It’s no secret that pro wrestling is stockpiled with tremendous athletes, many of whom have killer physiques and unreal strength. From an aesthetic perspective, this kind of power makes perfect sense for wrestlers who need to look the part of professional fighters, not to mention that no one wants to look out of shape when performing bare chested in front of thousands of live fans. On a related note, while wrestlers may not actually engage in physical contests against one another in the ring, they do still have to execute maneuvers and holds that require very real strength, and thus must put in the time at the gym to be able to execute at the high level.
Particularly at the upper levels of the business—working for promotions like World Wrestling Entertainment, Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground, and New Japan, a part of the draw of wrestling is that it boasts larger than life figures who look unlike the average joe, and can pull off feats of physicality that most people could never dream of.
When it comes to evaluating strength, the main metric that American gym rats always turn back to is the bench press. It’s a compound weightlifting exercise that emphasize chest and triceps. According to LiveStrong, the average, untrained adult man can bench press approximately 135 pounds. Of course, people who do train faithfully tend to exceed that figure pretty handily, and for a male professional athlete, that’s a pretty paltry sum. But just how much can the powerhouses of the business, as well deceptively strong smaller wrestlers actually bench? This article looks at fifteen figures that have been reported from around the wrestling world.
15 Brock Lesnar - 600 lbs (Max)
No two ways about it--Brock Lesnar is a freak of nature. Just looking at the guy, he’s jacked to the gills, and his combination of real strength, athleticism, and legitimate wrestling skill made him a perfect storm, once in a lifetime performer in pro wrestling’s squared circle.
When Brock Lesnar tried out for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, he reportedly benched 475 pounds. It’s worth noting that he was lifting hurt at the time, and weighted in at 295 pounds himself—a good 25 pounds lighter than he once tipped the scales at.
At Lesnar’s best, MixedMartialArts.com reports Lesnar putting up 600 pounds from the bench.
All of this is pretty stunning for a guy who never took up power lifting as his primary focus, but rather benefited from great genetics, skill, and clear work ethic in the weight room.
14 Nia Jax - 200 lbs
WWE rarely delves into how much its performers can lift in raw numbers, and that’s particularly true of female performers, for whom power usually isn’t one of their primary assets in their toolkit. Nia Jax, however, has built her gimmick as a classic monster heel. She’s taller, heavier, and more powerful than the competition, and while she may not have the polished in ring game of an Asuka or Sasha Banks, her sheer physicality makes her a credible threat to anyone on the WWE women’s roster.
So, in Jax’s case, it may be no surprise that Michael Cole has more than once announced from the commentary table that she can bench press over 200 pounds. The fact that that’s likely as much, if not well over the amount plenty of male fans can bench underscores that she’s no joke, and probably could hold her own in shoot against plenty of men in wrestling today.
13 Ryback - 500 lbs
Ryback was known in WWE as “The Big Guy,” and with good reason. Few performers of his generation—during a time when WWE more meaningfully and more regularly tests for performance enhancing drugs—can compare how big his muscles were, or how simultaneously well defined they were. It’s little surprise that since leaving WWE, he would open his own line of supplements and fitness products to cash in on his phenomenal strength and physique.
So what kind of numbers does Ryback put up in the gym? According to an interview with WWE.com, he claims to have maxed out at 550 pounds in the past.
That’s an impressive figure for just about anyone. While WWE made a show out of Ryback’s bench press contest with Mark Henry in the build to WrestleMania XXIX, and many fans suggested the weights were gimmicked, this real figure suggests that The Big Guy may well not have needed gimmicked weights to demonstrate how strong he really was.
12 John Cena - 480 lbs
Starting in the mid-2000s, John Cena spent about a decade as the definitive face of WWE. He had a lot of the qualities WWE loves in a performer, combining the ability to work well in high pressure matches, the gift for gab, and a rock solid work ethic with the physique of a real life muscle bound super hero.
Cena actually competed as a professional body builder before breaking into wrestling, and it’s little surprise that he’s a hardcore gym rat.
