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Some lifters go into full panic mode when every flat bench is occupied on Bench Press Monday. However, the savvy lifter never worries because there is plenty of space on the floor. Because there’s no reason to fret or lose your temper when you’ve got the best press you’re not doing, the barbell floor press. Plus, a little dirt and on your back never hurt anyone.
The barbell floor press is a great pressing variation for gym rats of all levels of experience. The move helps improve muscle hypertrophy, strength, bench-press technique and is a great variation for people who are suffering from sore shoulders.
Here we will go into what it is, how to do it, the benefits of the floor press, some common mistakes, and some other floor-press variations to build your chest, triceps, and shoulders.
The barbell floor press is similar to the bench press — except you’re lying on the floor. The floor shortens the range of motion so there is less shoulder external rotation. This makes it the perfect pressing exercise for those will sore shoulders. With the bench press, you get lower body drive, but not with the floor press as you’re entirely relying on the pressing power of your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
Due to this shortened ROM, the barbell floor press places more emphasis on the triceps and less on the chest. If your triceps are holding you back, this will help. The move is performed with your leg straight or with feet on the floor. Both are correct, it comes down to a matter of personal preference,
Note: It’s best to either have a spotter for this or performed in a squat rack (or both).
The barbell floor press is a pressing movement that targets upper-body strength with minimal lower-body involvement. The following are the main muscles used in the floor press.
Some gym goers might give you strange looks when you’re pressing without a bench. But who cares? They’re the ones missing out on these four important benefits.
Probably the most difficult part of the barbell floor press is the setup. Getting the barbell sufficiently off the ground to get under it and lift it up requires either a squat rack or a spotter. If you have neither the dumbbell, kettlebell, and landmine floor press variations below will work. But if you’re still keen on the barbell floor press, there is another way demonstrated in the video below.
Pressing from plates or blocks allows you to get under the bar to press safely and to easily get in and out of position. Yes, the range of motion is slightly reduced in the name of safety, but it beats the injury alternative.
The barbell floor press is less technical than the bench version and things like eyes underneath the bar, wrists in line with elbows, and engaged upper back is needed for the barbell floor press too. Here are some things to look out for on the barbell floor press to get the best out of this great exercise.
There are three great reasons to do the barbell floor press. One is to gain muscle. Two is to build strength and three is to improve your lock-out strength for your regular bench press. Here are some programming suggestions, depending on which goal you choose
Two keys to gaining muscle are load and increasing time under tension. So, work in the higher set and rep range performing three to four sets of between eight and 15 reps. If you lift with tempo with a pause on the bottom, your chest and triceps will thank you. Because you’re on the floor performing this with another exercise that trains the chest and triceps works well. For example,
1A. Barbell Floor Press: 8-15 reps
1B. Bodyweight Pushup Variation: 10-20 reps
Rest 2-3 min between supersets.
You’re looking at increased load versus lifting for hypertrophy and no lifting with tempo. Load and good technique are the focus here. Work in lower rep range between three to six reps and the higher set range of around four to six sets. Performing straight sets with a two to three minutes rest between sets works well.
Training the barbell floor press for strength will also help improve lockout strength for your regular bench press.
The barbell floor press is the variation where you’ll use the most weight but it’s not for everybody. Here are four variations you can do if you find the setup difficult or need to strengthen imbalances.