At first, the dumbbell floor press may feel like a poor person’s (or a lazier person’s) bench press. The shorter range of motion, lack of a bench, and lying flat on the floor doesn’t actually invoke the image of a challenging workout.

But wait, there’s more to it than meets the eye. This shorter cousin to the bench press – which actually mandates the bench press as a notable workout – is a press that can benefit bodybuilders and powerlifters as both a stepping stone to enhancing other chest exercises as well as providing a killer tricep workout that fits those of you with shoulder injuries.

That’s correct, MyProtein is here to convert you to the overlooked benefits of the simple but efficient dumbbell floor press.

What is a dumbbell floor press?

Whether you actualize it or not, you have probably faced this exercise before. The dumbbell floor press looks correctly as it sounds, with the athlete lying on the floor instead of the bench with a dumbbell in each hand. While it may feel like an easier form of the press because of its opposed range of motion, it is actually shifting the brunt of the effort rather than making a lift simpler.

Is it a chest exercise? Yes. But to measure it alongside the bench press you will likely overlook the fact it serves you perfect as a tricep      set apart exercise.

It is versatile, too. Your overall workout actually needs to be about the bigger picture and how one exercise compensates another. Combining the dumbbell floor press with a bench or fly exercise straight will result in a hardcore session that you haven’t tried before, making your chest to contract and your triceps to bear the brunt before you hit the bench.

Correct dumbbell floor press form

Lie down on the floor and grasp two dumbbells on either side of your body. Maintain your knees bent, and lift the weights by expanding your arms until your elbows are sealed out.

Lower the weights until your upper arms just hit the floor. As your elbows hit the floor, pause for a count of two and then push the weights up by expanding your elbows. When you lower the dumbbells, ensure that your upper arms do not relax on the ground.

To put the floor press to a sharper tricep workout, tuck your elbows into your sides. For your chest maintain your arms in an angular placement to the sides in order to strengthen your chest.

What muscles does the dumbbell floor press work?

The floor press does develop the same muscles as your standard bench press because it is a pushing movement. It is the emphasis that is separate. The major muscles worked here are your triceps, with the chest a close second. You shoulders also come into play, but the concentration here is actually your triceps.

Benefits of dumbbell floor press

Building muscle

You will see wonderful results in terms of enhanced triceps and pectorals hypertrophy. This is perfectly achieved with a higher rep range around the 10 – 15 mark of a heavier weight.

Building strength

Because of the shorter range, the floor press is a very good way of building your upper body strength by permitting you to work with heavier loads, which will come ‘easier’ as a result of not transporting the weight as far. This is how it benefits full range exercises. By isolating the muscles utilized in this partial range you will find that, in the long term, your strength will accelerate over this range, thus assisting you when you are at that point in your bench press.

Improves your lockout

In competitive lifting and powerlifting, one of the reasons of a missed lift can be a weak lockout due to elbow tension. Floor presses are great training for lockouts with heavy weights, which can assist you with the likes of snatch and jerks in a complex capacity.

Good for sore shoulders

The floor press is simpler on your shoulder joints than the bench press. Great news for anyone recovering from a shoulder injury and searching for an exercise that works the triceps and chest without undue stress. It also takes your back out of the equation, meaning that your force will come from your arms and chest, as against to your back.

Dumbbell Floor Press Triceps

The dumbbell floor press perhaps serves perfect as an exercise that you exemplify as part of a broader plan containing of similar exercises. Combine it with tricep extensions to actually build the backs of your arm.

While you won’t be able to floor press as much as you can bench, you will be able to raise far more with a floor press than you can via an overhead extension.

When building your chest it is normal to target a plateau from time to time. We’ve all been there. You’ve been meticulous about your nutrition, developing day by day, you’re feeling strong and then out of the blue you can’t push any further. You reach a weight that might as well be a tonne.

One of the great ways to overcome a plateau is bringing partial rep exercises into your routine. The floor press isn’t an A to B to C raise, but by incorporating it into your chest routine you can build on the B to C part of your complete lift. .

