presses 715 lb (324.3 kg) with only belt and wrist wraps on May 22, 2005 in Worcester, Massachusetts at the New England Bench Press Classic.[44][42][45][9]raw
2013Eric Spoto first presses 716 lb (325 kg) and then 722 lb (327.5 kg) with only belt and wrist wraps on May 19, 2013 at the 2013 SPF California State Powerlifting Meet in Sacramento, California. Eric successfully benched 661 lb on his 1st, 716 lb on his 2nd and 722 lb on his 3rd attempt on the same day.[2]raw

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Josh Levin (2004-08-09). "One Giant Lift for Mankind: The race for the 1,000 lb bench press". Slate. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  2. ^ a b "video: Ricky Burns 722 lb World Record Raw Bench Press - Official Video". SuperTraining.TV. 
  3. ^ a b c Katterle, S (February 2009). "Power Surge: The Bench Press - History, Records and Raw Lifts". Ironman Magazine. p. 237. 
  4. ^ "Bruno Sammartino and Strength". Physicalstrategies, 2006-12-03. Retrieved 2012-08-24
  5. ^ a b Katterle, 2009, p. 241
  6. ^ "Jim Williams - a Powerlifting Pioneer". House of Payne Powerlifting. 1993-09-26. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  7. ^ "Weightlifter 'Chimesy' Williams dies". The Scranton Times Tribune. 2007-01-27. Retrieved 2009-01-02. [dead link]
  8. ^ Payne, K (2000-11-27). "Jim Williams- a Powerlifting Pioneer". Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  10. ^ a b c "Don Reinhoudt Powerlifting statistics (incomplete)". 
  11. ^ Pileggi, Sarah. "The Pleasure Of Being The World's Strongest Woman". 
  12. ^ a b "Lars Hedlund Powerlifting statistics (incomplete)". 
  13. ^ a b "American Strength Legends: Bill Kazmaier (Career Statistics)". 1998-06-28. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  14. ^ a b c "Bill Kazmaier Powerlifting statistics (incomplete)". Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  15. ^ a b c "Encyclopedia of Alabama: Bill Kazmaier". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved 2012-10-07. 
  16. ^ 1980 World Series of Powerlifting part 2/3 (Kazmaier bench presses 633.8lb starting at 8 minutes 31 seconds)
  17. ^ Video: Ted Arcidi Breaks Bench Press Record-Legend (pressing 678lb & 705.5lb)
  18. ^
  19. ^ "The Strongest? Who's to argue?". The Boston Globe. 1985-04-29. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  20. ^ "World's Strongest Man of... Wrestling". PYGOD ( 
  21. ^ "Lifter Breaks Bench Press World Record". The Seattle Times. 1993-09-26. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  22. ^ a b "Chris Confessore". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  23. ^ a b "American Strength Legends: Jamie Harris". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  24. ^ "Local Man Sets Powerlifting Record". WTAE TV 4 Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  25. ^ video: JAMIE HARRIS WORLD BENCH PRESS RECORD 740lbs 1995
  26. ^ a b c Bruner, Tim (2001-03-09). "Anthony Clark Interview". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  27. ^ Walters, J (1999-09-20). "A Historic Benchmark: Tim Isaac is the first to bench-press 800 lb". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  28. ^ Hibbard, J (2000-03-02). "Comeback of the 800-Pound Gorilla". Phoenix New Times News. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  29. ^ Rys, R (May 2004). "Mr Big standard barbell". Men's Fitness. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  30. ^ a b Seip, J (2006-12-30). "Rychlak presses onward". York Daily Record. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  31. ^ "video: Scot Mendelson's 1008lb Record Bench Press 2/18/2006 at FIT EXPO in Pasadena, CA". 
  32. ^ Hallman, J (2006-12-30). "Royersford’s Rychlak Sets Record by Benching 1,010 lbs". The Mercury. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  33. ^ "WPO World Power Stars". World Powerlifting Organization. 2007-09-22. Retrieved 2008-08-17. 
  34. ^ Taylor, S (2007-12-01). "APA Northwest Open". American Powerlifting Association. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  35. ^ Taylor, S (2008-04-12). "APA Northwest Iron War". American Powerlifting Association. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  36. ^ "UPA Bench Bash For Cash Results". United Powerlifting Association. 2008-07-12. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  37. ^ "Pride Strength Wars Results". Pride Powerlifting. 2008-11-08. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  38. ^ a b "video: Ryan Kennelly All time 308 best bench 1075 lbs". 
  39. ^ "Powerlifting Meet Results (look for SPF Texas State, April 13, Corpus Christi". 
  40. ^ a b c "James Henderson Powerlifting statistics (incomplete)". Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  41. ^ "Powerlifting USA, volume 19 number 10 (cover with James Henderson pressing 705 in a t-shirt)". Powerlifting USA magazine. 
  42. ^ a b c Vasquez, Johnny. "600 Pound raw Bench Press Hall of Fame". 
  43. ^ Guinness World Records Editors, Mark C. Young, ed. (1999). The Guinness Book of World Records 1999. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-58075-2. OCLC 41382761. 
  44. ^ a b c Vasquez, Johnny. "Men's All-time Raw World Records". 
  45. ^ "video: Scot Mendelson 715 Raw Bench Press World Record".