5 Benefits of the Floor Press

In an earlier article I introduced the floor press as one of the most “basic” yet effective upper body mass builders for lifters of all levels, which can be done to increase muscle mass, lockout strength, bench press performance, and even be used as a replacement for lifters with shoulder injuries. In this article we will focus closer on the specific benefits that floor pressing can provide strength, power, and fitness athletes, discuss proper execution of the movement, and offer a few variations to help maximize your results.

Floor Press Demo

The floor press is done with the lifter lying supinated on the floor (on their backs) similar to that of a bench press. The below video demonstrates how to properly execute this foundational barbell strength lift.

Floor Press Variations

The floor press can be varied by changing any of the pieces of equipment used to press, just like the bench press. Below are a few popular variations to choose from.

Barbell Floor Press

The barbell floor press is the most common way of floor pressing, as it is easy to set up and can really allow you to load serious weight onto the barbell. Additionally, it has a clear carry-over to the bench press, especially in powerlifting, as the barbell is the exact equipment used in competition.

Swiss Bar Floor Press

The Swiss bar floor press is a great variation for target the triceps and mix up the pressing angles, which can really create serious muscle hypertrophy and maximize performance. Additionally, the angles make this press more into a neutral grip (palms facing one another) which helps to cut down on shoulder strain and can have more application to contact sports like football, fighting, etc.

Dumbbell Floor Press

The dumbbells allow you to really manipulate the angle at which the shoulder and wrist are set at, which is helpful for any lifters with shoulder issues and/or discomfort when pressing the fixed barbell. Additionally, due to the dumbbells moving independently of one another, the lifter must work to stabilize and address any muscular and movement asymmetries to maximize the movement.

5 Benefits of the Floor Press

Below are five benefits of the floor press that strength, power, and fitness athletes and lifters can expect, regardless of the variations chosen from above.

Muscular Hypertrophy

Increased triceps and pectorals (chest) hypertrophy is seen with this movement, especially when done with moderate to heavy loading and higher volumes (4-8 sets of 8-15 reps). This, like the bench press, can be a pivotal exercise for developing serious muscle on the triceps and pecs, without adding excessive strain to the shoulders.


Upper Body Strength

It is probably no secret why the floor press can be an effective means to increasing you pressing and upper body strength. The movement allows you to handle heavy loads, can target weak links (triceps), and can be done in both hypertrophy or strength based fashions. The application of this movement is key for powerlifters and strength athletes looking to stabilize great loads and often get their hands on supramaximal loads.

Lockout and Pressing Strength

Increasing lockout performance is vital in sports such as powerlifting, strongman, and even Olympic weightlifting, as soft and weak elbow extensors (triceps) can result in missed lifts in the bench press, unstable locked out positions in the snatch and jerk, and slow elbow extension in presses and other overhead movements.

Variation for Injured/Beginner Lifters

Floor pressing is a great pressing variation for lifters with shoulder issues (also see the Swiss bar) and even as a teaching tool for beginners. First, lifters who may get achy pains in the shoulder during fuller range pressing movements can slowly build up the strength and control needed by doing partial reps (due to the elbows touching the floor). Secondly, I really find great benefits in the floor press with new athletes and clients who may lack basic triceps strength, shoulder stability, and the ability to create tension in the back of the body during the press. The floor press allows a lifter to feel the floor across their back and shoulder blades and really grab the floor with the back and hips, often setting the shoulders into a better pressing position and enhancing stability.

Maximize Your Pressing Strength!

Here are a few articles that showcase what serious pressing strength can do for you and your performance, and how to get started today!

Featured Image: @elpogs on Instagram

Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

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