The modern era and social media being what they are, we don’t have to take Cena’s word for how much he can lift. Even approaching the age of 40, Cena has posted videos of himself bench pressing upwards of 480 pounds, and it's widely believed that he has put up 500 in the past.
11 Triple H - 405 lbs
Triple H is known for his killer fitness. It was the combination of his in ring talent, personality, and physique that landed him a spot working alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock at the peak of WWE’s popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Moreover, the guy has remained in freakishly good shape as he closes in on 50 years of age, and still looks like he belongs when he makes occasional wrestling appearances for WWE.
In a 2016 feature with Muscle and Fitness, at the age of 46, Triple H revealed that he could, at the time, bench press 405 pounds.
We can only assume that in his physical prime he could lift even more, though he may have placed less emphasis on his max bench than overall conditioning then. Thus somewhere in the 400 to 450 pound range probably does represent the highest he’s gone.
10 Roman Reigns - 445 lbs
In a WWE.com feature, Roman Reigns discussed his approach to working out his chest and what kind of milestones he has hit. Granted, this was back in the year 2013, but at the time Reigns reported having maxed out at 445. He alluded to some of his personal best stemming from having been hyped up because it was on a Monday leading up to an episode of Raw.
The Big Dog looks like a million bucks, and so it’s little surprise that he could move some serious weight in the gym. When the interview inquired about how he got so strong, he emphasized that negatives (bringing the bar down slowly on a bench) and dips were critical for helping him advance his overall bench press numbers.
Tyrus from Impact Wrestling and the independent scene—formerly known as Brodus Clay for WWE—isn’t necessarily known as a gym rat. He looks less like a body builder than an old school monster heel along the lines of King Kong Bundy or The One Man Gang. Still, for a man of his size, there’s some natural power at play, and Tyrus has alluded in interviews to having spent his share of time in the weight room.
In a WWE.com interview, back when he was with the company, Tyrus said he his personal best on the bench press had been 525 pounds. That’s a pretty staggering figure, even for a guy billed as weighing 375 pounds. While the Funkasaurus has never gotten a proper main even push with any major promotion, it’s clear he has the physical tools to be a legitimate force.
8 Kane - 525 lbs
Kane’s persona as The Big Red Machine—The Undertaker’s little brother disfigured in a childhood house fire, later accused of necrophilia and other crimes—wouldn’t necessarily lead you to think of him pumping iron at your local gym. Just the same, when you look at the guy’s arms, particularly when he was in his prime, there’s no mistaking the bulk and definition of a guy who has put in significant work with the weights.
There’s little doubt that Kane’s longevity—working most of the last 20 years for WWE—correlates to the work he’s done to condition his body.
He claims a single max rep of 525 pounds on bench press, and emphasized in an interview with WWE.com that that was without a bench shirt or other accessories that might make that feat any easier.
7 Vince McMahon - 450 lbs
At 69 years of age, Vince McMahon was the subject of a 2015 cover story for Muscle & Fitness magazine. Therein, McMahon cited that even that point in his life, he could bench press 450 pounds, nearly double his body weight. The figure may not surprise some. As soon as the Chairman started showing off his physique during the Attitude Era, in his first wrestling matches, he largely dazzled audiences by just how ripped he was.
One would have to assume McMahon is slowing down these days, in his 70s. However, Chris Jericho spoke on his podcast about a relatively recent instance of having some late night drinks with McMahon while they were traveling, only for McMahon to wind up inviting Y2J for a late night workout. Jericho passed in favor of sleep, only for his older boss, 25 years his senior, to wake him up by texting figures of how much he was lifting in the gym.
6 Rey Mysterio - 300 lbs
Rey Mysterio’s signature style of wrestling involves a light of high flying and lightning quick speed to execute maneuvers like the 619 and the West Coast Pop. However, particularly after he signed with WWE, many fans noticed that Mysterio bulked up in terms of his muscularity. All the more impressive, in his most recent WWE appearance at the 2018 Royal Rumble, the guy looked to be in phenomenal shape—perhaps more physically imposing than he ever had before in his career.
