When it comes to building upper-body strength, you have no shortage of exercises. One go-to is the overhead press. But this is an umbrella term. In reality, there are countless types of presses you can rehearse. One is the floor press!

What is a Floor Press?

A floor press is a type of weightlifting exercise that is performed lying on the floor with your legs bent in front of you. The exercise is similar to your standard bench press except that the range of motion is limited by the floor. The floor press is a great exercise for developing strength in the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It can be performed with dumbbells, a barbell, or kettlebells.

This is what it looks like when performed with dumbbells:

While perhaps less common, you can also perform this with a barbell:

How to Do a Floor Press

While the movement is simple enough to execute, your form still matters. Let’s talk about how to do the floor press and break it down into steps. This assumes you’re using dumbbells.

  1. Start with a more manageable weight so that you can first get comfortable with the movement. Sit down on the floor with a dumbbell on each side.
  2. Bend your legs so that your feet are flat on the floor.
  3. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and prop the weight up on your quads.
  4. Lie back until you’re flat on the floor and as you do so, bring the weights overhead. Your palms should be facing out (away from you).
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbells to your chest until your elbows hit the floor. Your elbows shouldn’t be flared out to the sides but rather slightly tucked in so that they’re at about a 45-degree angle.
  6. Press the weight back up to the starting position until your arms are once again extended. This completes one rep.

The execution is mostly the same if you’re using a barbell. It’s the setup that’s quite different. In addition to your weight, you need a rig, risers (as in the video above), or a stack of weights on each side to prop the barbell up.

3 Benefits of the Floor Press

Some people consider the floor press inferior to the bench press because it limits your range of motion. In other words, you can’t lower the weight as much because the floor stops your elbows. However, the floor press is beneficial in its own right.

1. It Can Help to Protect the Shoulder

For some athletes, limiting the range of motion is a good thing. The bench press can put the shoulder joint in a more vulnerable position. For some athletes, this is no big deal. For people with limited mobility or previous injuries, it can be a problem.

2. It’s a Sure Thing for Strength-Building

Just because there’s no bench involved doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. The floor press will still help you build strength and stability in your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

3. The Floor Press Requires Less Equipment

Not every gym has a bench, whether it’s a commercial or home gym. For the floor press, all you need is some sort of weight, and you’re good to go!

If you do have a bench, be sure to check out our blog on dumbbell bench presses next.