The floor press is definitely an explosive exercise whichever way you look at it. It contains  heavyweight with higher frequency due to the shorter distance involved. Because the floor gets in the way, each rep majorly starts from scratch. There is no opportunity to hover and take it simple. Because of this you are working at complete power with each lift, enabling the floor press the perfect addition to an explosive strength circuit.

Take home message

The dumbbell floor press gives an explosive power and triceps-isolating exercise in its short range of movement. While from afar it may seem an easier version of the bench press it is definitely a useful addition to assist to enhance the lockout and one rep max of your bench press.

The Best Triceps Exercise You Aren’t Performing

Join serious size to your triceps with an exercise known as the dumbbell floor press. It’s just like a bench press, only you lie on the floor instead of the bench. This gives two muscle-building advantages :

 1) It limits your range of movement, shifting the emphasis more to your triceps than your chest, and

2) it permits you to utilize heavier weights than you ever could with exercises that easily isolate your triceps (such as triceps extensions and pressdowns). The upshot: You’ll perform your arms harder than ever.

The dumbbell floor press is more than just the bench press’s old cousin: It’s really a tension-generating, core-attacking strength builder of the first order. Build your pressing power from the ground up, and you may never have to look back!

The dumbbell floor press is an often forgotten exercise that should get a lot more love than it does. Or maybe everybody’s performing it, but I just can’t see them because they’re down on the ground over next to the rack. But I somehow doubt it.

See also  close grip lat pulldown | 5 Mistakes Stop Now!

So why worry about this version of the press? I could go on for a short period. For one, it’s a perfect option when you’re in a crowded gym and the benches are taken.  You  can explore with distinctive variations without feeling self-conscious about utilizing small weights. More essentially, it’s a great alternative pressing variation for banged-up lifters who can’t t endure heavy barbell pressing week in and week out.

Need a final reason? It’s harder to disappoint than the barbell bench. If you’re a bodybuilder who always complains that you can’t “feel” the bench press in, say, your chest or triceps, this will make you feel it. If you’re an athlete who doesn’t bench but wants to develop your core and shoulder steadiness while building overall strength, this will perform it.

In short, the floor press is a yardstick you need to have in your arsenal. Now here’s what you must know.

What Makes The Floor Press Unique?

Where to begin? For people with shoulder problems,, the dumbbell floor press is frequently good utilized than the traditional bench press because you can utilize a neutral grip, and pressing on the floor limits the range of movement lightly. This lowers extension at the shoulder joint while still giving a good training effect for the pecs and triceps.

Many of people who experience lower back pain with traditional bench presses—in other words, plenty of people, period—find that transporting to the floor often assists greatly  by reducing lumbar extension that comes from excessive arching. I guess you know those dudes who do their bench presses with their feet on the bench? It’s sort of like that, only much more steady movement, and you don’t look like a full tool.

Finally, for people looking to work their triceps who get elbow pain from skullcrushers and other extension variations, the dumbbell floor press is a good workaround.

If all of this makes it sound simple, don’t be fooled. A heavy—or not so heavy—floor press can force you to derive just as much complete-body tension as the bench press. And when it begins to feel easy, it’s far simpler—and safer—to make complex again without having a spotter close at hand.

The Finer Points

So one dumbbell or two? Utilizing two dumbbells permits you to (duh) move double the weight, but using just one dumbbell permits a couple of advantages. First, you can utilize your other hand to assist get the weight in position.

One Arm Dumbbell Floor Press

Pressing one arm at a time also accelerates the core demands of the exercise substantially, as you have to brace to maintain your torso good and steady. Ensure you feel your core the next day after the first time you try these.

If you go with two dumbbells, the best way to get the dumbbells into placement is to have a partner hand them to you. But if you’re by yourself, begin with the dumbbells placed vertically on your thighs and then bend your legs and lie backwards, utilizing the momentum to fling the dumbbells into position.

