Warner Bros./Walt Disney

How much can you bench? It’s the clichéd question for anyone who obviously lifts. And the fittest celebrities get asked, too. We set out to figure out exactly how much some of those jacked stars could, at their best, bench for one rep. A few rules: Celebrity status is limited to actors or musicians. We’ve tried to verify all lifts, ideally with video. We’ve often calculated one-rep maxes from multi-rep sets (and rounded these up if the sets were part of exercise circuits). Because we’re skeptical of unverified lifts in the 400-Club, three celebs who claim big benches were left off the list: 50 Cent (400), Flo Rida (400), and Terry Crews (475). You can decide to believe those or not. Another, Sylvester Stallone, is included but disputed. Verification (green backgrounds), or lack thereof, is noted for each of the following stars.

500    Arnold Schwarzenegger Unverified. Arnold’s biggest verified bench was 441 lbs. in a powerlifting meet when he was 20, but his strength likely peaked a few years later when he was winning Mr. Olympias. He claimed to have hit the big 5-0-0, which might be a stretch, but he certainly was in that neighborhood. Related: How Strong Was Arnold?

487    John Cena  Verified. This 2015 bench is the only videoed one-rep-max on our list. Wrestler/actor Cena was 38, and those are 25 kg. (approx. 55 lb.) plates.

450    Dave Bautista Unverified. It’s a big number, but he’s been a big man for a long time. It seems doable by him, especially back in his WWE days.

450    Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Semi-Verified. College football teammate, Leon Searcy, remembers Johnson as a freshman: “He was out-squatting and out-benching guys who had been there three to four years at Miami. He was benching over 400 pounds, squatting about 500.” Presumedly, The Rock grew even stronger in subsequent years.

405    LL Cool J   Unverified. In 2017, the then-49-year-old rapper/actor tweeted: “Hit 225lb 20x on bench today [NFL] combine style then hit 335lb for a freshen up. Felt pretty light. Gonna test my max in a couple weeks.” (20 x 225 = 375 x 1) In a response to the tweet, the long-time gym rat claimed his personal best was 405. Mama said knock out four plates?

LL Cool J bench press
LL Cool J raps / YouTube

400    Busta Rhymes Semi-Verified. A video shows the XL rapper incline pressing five reps with 315 but stopping four inches short of his chest each time. We gave him three good incline reps to calculate his one-rep bench press (typically, you’re about 80% as strong in the incline as the flat press).

385    Will Smith Unverified. According to his trainer, the rapper/actor hit this personal best prepping for I, Robot (2004).

385    Sylvester Stallone Doubtful. In his 2005 fitness book Sly Moves, Sly claims to have been able to bench press 385-400 before tearing his pec in a bench press contest with his trainer, Franco Columbu, prepping for Rocky II (1979). But in a 1979 New York Times article, he said: “I was working with Franco Columbo….At the end of a workout he said, ‘Let’s see you bench‐press 200 pounds.’ I said, ‘I’m kind of tired and I hate to press,’ but he said, ‘Just once,’ so I laid back and pressed 200. ‘Try 210,’ he said. I didn’t want to, but he insisted so I did. ‘Now 220,’ and I said, ‘Franco, knock it off.’ ‘Just once,’ he said, so I tried 220 pounds and the weight fell on me and I heard a pop.” His pec had torn. So, he’s only claiming 210 (at the end of a workout). Did he do more before or (with a reconstructed pec) after? It certainly seems like a Rocky-sized workout fanatic should’ve benched at least 285, but, based on his own contemporary account, 385-400 is dubious.

345 Method Man Verified. On December 4, 2020, the 49-year-old rapper/actor, who is on a personal fitness quest, posted to Instagram a video of himself benching 315 for four reps. We converted it to a max single.

335    Mark Wahlberg Unverified. To play a juiced bodybuilder in No Pain, No Gain (2013), the 5’8″ Wahlberg went from 165 to 205 in seven weeks and claims to have similarly upped his bench press to an impressive 335.

330    Eric Bana Unverified. In 2009, the actor said, “I used to lift very heavy weights in my mid-twenties. I used to bench press over 300 lbs. The most I ever lifted was 330 lbs.” 

325    Michael B. Jordan Unverified. Jordan’s personal trainer claimed he benched 315 for two reps while beefing up to his biggest muscular weight for Black Panther (2018). We converted this to one-rep max.

320    Gerard Butler Unverified. While prepping for 300 (2006), he was supposedly benching 225 for 10 reps in a circuit with other exercises. Did the Butler do it?

315    Hugh Jackman Unverified. The Aussie actor was reportedly able to bench three plates when prepping to play Wolverine in X-Men (2000). By the way, 15 years later, the then 46-year-old Instagrammed that he benched 235 along with a 355-lb. squat and 410-lb. deadlift in the same workout for a 1000-lb. powerlifting total.

300    Henry Cavill Unverified. While training 300-style (lots of exercise circuits) for Man of Steel (2013), Superman’s higher-rep bench press sets were said to be based on his ability to do a single with 300.

300    Chris Hemsworth Semi-Veverified. In a video, Thor reps out bench presses with 195. Because this was part of an exhausting eight sets of bench presses (and was at least a 10-rep set), we’ve estimated his one-rep strength then at 300.

Chris Hemsworth bench press
Thor hammers the bench press (those are 25-lb plates, 195 lbs. total). / YouTube

300    Chris Pratt Unverified. This is based on his reportedly benching 10 reps with 210 in circuits while training for Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

280    Brad Pitt Unverified. We computed a one-rep max based on the 8 reps with 225 he reportedly benched when getting yoked for Fight Club (1999).

270    Nelly Semi-Verified. According to a tweet by sportswriter Spencer Hall: “For the record, Nelly’s bench press was around 270 at one point. Perfectly respectable.”

240    Kevin Hart Verified. We calculated the 140-pound comedian/actor’s one-rep max based on a video of him benching 225 for three reps in 2017.

100    Gal Gadot Unverified. When training for Wonder Woman, Gadot claimed to bench 85 lbs. for “several reps.” Depending on how many “several” is, it equats to 95-105 for one.

Gal Gadot bench press
Wonder Woman running to the gym / Warner Bros.