The Barbell Floor Press

A switch-up that builds strength without joint pain

The bench press is one of the most common exercises in the gym. It’s a great movement for improving strength and building muscle, but it can also create some pretty significant imbalances if it is not performed properly. Some common issues that occur include:

• Shoulder pain
• Tight pectoral muscles
• Shoulders rounding forward (stemming from tight pecs and weak upper back)
• Elbow pain

When I train my clients, I always like to balance out a pushing movement with a pulling movement and some good shoulder stretching. We don’t use the traditional bench press often. Instead, we train our pushing movements through push-ups, overhead presses and medicine ball throws.

The Barbell Floor Press - A switch-up that builds strength without joint pain


One bench press variation that I love is the FLOOR PRESS, and that’s what I want to share with you today. This is a great twist on the classic bench press, because it puts your back in a safe and solid position, it reduces or even eliminates shoulder and elbow pain and it can be done with a barbell or dumbbell to add variety.


Here are the ins and outs of the floor press technique:

• Lay on your back with your core tight and knees bent.
• Lower the weight at chest level to the floor and let your triceps touch the floor.
• Drive the weight up with power and tension to full elbow extension.
• Lower down slowly and repeat this movement for the prescribed repetitions.
• Use 4-6 repetitions for heavy strength or 8-12 repetitions for more hypertrophy and muscle development.


In the video below, I’ll demonstrate how to do the floor press with a barbell. If you are doing this exercise alone, you can set up on the outside of a squat rack. If you are doing this with a training partner or trainer, they can also help to spot you by pulling the bar back into the racked position.

Give this exercise a shot and be sure to leave a comment below about how it went for you.

Callie Durbrow

Callie Durbrow is the owner of Durbrow Performance Training and the author of Strong and Sexy in 25 Minutes.

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