Floor Press is an upper body strength exercise that targets the triceps as well as the chest. It’s great as a supplemental strength building movement and its one of the best substitutions for bench press if your home gym doesn’t have a bench.
In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Floor Presses including important coaching points and alternatives.
How To Do Floor Presses
- Squat Rack
- Shoulders (Anterior Delt)
- Set your barbell up in the rack at the proper height to be able to rack and unrack the bar safely*.
- 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 Bench Press.
- Grab the bar using a close grip**, hands right about on the edge of the knurling.
- Unrack the bar, lower it down until the triceps lightly tap the floor and then press it back to extension.
- Repeat for the designated amount of reps.
*Always test your barbell height with an empty bar. I’ve been doing Floor Presses for twenty years now and can still struggle with nailing the best height on my first try.
**Floor Press is generally done using a close grip to emphasize the demand on the triceps, however you can go with a wider grip if you choose to.
Benefits of Floor Press
Floor Press limits the range of motion compared to a regular Bench Press. This will alleviate some of the stress placed on the shoulders. This makes it a great lift for in-season athletes who can benefit from a reduced amount of stress on the shoulder joint.
The reduced range of motion also places more of an emphasis on the triceps, similar to how Board Bench is done to focus on lockout strength.
Another benefit of Floor Press is that it can serve as a great Bench Press alternative for anyone who doesn’t have access to a bench. I went a full year with no bench in my garage gym and Floor Presses became a staple in my own programming.
Floor Press Variations
Dumbbell Floor Press
Dumbbell Floor Press is arguably the more popular version of the two different Floor Press variations probably due to its much easier setup.
The movement itself is basically exactly the same, just using dumbbells in place of a barbell.
Floor Press Alternatives
Need a substitute for Floor Press? Here are a couple of alternatives you may able to use in its place:
(Need more options? Here are some of my favorite Floor Press alternatives.)
Close Grip Bench Press
Considering Floor Press is essentially Close Grip Bench Press laying on the floor, it’s easy to see why it would be an obvious alternative.
If you have a bench, and boards, and really want to mimic a Floor Press you can do a Close Grip Board Press. You’ll need at least one, preferably two, spotters to pull this one off though. One to spot you and one to hold the boards in place while you bench.
Dips will always be one of my favorite alternatives for any movement that emphasizes the triceps. Dips are a strength-building powerhouse of an exercise especially if you include weighted dips.
If you want to build a big bench, make sure you’re incorporating Dips into your workout plan.
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Looking for more upper body strength building exercises? Horton Barbell has dozens of Upper Body Lifts in its Exercise Library.