The Floor Press: How to Properly Perform This Strength Exercise

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: January 7, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.
The Floor Press: How to Properly Perform This Strength Exercise

If the bench press is occupied or you find yourself with limited access to a gym, a set of floor presses is a great alternative that can help your strength and conditioning routine stay on track.

This exercise may not boast the same glamour as a wide-bench workout, but it has its own body of benefits that make it worth considering.

While there are similarities, such as targeting the same muscle groups, there are also significant differences in how each exercise engages shoulder mobility in different ways.

Floor presses can provide benefits such as a greater range of motion and better engagement with the stabilizer muscles during lift differences, which should be considered by all users looking to maximize their gains.

The floor press is an excellent alternative to the traditional bench press for those looking to strengthen their chest and shoulder muscles.

The floor press has a lower range of motion than the bench press, putting less strain on the shoulders while still providing an effective strength training exercise.

Lying on the floor also eliminates help from your legs, making it more challenging for your upper body muscles compared to doing a regular press.

Furthermore, having your arms touch the ground with each rep relieves any tension in your muscles as you begin pressing up again.

This means that each subsequent push can be more difficult and require more effort to overcome muscle fatigue.

How to Do the Floor Press

A detailed explanation of how to do the floor press is provided below. Take note that the barbell floor press is demonstrated in the instructions below.

However, if you were to use dumbbells or kettlebells, the steps would essentially be the same (both of which are fine options.)

Step to Step Guide How to Do the Floor Press:

Step 1: Start by lying down on your back, with a weighted barbell resting across your chest. Your feet should be flat on the ground and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. 

Step 2: Inhale deeply and brace your core to prepare for the lift. Dig your feet into the ground, squeeze your glutes and press your lower back against the floor as you brace yourself for the press.

Step 3: Grip the barbell evenly with both hands, creating an even foundation to press from. Make sure that your hands are shoulder-width apart and evenly spaced about each other. 

Step 4: Use a full range of motion as you move through this lift, pressing up until your arms reach full extension at the top of the movement before slowly lowering back down to the start position. Keep elbows tucked close to the body throughout the lift to ensure optimal form and stability.  

Step 5: At the bottom position, pause briefly before initiating another rep without bouncing off of the floor to help maintain control over each rep and create tension throughout the upper body muscles involved in this exercise (shoulders, triceps, chest). 

Step 6: Aim for 8-12 reps per set, focusing on maintaining form throughout each rep rather than simply increasing weight too quickly or relying solely on momentum while performing this exercise. 

Benefits of the Floor Press

The floor press is an effective exercise that can help strengthen a variety of muscles.

Not only does this movement target the triceps, due to its shorter range of motion than a regular bench press, but it also challenges the shoulders and chest.

For individuals looking to work these particular areas, adding this exercise into their routine can help strengthen those specific areas as well as their triceps.

Improve Triceps Muscle 

The floor press is an invaluable exercise for athletes looking to increase the size and strength of their triceps.

This lift challenges the user to push against their entire range of motion, allowing the triceps muscles to firmly engage at extended positions and increase in intensity.

As a result, athletes will experience significant positive carry-over in their bench pressing ability and other upper body pressing motions.

Increase Upper-Body Strength

The floor press is a skillful movement that provides an excellent way to train upper body pressing strength and an enhanced ability to lockout.

Unlike the bench press, it allows for a greater range of motion and heavier load due to the decreased range of motion.

With this in mind, it is wise to program it into your training like other bench-press variations, and with time you will be able to show off increased upper-body pressing strength and improved ability to lockout.

Easy on Shoulders

If someone has a shoulder injury, it is important to reduce the range of motion of activities to put less strain on the affected area.

In terms of upper body exercises such as pressing and bench press, some alternatives may help avoid further irritation at the shoulder joint.

Engaging in neutral-grip pressing and floor pressing rather than bench presses can help someone with a shoulder injury maintain their strength without putting too much strain on their shoulder.

Muscles Worked by the Floor Press

The floor press is an effective exercise for developing size and strength in the upper body.

Primarily, it activates the chest muscles (pectorals), which provide the force needed to lift the weight.

Additionally, it significantly works the triceps, which contributes to keeping the elbow in a stable position and facilitates fully extending this joint during the press.

Although not as recognized as these major muscle groups, exercising with proper form will also engage smaller muscle groups like scapular stabilizers and rhomboids that are responsible for keeping the barbell steady while pressing.

Floor Press Variations

The three-floor press variations listed below can be employed by coaches and players to maintain a diversified and advanced training program.

Dumbbell Floor Press

The dumbbell floor press is a great exercise to add to your routine if you want to address muscle imbalances.

This unilateral exercise requires the lifter to balance two individual weights separately, making for a more demanding stabilization challenge and allowing more freedom when it comes to pressing angles.

When compared with a fixed barbell position, customizable angling can help alleviate any potential discomfort from a static setup.

Adding the dumbbell floor press into your training program will provide you with several unique benefits that could potentially improve your overall fitness focus and outcomes.

Floor Press with Chains/Bands

Utilizing chains and resistance bands for the floor press is a popular regimen for experienced lifters looking to see tangible results in their strength.

Not only can it increase overall muscle power, it can also assist with force development and fine-tuning bar paths during use.

To get the most out of chain and band training, lifters should aim to place around 60-70% of their maximum weight on the barbell this will help ensure they’re getting the maximum benefit from each press.

Concentric Floor Press

The concentric floor press is a specialized exercise that can help to improve overall upper body strength, particularly for those athletes focused on building a strong bench press.

This movement requires the lifter to be supported by a rack or frame at the bottom of the movement so that their efforts can be better concentrated on properly pressing the barbell.

The resulting increased need for concentric strength in the triceps and pectorals then leads to improved lockouts and size and strength gains in the chest and arms.

Contrary to other specialized exercises such as the Anderson squat or pin press, this unique movement could play an important role in developing improved upper body muscle mass and power.

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