So now you’re down on the ground with your bell or bells. What happens ? Here are the basics:


Dumbbell floor presses work perfect in moderate to high rep ranges, more for logistical reasons that anything. Trying to hoist super heavy dumbbells into placement is a royal pain in the you-know-what. Like other things in life, the hardest part can be moving it up.


Experiment with different hand placements to figure out what feels best to you, but in general, utilizing a neutral grip with be easier on the shoulder joint. This is what I suggest most of the time, so try it first.


You can actually press with your legs straight or curve your knees. Neither way is importantly better, but each will change the dynamic of the exercise slightly. Pressing with straight legs enhances the core demand because it eliminates your capacity to utilize leg drive.

On the other hand, bending the knees may be a better choice for folks with lower great pain. Practice both and see what feels best.

Progressing The Floor Press

After you’ve done regular dumbbell floor presses for a while, you may target a point where your progress begins  to stall out, or you reach a strength level where you either max out the dumbbells at your gym or it just becomes too difficult to get them into placement.

This doesn’t mean you have no choice other than heading back to barbells—which might not actually be an option if you’ve got jacked-up shoulders. Instead, try these more hard variations, which lower the steadiness or add isometric holds to permit you to get a great training effect with lighter loads.

Exemplify a single-arm dumbbell floor press with your legs straight and lifted slightly off the floor to enhance the demand on the core. This may look like more of a core exercise than a press, but trust me, it’s still an amazing upper-body strength builder.

Ensure to utilize a complete range of motion on the press and try to maintain your torso and legs as steady as possible for the duration of the set. These are much harder than they seem, so start light!

Exemplify five reps, followed by a five-second isometric grasp in the bottom portion of the rep with the arms just off the floor. From there, go straight into four reps led by a four-second hold, then three, then two, and finally one.

In all it happens to come out to 15 reps and 15 grueling seconds of isometric holds. To make it even harder, lower the last rep as gently as possible. Beware: These burn!

This a great drill for people who struggle to feel their chest performing with most bench pressing variations. It also performs great as a finisher after your regular pressing workout.

Set up just as you would for an ordinary neutral-grip dumbbell press. The only difference: Squeeze the dumbbells in conjunction so that they’re touching. From there, press the dumbbells 1-2 inches off your chest and grasp that placement for 30-60 seconds, ensuring to keep the dumbbells pressed in unison the whole time.

This is an essential mechanical dropset, where you transit from a harder version of a movement to an easier one. Begin by performing dumbbell squeeze presses, and then transition directly to dumbbell floor presses when you fatigue. I like to perform 5-6 reps of each exercise, but you can play around with the reps.

If that combo looks like another awesome finisher on a long push day, you’re correct. But it can actually be more than that. As I mentioned in “8 Moves For A Crazy-Strong Core,” you can also cycle through all of these advanced variations one-by-one, ensuring each one is the centerpiece of your routine for a while until you feel like you’ve conquered it, then transporting to the next.

Glute Bridge Dumbbell Floor Press

Want to crush your chest and glutes while getting stress off your neck and shoulders? Try these unique variations of the glute bridge chest press exemplify in a head-off fashion.

The glute bridge chest press is an amazing exercise for joining the hips and pectorals while simultaneously exemplifying one powerful pressing motion.  In fact I correctly tried the traditional glute bridge chest press several years ago after reading a few articles by world notable strength.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen similar Mtrends with my other clients with the inclusion of NFL athletes who have various cervical problems and shoulder trauma from past injuries.

The head-off glute bridge chest press variations on the other hand cancel this issue and actually feel very tending to cure the shoulders and still deriving the corresponding glute and hip advantages as the traditional variations.  That’s because the neck and cervical spine can extend  rather than being compressed into the floor. 

See also  Lower Trap Exercises | Mid And Lower Trapezius Workout

When the head is compressed into

another surface this enhances forward head tilt, cervical flexion, shoulder lift, shoulder protraction, and internal rotation especially during horizontal pressing.  However, when the cervical spine is allowed to extend it frees up the shoulders and scapula due to enhanced t-spine extension that ultimately leads to improved shoulder packing and centration of the glenohumeral joint. 

