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How Many Times Should You Bench Press Your Weight?

author image Trisha McNary
A lifetime weightlifting and abs workout enthusiast living in eastern Washington, Marsha Wyatt is a technical editor and writer specializing in health and fitness topics including weight training and fitness and diet programs for longevity.
How Many Times Should You Bench Press Your Weight?
Base your number of reps on your fitness level and goals. Photo Credit: IT Stock/Polka Dot/Getty Images

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.

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Three Sets Is Best

One set is not enough for the bench press.
One set is not enough for the bench press. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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.

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