Chest Training – Floor Press

The floor press is a supplemental exercise to help build your bench press. It is a partial range of motion (ROM) lift that will help strengthen the midrange and lockout of your bench. A number of factors make floor presses an effective lift. It:

  • removes leg drive from the press, forcing your pectorals and triceps to work harder
  • starts from a dead stop at the middle of the ROM, strengthening your bench press at the sticking point
  • reduces tension on your shoulders

Muscles Used for this Exercise

Exercise Classification

Exercise Technique

  • Equipment:
    • Squat Rack – Set the rack height so that when lying in the rack, your arms come just short of locking out. With spotter help lifting off, you want to be able to bring the bar straight out over your chest with your arms already locked and ready to begin your lift.
  • Stance/Foot Position: Lie down inside the squat cage and extend your legs out flat on the floor.
  • Hand Position: Use your normal bench press grip. When you bring the bar down until your upper arms rest on the floor, your forearms should be perpendicular to the floor.
    • If your lockout strength needs more work,  you may bring your grip in closer to increase the emphasis on your triceps.
  • Lie flat on the floor in the squat rack slightly in front of the hooks.
    • Your position in relation to the hooks should be the same as if lying on a bench to press.
  • Grip the bar tightly, plant your shoulders firmly on the floor and squeeze shoulder blades together.
    • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as if you were trying to pinch and hold a quarter between them.
    • Hold this position throughout the full range of motion for each rep.
  • Have your spotter hand off the bar so you can bring the bar out straight over your chest. Lock your elbows out, and make sure you have good control over the bar before starting your first rep.
  • Take a deep breath filling your lungs and abdomen with air and hold it.
  • Lower the bar under control until you come to a complete stop with your triceps flat on the floor. Don’t let your elbows flare out as you bring the bar down. Bring it down low on your chest so you can keep your arms at about a 45 degree angle from your body.
  • Let the bar come to a complete stop, then drive the bar up explosively. Exhale as you press the bar up, snaking your air out through lockout.
  • Keep your shoulder blades pinched tightly together and your shoulders planted on the floor as you lock your elbows. Let the bar come to a complete stop before starting your next repetition.

Strength Standard

  • Because you are bringing the bar to a dead stop before pressing, and starting at a relatively weak point in the bench press ROM, weight on the floor presses should be slightly lower than your corresponding weight on the bench press.

Common Mistakes

  • Loosening your shoulder blades and lifting your shoulders off the floor: Squeeze your shoulder blades together throughout the full ROM of each rep and keep your shoulders planted on the floor.
  • Pushing the bar up instead of locking your elbows: The lift is done when your elbows are locked; concentrate on locking your elbows, not on pushing the bar. Pushing the bar may lead to raising your shoulders.
  • Failing to come to a complete stop at the floor: Don’t try to rebound off the floor. This will defeat the purpose of the lift, and could increase your risk of injury, given your elbows will be wedged against the floor.

Exercise Safety

  • Use a weight you can control completely to the floor. Bring the weight to a relatively light stop on the floor.
  • Bring the weight down low on your chest with your upper arms angled out about 45 degrees from your body to reduce strain on your shoulders.


Additional Chest Exercises


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