The dumbbell floor press is much more than being similar to the bench press exercise. It is a unique type of exercise that is generates tension, attacks core strength and builds first order. The dumbbell floor press helps to build pressing power from the ground in such a way that you may never seek an alternative exercise.

Although it is a unique type of exercise, the dumbbell floor press is often forgotten which is not so good as the exercise gives a much better result than the others used as alternatives. It is a type of exercise that gives room for experiments with different variations without feeling self conscious about using a small or large weight. The best part of it is that the dumbbell press exercise is a great alternative pressing variation for bangled up lifters who may not be able to tolerate heavy barbell pressing day in and day out. The dumbbell floor press is also a lot more harder to screw up than the barbell bench. Gym enthusiasts, athletes and body builders that lodge complaints about not being able to feel the bench press in to your triceps or chest, the dumbbell press exercise will make you feel it. Also, if you an athlete who doesn’t bench but wish to build your core and shoulder stability while building your overall strength, the dumbbell floor press will help you.

Infact, we can say in other words that the dumbbell floor press exercise is the perfect tool you need to have your arsenal. What else do you need to know?

What makes the dumbbell floor press exercise unique?

Where do we start?

For people with shoulder issues, the dumbbell floor press exercise is most preferable and better tolerated compared to the traditional bench press. This is because when doing the dumbbell floor press exercise, you are able to use a neutral grip, and also, pressing on the floor helps to limit the range of motion slightly which in turn reduces extension at the shoulder joint while still providing a good training effect for the pecs and triceps.

A lot of people who experience lower back pain with traditional bench presses, put differently, a lot of people discovered that moving to the floor tends to help tremendously by reducing lumbar extension that comes from excessive arching. It may interest you to know that the dumbbell floor press exercise is similar to how those dudes who do their bench presses with their feet on the bench. The only difference is that dumbbell floor press is much more stable and it does not make you look like a complete tool.

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For individuals looking to work their triceps who most times get elbow pain from skullcrushers and other extension variations, the dumbbell floor press is a unique workaround as chances of getting elbow pain are very slim.

All of the aforementioned reasons why the dumbbell floor press exercise is unique might make it sound easy but do not be misguided as a heavy or perhaps not so heavy floor press exercise might force you to generate just as much full-body tension as the bench press. And when it starts to feel a lot more easy, it is far simpler and much safer to make difficult again without having a spotter close at hand.

Basic points to note

One dumbbell or two, which is preferable? 

Using one dumbbell is good as well as using two. Using two dumbbells allows you to move double the weight whereas using just one dumbbell offers a couple of advantages which might interest you to know. First of all, when you use just one dumbbell, it allows you to use your other hand to help get the weight in place. Not only that, pressing one arm at a time also increases the core demands of the exercise substantially, as you have to brace yourself so as to keep your torso steady. More importantly, expect to feel your core the next day after the first time you try these.

If you will be using two dumbbells to perform this exercise, you should note that the best way to get the dumbbells into position is to have a partner hand them to you. But if you are alone, start with the dumbbells vertically positioned on your thighs and then bend your legs and lie backwards, use the momentum to fling the dumbbells into place.

So what next after you are down on the ground with your dumbbell or dumbbells. Here are the basics:


It is important to note that both dumbbell floor presses work best in moderate to high rep ranges. This is more for logistical reasons than anything. If you try to hoist super heavy dumbbells into position, it might cause you great pain in most part of your body. The most difficult part can be getting it up.


Note that you are very free to experiment with different hand positions just so you can figure out what feels best to you, but generally, utilizing a neutral grip will be a lot more easier on the shoulder joint. I’ll therefore recommend you try it first.


You can choose to either press with your legs straight or bend your knees. Although neither way is considered the best, but each will change the dynamic of the exercise slightly to suit your capability. It might interest you to know that choosing to press with straight legs might increase the core demand. This is because it eliminates your ability to use leg drive.

While on the other hand, bending the knees may be a better option for individuals with lower back pain. You can as well try both and see which is best for you.

