11 Best Barbell Floor Press Alternatives For Jacked Triceps

Floor Press is one of the most effective exercises for building upper body strength, specifically for the chest and triceps.

However, sometimes you may find yourself needing an alternative for Barbell Floor Press.

Maybe you don’t have a barbell or maybe you’re just looking to add some variety to your workouts. Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for an exercise to substitute for Floor Press then you’re in the right place.

I’ve been a collegiate strength coach for 20 years so finding exercise alternatives is something I’m very familiar with. In this article, I’ll share with you 11 of my favorite Barbell Floor Press alternatives including different variations and lifts using different equipment.

Alternatives to Barbell Floor Press

The first few alternatives I have listed are compound movements that emphasize the chest and triceps very similarly to Floor Press. These exercises would all make almost perfect swaps if you needed to replace Floor Press in your workout plan.

The last few alternatives are some of my favorite triceps isolation exercises. They don’t necessarily mimic Floor Press, but they’re all great exercises if you’re looking to add some variety to your arm routine at the end of your workout.

Dumbbell Floor Press

If you’ve only been doing Floor Press with a barbell, then you may be overlooking the most obvious (and closest) Floor Press alternative and that’s the Dumbbell Floor Press.

Dumbbell Floor Press is the same movement, same concept, same everything – except with dumbbells instead of a barbell.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Sit down on the ground with dumbbells in each hand.
  • Lay on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
  • Engage your lats and set yourself up basically the same as you would for Dumbbell Bench Press.
  • Lower the dumbbells down until the triceps lightly tap the floor and then press it back to extension.
  • Keep the elbows at roughly a 45-degree angle to the torso (don’t let them flare out wide away from the body).

Coaching Points

A good spotter can be worth their weight in gold to help you get set up (and even take one dumbbell at the end of the set). This becomes more true the heavier you get in weight.

Control the rep down to the floor and lightly tap the floor with your triceps. Don’t go crashing your arms into the floor and unnecessarily hurt yourself in the process.

Close Grip Bench Press

Close Grip Bench Press Alternatives

Close Grip Bench Press and Floor Press mimic each other almost exactly. The only real difference is that Close Grip Bench Press allows for a little extra range of motion because of being on a bench and not the floor.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Begin by lying flat on a bench with your feet firmly planted on the ground.
  • Grasp the barbell with a grip that’s narrower than shoulder-width. For many, this will be around the width of their chest.
  • Lift the barbell off the rack, holding it straight over your chest. This is your starting position.
  • Slowly lower the bar to the middle of your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body throughout the descent.
  • Once the bar is just above your chest, press it back up, extending your arms fully.
  • Ensure you maintain a controlled tempo, keeping the movement smooth.

Coaching Points

Do not let the elbows flare out away from the midline when you Close Grip Bench Press. The shoulders are incredibly vulnerable in these positions and the sheer force placed on the shoulders will lead to injury if the technique is not made a priority.


Man Doing Dips on Dip Rack Attachment

Dips are my all-time favorite exercise for developing upper body strength and growing the chest and triceps. This is why (spoiler alert) you’re going to see three different Dip variations as alternatives for Floor Press.

The movement patterns and muscle groups worked between the two exercises are extremely close. Whether it’s as a Floor Press alternative or not, you should be doing some form of Dips on a weekly basis in my opinion if you’re serious about your upper body training.

Step By Step Instructions

  • Attach your dip rack to your rack. (Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.)
  • Starting position is hands on bars, arms extended, knees slightly bent and feet crossed.
  • Descend down by bending the elbows and slightly leaning forward.
  • Lower yourself under control until the triceps become parallel with the ground and then drive yourself back up to the starting position.

Coaching Points

The biggest mistake I see with dips is poor range of motion. If you’re not able to do full reps (yet!), use a resistance band or a spotter for assistance or use a Dips alternative.

The other issue I see my athletes run into is unwanted swinging front to back while doing reps. Stay under control, keep a consistent rep path, bend the knees and cross the feet. These are all solutions that I have seen help eliminate swinging while doing Dips.