While there’s little credible substantiation of the figure, it’s floating around the Internet that Mysterio is able to bench press about 300 pounds, which is well over a 100 pounds more than he’s ever weighed.
Unlike most performers who might max out their bench earlier in their careers, there’s reason to believe Mysterio may have just recently peaked—or conceivably still be on the rise—given the way his body has shifted over time.
5 Johnny Impact - 400 lbs
While the wrestler may have risen to his greatest mainstream fame as John Morrison, as Johnny Mundo for Lucha Underground, and most recently as Johnny Impact for Impact Wrestling, this guy has risen to new heights as an in ring artist and main event level talent well away from the WWE ring. Impact is known to be incredibly fit, demonstrating a ripped physique and impressive agility throughout his career.
Impact has commented in interviews that he has benched as much as 400 pounds in the gym.
It’s an impressive figure, for sure. A part of what’s impressive about Impact, though, is that he has made it no secret that he diversifies his workout regimen, including offbeat approaches like parkour. So, it’s believable that while he’s consistently looked sensational, he may have transitioned far away from his max bench number in favor of his overall conditioning.
4 Big E - 575 lbs
In 2013, WWE.com ran a feature about how much various stars could bench press. Big E’s number came in at an impressive 575 pounds single max rep, which is a killer number by any standard. Of course, Big E does have the body to back it up with an enormous chest. That’s not to mention that he was a legitimate competitive power lifter in his life before transitioning to professional wrestling.
What may be even more impressive was the volume of Big E’s colleagues who specifically cited him in their responses, claiming he was the most impressive guy on the bench press they’d even seen.
Roman Reigns claimed credit for spotting Big E on his personal best bench, suggesting that E said he couldn’t have done it without him, though it seemed like The New Day’s big man probably would have on his own, regardless of who was standing by.
3 The Big Show - 500 lbs. (12 reps)
The Big Show is a naturally enormous man, and it may interest some fans to learn that he never hit the gym in his youth, and even the in the early days of his wrestling career. He discussed his philosophy in a WWE produced documentary about his life explaining that because genetics gifted him with such size and strength, he never felt a need to lift weights or otherwise work on his body.
Show has turned that around over time, citing that in the latter stages of his career he started eating healthier and working out on the regular. His effort at the gym showed up particularly prominently in the last year as he posted photos of his new six-pack abs and returned to Monday Night Raw looking positively ripped.
Big Show hasn’t publicly disclosed a single rep max on bench press, but did discuss with WWE.com that he had, at the peak of his strength, bench pressed 500 pounds for 12 reps. Those are incredible numbers for anyone, and a testament to the work that Show has put in to compound his natural size with hard-earned strength.
2 Scott Steiner - 525 lbs
Scott Steiner was a relatively quiet face, tag teaming with his brother for the first decade-plus of his pro wrestling career, before he broke out as a singles star for WCW. Steiner was always visibly jacked and capable of tossing guys around the ring. In his singles push, however, his power and physique became the center pieces of his gimmick, as the company rebranded him under the moniker Big Poppa Pump.
Steiner claimed in those WCW days that he could bench press 600 pounds, though most critics suggest that number was inflated for kayfabe purposes. A more realistic number of 525 is floating around the Internet, but Steiner has noted in multiple interviews that he generally avoided bench press due to the potential for injuries, and focused on safer strength training exercises.
1 Braun Strowman - 450 lbs (8 reps)
Braun Strowman, perhaps more than any other wrestler in recent memory, has built his whole persona around being absurdly strong. Some of his most dazzling displays of power on TV were clearly gimmicked—including overturning an ambulance, and later a truck. There’s no faking, however, the way he has dwarfed and lifted with ease big men like Triple H and Brock Lesnar, or the slams he has pulled off opposite The Big Show.
There’s plenty of footage of Strowman pulling off legit feats of strength from his days as a competitive strong man. Word is that, even after coming back from injury, he was able to bench press 450 pounds for eight reps, which suggests that his single rep max, when he’s at his best, would be much higher.
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