Guidelines on how many times to bench press weight varies by your age, health and fitness goals. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends eight to 12 repetitions for people younger than 50 who have reached puberty. More repetitions using lighter weights -- 10 to 15 -- are recommended for people older than 50 or those trying to gain strength, not bulk. If you have heart problems, with a doctor’s approval, 10 to 12 repetitions are recommended.
Three Sets Is Best
In a study in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research," women doing three sets of bench press got stronger than women doing only one set. For six weeks, women between the ages of 20 and 40 with some experience in resistance training lifted weights two days a week with either one or three sets of six to nine repetitions until failure. Only the three-set group showed a significant increase in strength -- 10 percent.