Ring Dips

Ring Dips (1)

The second Dip variation that makes an excellent Floor Press alternative is Ring Dips.

Ring Dips are a slightly more advanced version of Dips. Incorporating rings adds a ton of stabilization to the movement which can help athletes with keeping their shoulders healthy. If you’re working out at home, Rings can be much more cost-effective than a dip attachment.

Step By Step Instructions

  • Set your rings up on your rack. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.
  • Starting position is hands on rings, arms extended, knees slightly bent and feet crossed.
  • Descend down by bending the elbows and slightly leaning forward.
  • Lower yourself under control until the triceps become parallel with the ground and then drive yourself back up to the starting position.

Coaching Points

*Need some creative options for hanging your gym rings? Here are 5 ways to hang gym rings at home.

Weighted Dips

Weighted Dips (1)

Once you’ve become efficient at regular Dips and sets of 15 to 20 are no longer challenging, it’s time to add some weight to your dips. There are multiple ways to add resistance for Weighted Dips and I’ve given a few examples below under Coaching Points.

Out of all the alternative exercises on this list, if you want to increase your Bench Press performance, this is the exercise that I would recommend the highest.

Step By Step Instructions

  • Secure a weight belt around your waist and attach the desired weight*.
  • Position yourself on dip bars, gripping them firmly with your hands.
  • Start with your arms fully extended and your body held straight, ensuring your shoulders aren’t shrugged.
  • Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping them close to your sides. Descend until your upper arms are about parallel with the ground or as far as your mobility allows.
  • Once you’ve reached the bottom of the movement, press back up by extending your arms and returning to the starting position.
  • Throughout the movement, maintain a slight forward lean to better engage the chest muscles.

Coaching Points

*There are multiple ways to add weight to Dips. A couple of the most popular ways are:

  • Wear a weighted vest.
  • Wrap a lifting chain (used for bench and/or squat) over the shoulders.
  • Hold a dumbbell with the feet.
  • Using a dip belt with a chain designed to hang weight plates (pictured above).

Bench Press

Bench Press

I’m guessing this one has already crossed your mind, but I’m going to go ahead and mention it anyway – Bench Press. If you’re trying to build your chest and triceps, you should be Bench Pressing at least once, but probably twice, a week.

If you’re already benching once a week, vary up your Bench Press on the second day. Change up the intensities (percentages used), volume and/or tempo. These Barbell Bench Press variations are all ways you can add variety with an extra day of Bench Press.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Set the barbell on a bench press rack and load it with the desired weight.
  • Lie on the bench with your eyes directly under the bar. Plant your feet flat on the floor.
  • Grasp the bar with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width, palms facing away from you.
  • Lift the bar off the rack and position it above your chest with arms fully extended.
  • Lower the bar to your mid-chest, keeping your elbows at a 75-90 degree angle.
  • Push the bar back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.

Coaching Points

Make sure to always have a spotter when bench pressing with a barbell regardless of the weight being used.

Med Ball Push-ups

Medicine Ball Pushups

Medicine Ball Push-ups are another great chest and triceps-focused alternative to Floor Press. They’re essentially the exact same movement, just one is a bodyweight exercise and the other uses a barbell for resistance.

They’re also uniquely versatile because all the equipment that is needed is a medicine ball.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Start on your knees and secure your hand placement on the ball first.
  • Use a neutral grip hand position with palms facing one another on each outer edge of the ball.
  • Now, lift the knees off the ground and raise up into a push up position.
  • Lower yourself down, keeping the elbows tight to the body as you descend.
  • Lower down until the top of your abdomen (just below the sternum) touches the ball.
  • Drive back up to the starting position.

Coaching Points

Perhaps the most important part of the entire lift is getting the proper hand placement on the ball. Don’t be afraid to experiment slightly with what hand position feels best as it may change slightly depending on the type and size of the medicine ball you are using.

Keeping the elbows tight to the body is key here to make sure that the focus stays on the triceps.

Bonus Exercise: Close Grip Push-ups are very similar to Med Ball Push-ups and don’t require any equipment at all. You’ll lose some of the stabilization benefits of Med Ball Push-ups, but if you’re restricted on access to equipment they can be an extremely effective alternative.

Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

If you don’t have a barbell, but you do have dumbbells, you may want to give Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench Press a shot.

For Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench (also referred to as Close Grip Dumbbell Press), keep the palms facing in toward each other and the elbows close to the body. This angle will put a heavy emphasis on the triceps, very similar to how Close Grip Bench does with the bar.

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Choose appropriate dumbbells and lie back on a flat bench, holding them above your chest.
  • Hold the dumbbells with a neutral grip, palms facing each other.
  • Begin with the dumbbells at chest height, elbows bent at about 90 degrees.
  • Press the dumbbells upward, extending your arms fully above your chest.
  • Hold for a brief moment at the top, dumbbells almost touching each other.
  • Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position, controlling the movement.

Coaching Points

Dumbbell Bench Press is a very shoulder-friendly pressing movement. Because the implement is a dumbbell, the range of motion is increased, the shear force on the shoulder is decreased, and the shoulder stabilizing muscles are engaged.

Triceps Pushdowns

Triceps Pushdown

Triceps Pushdowns are the first of three of my favorite triceps isolation exercises. You’re not going to get the same chest and shoulders involvement as with Floor Press, but if you’re looking for alternative triceps movements, Triceps Pushdowns are a tried and true hall-of-fame exercise.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Set up a cable machine by sliding the pin all the way to the top of the beam.
  • Attach the rack attachment of your choice.
  • Grab the attachment and pull it down until your elbows are next to your sides (arms should still be bent).
  • Now, extend the arms down by flexing the triceps and driving the attachment toward the floor.
  • Squeeze the triceps at full extension for one second and then slowly allow the attachment to raise back to the starting position.
  • Keep elbows tucked into the sides throughout the movement.

Coaching Points

Do not swing and use momentum at the top of the movement in an attempt to use more weight. Stay in control of the weight at all times and use proper form.

If using a heavy weight, you can lean slightly forward at the waist to give yourself more stability and to help keep yourself anchored to the floor.

Band Triceps Pushdowns

If you’re working out in your garage like me, chances are you don’t have a thousand-plus dollar cable machine. However, a resistance band is something that most of us do have and if you do, Band Triceps Pushdowns are an excellent option for working your triceps.

Again, not quite all the benefits as Floor Press, but as a triceps finisher at the end of a workout, they can be a great alternative.

Step-by-Step Instructions

First, loop a band around the top of a rack or any other piece of equipment that can solidly hold the band.

  • Stand tall, head up.
  • Hold the band with hands eight inches apart, palms down.
  • Bring upper arms to the sides and keep them there.
  • Start with forearms and biceps touching.
  • Press the band down to arm’s length.
  • Return slowly and under control to starting position.

Coaching Points

To make the exercise more challenging, either use a thicker band or choke up on the band.

If you’re unable to get full range of motion, lower your hands on the band, use a thinner band or stand on something to make the movement easier.

Barbell Skull Crushers

Skull Crushers Flexed Position

My final alternative for Floor Press is Barbell Skull Crushers. They are yet another great movement for building triceps strength and size.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Grab a bar with an overhand grip, lie flat on a bench with head down, chin up. If you don’t have a bench, you can simply lie on the floor.
  • Press the bar to arm’s length above the shoulder.
  • Lower the bar until it almost touches the top of the forehead, bending arms at the elbows, keeping upper arm vertical and elbows in.
  • Drive the bar back up to the starting position and repeat.

Coaching Points

Keep the elbows high throughout. When Skull Crushers start to become difficult, the natural tendency of the lifter is to drop the elbows. Keep the elbows high and tight (try not to let them flare out to the side either).

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Final Thoughts

Floor Press is an excellent exercise for developing a strong chest, shoulders and triceps, but sometimes Barbell Floor Press just isn’t an option. You may not have the proper equipment available to you or at other times you might just be looking to add some variety to your training program.

In these situations, you’ll need a Floor Press alternative and I hope that at least one of the alternative exercises I’ve listed here fits what you were looking for.

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