In fact expert strength coach Nick Tumminello has also written about similar modifications as regards to glute bridge variations as well as chest presses.  I’m advocating a similar manner for the glute bridge floor press.

Cervical spinal connection is an important aspect of postural control and shoulder health.  When cervical spinal placement is compromised it has a direct negative impact on shoulder function and upper body mechanics.  In fact as many of you are aware, this is why I’m such an advocate of head-off chest presses for traditional bench press variations (read more about Head-Off Chest Presses Here).  However, with the glute bridge floor press the neck and cervical spine are joined  to a greater degree than traditional bench variations enabling it even more essential that the head and neck not be joinedinto a fixed surface.

Two Methods

There are two major methods that can be utilized for this exercise. 

First you can exemplify these on the floor by laying on an Olympic raising platform or a thin step box/pad while having your head off the edge.  The edge of the platform should be roughly in line with the top part of the neck just below the skull.  This permits optimal extension  of the cervical spine while still providing numerous support for the remainder of the torso. Importantly you’re looking for a 2-4 inch elevated surface as any less will still result in the head running into the floor.

The second mode involves the exact same protocol but instead of laying on the floor or platform you’ll exemplify them on a bench.  In fact, if I had to choose one of the two modes this would be my go-to strategy not only because it’s easier to prop the weights up and lay on the bench (the floor press variations can be a bit tricky with heavier loads particularly dumbbells), but also because the edge of the bench is actually padded.  It also gives

optimal alignment throughout the feet, hips, and torso, as the narrow bench gives little margin for error in terms of lateral deviations of the feet, hips and torso thereby giving strict mechanics. 

Additional Benefits

The head-off glute bridge chest press also ensures several additional benefits in terms of functional strength, hypertrophy, and performance.

First, driving with the hips and utilizing the shoulders as an anchor point to propel into actually assists depress and centrate the shoulders and scapula.

Second, this variation assists hip drive and full body activation when performing chest presses – something many lifters battle with.

Lastly, this represents one of, if not the most functional and natural mode for performing decline chest presses.  In fact, this is my go-to strategy when attempting to concentrate on the chest with a decline angle. Here’s why:

Most decline benches involve anchoring the body by fixing the back of the knees onto a sit-up style bench which is not a natural or functional placement.  In addition, because the body is importantly hanging by the legs it’s also much more difficult to depress the shoulders as gravity wants to lift the shoulders throughout the press.  By pressing with the legs such as during the glute bridge press, it does the opposite to the shoulders, as previously stated, and enhances better lat activation and scapular depression.  

On another note, decline chest presses have been exemplified to be amazingly effective for concentrating the chest and pectoral fibers as the shoulders are less incorporated than other variations.  So if you’re going to periodically join decline presses ditch the standard decline press and exchange it with this glute bridge press variation as it’s far higher in all regards.

Possible Variations

The head-off glute bridge chest press is highly versatile and can be exemplified with dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells.  In addition if further glute and posterior chain activation are wanted, these can also be exemplified in a single leg fashion.

For more info on concentrating the glutes while performing chest presses check out the T-Bench Press Protocol Here.

Many people actually have angry shoulders, or poor posture due to sitting at a desk all day long. Generally when I work with athletes with shoulder pathologies or they just have sub-optimal posture, I’ll change the bench press with a floor press or a variation. This week’s exercise you should be performing is called a floor press with hip bridge, which you can see here. You can perform this many separate ways, one leg at a time, one arm at a time, one leg two arms at a time, etc. As long as you maintain to these easy principles with this exercise it’ll surely assist your fitness in several ways.

For beginners, the hip bridge assists activate glutes, and most people have an issue with this as it stands. When performing bench pressing, you want to have a solid connection between the feet and the floor, and this exercise is very good for teaching beginners that feeling. For those who do not have permission to a decline bench in their facility, this does very well for a change. When it comes to posture correction, I utilize this exercise in addition with different rowing variations such as a dumbbell 3-point row.