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Progressing the floor press

Once you have done the regular dumbbell floor presses for a while, you might reach a point where by your progress starts to stall out. Put differently, you might reach a strength level where you either max out the dumbbells at your gym or it just becomes too hard to get them into position. Relax as this does not mean that you do not have a choice other than returning back to the barbell exercise which might also not be a good option if you have got a jacked-up shoulders. Instead, you can try out other variations of the dumbbell floor press exercise which decreases the stability or perhaps add isometric holds to allow you to get a great training effect with lighter loads.

One arm dumbbell floor press with leg lift

Other variations may include the one-arm dumbbell floor press. You can perform the one-arm dumbbell floor press with your legs straight and slightly raised off the ground so as to increase the demand on the core. This might seem more like a core exercise than a press exercise but worry less as it is still a great upper-body strength building exercise.

It is important that you use a full range of motion on the press. Also, try to keep your torso and legs as steady as possible for the duration of the set. This is because they are much harder than they look so it is better to start light.

Dumbbell floor press countdown

Perform five reps, followed by an additional five seconds isometric hold in the bottom portion of the rep with your arms just off the ground, then from there, move straight into four reps which can be closely followed by a four seconds hold, then you go three, two, and finally one.

In total, it comes out to 15 reps plus 15 seconds of isometric holds. If you wish to make it even harder all you need to do is to lower the last rep as slowly as possible. Beware as it could burn.

Dumbbell squeeze press iso-hold

This a unique option for people who struggle to feel their chest working with most bench pressing variations. Note that it works great as a finisher after your regular pressing workout.

All you need to do is to set up just as you would for a normal neutral-grip dumbbell press. The only difference is that you should squeeze the dumbbells together so that they do not touch one another. After that, press the dumbbells 1 or 2  inches off your chest and hold it in that position for roughly about 30 to 60 seconds. Make sure you keep the dumbbells pressed together the whole time.

Dumbbell squeeze press/ floor press combination

This is a unique mechanical dropset. For this, you will transition from a harder version of movement to an easier one. All you need to do is to start by performing dumbbell squeeze presses, after that, transition directly to dumbbell floor presses when you are tired. I recommend you do 5 to 6 reps of each exercise, but you can do more or less if you wish.

Health benefits of dumbbell floor press

Below are some of the health benefits associated with dumbbell floor press exercise.

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1. It helps in building your muscles

When performing the dumbbell floor press exercise, you will notice great results in terms of increased triceps and pectorals hypertrophy. This results can be best achieved with a higher rep range around the 10-15 mark, and of course a heavier weight.

2. It helps in building strength

The dumbbell floor press is a unique way of building your upper body strength because of the shorter range. This can be done by allowing you to work with heavier loads, which might cut across as easy as a result of not moving the weight too far. This is how it can help you build your strength. By isolating the muscles used in the partial range you might notice that in the long run, the level of your strength will increase over this range, thus it tends to help you when you are at that point in your bench press.

3. It helps you to improve your lockout

One of the major causes of a missed lift can be due to a weak lockout which is due to elbow tension. Dumbbell floor presses are therefore good training for lockouts with heavy weights, which in turn can help you with the likes of snatch and jerks in a competitive capacity.

4. It is the perfect exercise for sore shoulders

Study has shown that the dumbbell floor press is easier on your shoulder joints than the bench press. This however is more or less like a wonderful news for anyone who is recovering from a shoulder injury and looking for the perfect exercise that works the triceps and chest without undue stress. It is however interesting to note that the exercise also takes your back out of the equation, this simply means that your force will come from your arms and chest, as opposed to your back.

Why you should include the dumbbell floor press exercise into your workout plan.

Below are some of the reasons why you should inculcate the dumbbell floor press exercise to your workout plan:

1. The dumbbell floor press serves best as an exercise that you  perform as part of a broader plan consisting of similar exercises. It can as well be combined with tricep extensions so as to build the backs of your arm.

2. Although you might not be able to floor press as much as you can bench press, you can lift far more with a floor press than you can with an overhead extension.

3. The floor press is a unique, yet an explosive exercise whichever way you may choose to look at it. This is because it has the ability to combine heavyweight with higher frequency due to the shorter distance involved. Now because the ground gets in the way, we can easily say that each rep basically starts from scratch. There is however no opportunity to hover and take it lightly. Because of this you are working at full power with each lift, thereby making the floor press the perfect addition to an explosive strength circuit.


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