The NHL Bench Press Test is an upper body muscular strength-power test. Athletes bench press 50% of their body weight as quickly as possible for three reps, with maximum power measured. A "Gym Aware" device is used to measure the velocity of the bar and the athlete's ability to produce power.
purpose: to measure maximum power of the chest muscle groups.
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Perform an appropriate warm-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: The bar is set at approximately 50% of body weight, based on the table below. A "Gym Aware" device is attached to the bar. The athlete lies on his back on the bench and the bar is grasped with thumbs approximately at shoulder width apart. The buttocks must remain on the bench with the feet on the floor. The starting position of the bar is touching the chest at approximately the axillary line and the bar is pushed to full extension of the arms. Athletes bench press the weight as quickly as possible for three reps, pausing shortly between reps, with maximum power measured using the attached device.
|Body Weight (lbs)
|Test Weight Performed (lbs.)
|235 and above
scoring: The reported score from the "Gym Aware" device is recorded in watts/kg.
results: From the 2018 NHL Combine, the best result was 8.25 watts/kg by Rasmus Kupari (see more at NHL combine results).
disadvantages: This test should only be performed by those experienced at performing the bench press lift with good technique. Good technique will also enable the lifter to maximize their score. The specific 'Gym Aware' device is required, though there may be others that also measure the same thing.
- An appropriate and standardized warm-up procedure should be followed.
- For safety, a spotter should stand at the head of the bench throughout the test.
- The test results of this test may be specific to the equipment used (height of bench, variations in weights), so is best to use the same equipment for test-retest measures.
The Test in Action
- This test is currently used for the NHL combine.
- Bench press 1RM
- Seated Medicine Ball Throw
- Powerball Chest Launch
- Basketball Throw — two-handed push for power with the back against a wall.
- More about Bench Press Fitness Testing
- About the NHL Combine test protocols
- See video examples of bench press testing in action.
- bench press technique
- NBA pre-draft camp fitness tests, NHL combine testing and the NFL combine testing