This study examined the possibility of using movement velocity as an indicator of relative load in the bench press (BP) exercise. One hundred and twenty strength-trained males performed a test (T1) with increasing loads for the individual determination of the one-repetition maximum (1RM) and full load-velocity profile. Fifty-six subjects performed the test on a second occasion (T2) following 6 weeks of training. A very close relationship between mean propulsive velocity (MPV) and load (%1RM) was observed (R (2)=0.98). Mean velocity attained with 1RM was 0.16+/-0.04 m x s(-1) and was found to influence the MPV attained with each %1RM. Despite a mean increase of 9.3% in 1RM from T1 to T2, MPV for each %1RM remained stable. Stability in the load-velocity relationship was also confirmed regardless of individual relative strength. These results confirm an inextricable relationship between relative load and MPV in the BP that makes it possible to: 1) evaluate maximal strength without the need to perform a 1RM test, or test of maximum number of repetitions to failure (XRM); 2) determine the %1RM that is being used as soon as the first repetition with any given load is performed; 3) prescribe and monitor training load according to velocity, instead of percentages of 1RM or XRM.