Couple key points here would be to drive through your heels into the floor, and maintain the ribs down. Many athletes make the mistake of trying to propel their hips so high up that they go into an anterior pelvic tilt and begin changing lumbar extension for hip extension. This is very notable in deadlifting and Olympic weightlifting as well, so this exercise can help appropriate that while also assisting build up stronger triceps which tend to be the limiter in many exercises such as handstand push ups, the lock out in a bench press, muscle ups and much more.

When I write these in designs for my athletes I do so in a few separate ways but the two primary ways I write them is I put them into a warm up just to get some glute activation in a separate way, or I’ll put them into their exeact training session.

I have found great success putting these into definite athletes programs who need to improve their posterior chain while also improving aspects of upper body strength and perseverance and I’m sure you will too!

Close Grip Dumbbell Floor Press

Mix in this new endeavor on the dumbbell press to take your upper body workout to the next level!

Benefits: This exercise concentrates on the chest and triceps. You will be blown away at how much burn you get in your chest from these Keys: Squeeze the dumbbells tight in unison during the whole set through the complete range of motion. Keep your low back flat to the floor while maintain your abs connected. How to use: Utilize this on upper body/chest concentration days or as a part of a total body workout. This exercise is very good for when you want to work your chest hard but you don’t have permission to heavy dumbbells. It’s also an essential way to get your upper body pressing in if other upper body press variations bother your shoulders. Shoot for 2-4 sets of 8-20 repetitions. 

Close Grip Dumbbell Press

Close Grip Dumbbell Press (AKA Crush Press) Overview

The dumbbell crush press is a variation of the dumbbell bench press and an exercise utilized to build the muscles of the chest and triceps.

The crush press is especially efficient in activating the chest as you’ll squeeze the pecs while pressing the dumbbells in conjunction.

See also  How To: Dumbbell Seated Overhead Tricep Extension

Additionally, the crush press includes the triceps more so than other bench press variations.

This exercise is helpful for bodybuilders trying to establish mind-muscle connection with their chest, as well as other lifters looking to build stronger triceps to help them in other press variations.

Close Grip Dumbbell Press (AKA Crush Press) Instructions

1. Pick up the dumbbells off the floor utilizing a neutral grip (palms facing in). Place the ends of the dumbbells in your hip crease, and sit down on the bench.

2. To get into placement m, lay back and maintain the weights close to your chest. Once you are in placement, take a deep breath, crush the dumbbells in conjunction, then press them to lockout at the top.

3. Continue to push the dumbbells in conjunction while lowering them under control as far as comfortably possible.

4. Once the dumbbells touch your chest, propel them back to the beginning placement.

5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.  (6) Dropping the dumbbells to the side is not allowed unless you are experienced with the technique or utilizing excessively heavy weights.

Sensibly you should twist the dumbbells back to neutral (palms focusing ach other), place your knees up so the ends of the dumbbells are hitting your thighs, then utilize the weight of the dumbbells to rock back to an upright, seated placement.

Close Grip Dumbbell Press (AKA Crush Press) Tips

1. Maintain more tension through the pecs by not sealing out the elbows entirely.

2. Squeeze the dumbbells as tight as possible to enhance a phenomenon known as “irradiation” which promotes greater shoulder steadiness.

3. Maintain your shoulder blades pinched in conjunction to ensure the shoulders remain in a safe placement.

4. Think of the motion as a fly combined with a press. Press in conjunction while pressing horizontally.

5. If you’re feeling pain in the shoulder joint itself (especially at the front), ensure your shoulder blades are slightly cancelled and try to maintain the shoulder girdle “packed”.

6. Make sure you maintain some tension in your abs and don’t permit your lower back to excessive arch.

7. Maintain your feet flat on the floor and don’t permit the lower body to move during the set.


Before the rise in popularity of the bench press, the floor press was the only choice. It is the real bench press’, and back in 1899 George Hackenschmidt strict floor pressed 361 pounds at the age of 20 years old.


1. Pure Upper Body Strength

The floor press negates leg drive and positions all of the emphasis on your chest, shoulders and triceps.

2. Less Shoulder Pain

This was how I first realized the floor press. Steadily benching heavy was only enhancing my shoulder dysfunction and pain. About two years ago I ditched the bench press in favour of only floor pressing.

The reduced range of motion definitely means that your shoulders are out of the danger zone  at the bottom. The wider base of assistance from having the floor behind you also creates a much more steady foundation to press off – cancelling shoulder pain in the method.

The floor press importantly provides all the muscle-building advantages of a bench press without the inherent injury risk. 

3. Builds Your Arms

In the past two years since floor pressing constantly, my triceps have blown up. There’s a lot of elbow extension contained in the floor press, which creates considerable mechanical tension on the triceps.

The triceps connect very well to heavy loads, and overloading the floor press with good form over time will  build some important muscle on the back of your arms.

This is also without the elbow stress that typically gives heavy skull crushers.

4. Improved Lockout

If you typically miss your bench presses in the middle, the floor press will assist build your lockout because of the lowered range of motion and pause at the bottom.

5. Improved Chest Gains?

Many people like myself have found that switching to the floor press has enhanced chest development.


I suspect it’s a combination of the fact there’s no leg drive, less shoulder strain / recruitment (as you prevent the bottom placement) and due to the inherent pause at the bottom of the lift – which establishes a stronger muscular contraction.


There’s a few ways to do it, but my favourite ones are:

Close Grip Barbell Floor Press 

In this variation, utilize a grip that’s just outside shoulder width. What I’ve found is that utilizing this grip, as opposed to a traditional bench press grip, has a few advantages:

1. More range of motion

2. Less shoulder stress

3. Enhanced upper chest recruitment – the slightly narrower grip forces the elbows to come in slightly towards the sides, as opposed to being flared. This permits the upper chest to be in a strong placement to exemplify its primary functions (flexion & horizontal adduction – think of the latter as bringing the arm across the body).

Enhanced triceps recruitment – when you maintain the elbows in appropriate alignment utilizing a closer grip, you’ll overload the triceps further 

Neutral Grip Dumbbell Floor Press

The hardest part of the dumbbell floor press is the positioning. It can be a exact pain in the ass to get the dumbbells in placement, particularly when you begin going heavy. I’d always suggest having a partner position them on your lap before you ‘rock back’ into placement.

Once you’re into placement, keep a neutral hand placement, and don’t flare your elbows too much. This way you’ll achieve the same advantages as we discussed above with the close grip barbell variation, except you’ll have more even loading between each side.


Besides the three important cues, here are some specific technique tips to maximise your floor press:

1. Maintain your legs expanded and drive the heels into the floor for extra steadiness

2. Squeeze your glutes and contract your abs to establish a strong foundation

3. Raise chest up and squeeze your shoulder blades back and down throughout

4. Pause at the bottom when your upper arm hits the floor while maintaining everything tight

5. Blow up and contract your chest hard


The two great mistakes I see when floor pressing are:

1) Bouncing off the floor – when you perform this, you negate the muscle and strength building advantages that can be derived from pausing at the bottom. Leave your ego at the door and maintain it honest. You’ll find that you’re actually weaker off the floor than on a bench performing it this way.

2) Not staying very tight at the bottom.  The pause at the bottom shouldn’t be a time to rest and do away. You need to maintain everything contracted and tight at all times.


My preferred training split for many intermediate and advanced trainees uses the ‘heavy / light’ mode, whereby we’ll train in the 3 to 8 rep range on one day.

This works greatly for programming the floor press.

Day 1, Strength Concentration: Close Grip BB Floor Press 3 sets of 3-5

Day 2, Hypertrophy Concentration: Neutral Grip DB Floor Press 3 sets of 8-12


If your shoulders are beat up, and the bench press isn’t granting you the gains it proposed, it might be time to get on the floor.

Give it 12 weeks, set some goals, and you’ll be surprised as to how much your triceps and upper chest will enhanced, all the while maintaining your shoulders safe!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here