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The Ups & Downs of Floor Press

Why do we Floor Press?DSC_0033.JPG

Like the bench press, the floor press is a pure upper body movement. When you floor press, you are not able to drive your legs like you can on the bench press. This forces you to use maximum effort on the upper body muscles, mainly the pectorals, triceps and shoulders.

But why do we floor press? Well the biggest reason why we utilize the floor press in any weightlifting program is to decrease shoulder pain. Most athletes when bench pressing flare their elbows outwards causing stress on the shoulders, the floor press reduces extension at the shoulder joint and the likeliness of injury. Also, the floor press decreases stress on your lower back. When most athletes set-up on the bench press, they increase the arch in their lower back during the movement. If you have poor mobility in your hips it can wrench on your lower back further.

So let’s floor press!

First we set up the barbell. The athlete should lay on their back with their eyelevel directly under the bar with their knees bent and feet planted on the ground. When setting up the barbell most of us use a squat rack with j-cups, you want the height of the barbell set up so that when you lift off you barley scrap the j-cups.

Where do I put my hands?

To find an appropriate grip, start with going shoulder width apart. The goal with the grip is to keep your elbows tucked at a 45 degree angle to maximize your lift when pressing. When gripping the bar your wrist should be in line with your elbows, straight under the bar. Now when choosing a grip width, a couple of factors may affect the position you will want to go with. Such as your shoulder flexibility and any prior injuries. The best thing to do is to start just outside the shoulder width grip and move inwards or outwards depending on your shoulder mobility.

Lift Off!

Once you have found your position, think about pulling the bar straight out from the rack. DSC_0012.JPGIf you press the bar off the rack too much you lose you upper back stability. Now the starting position of the bar is where you want the lift to end. It sounds weird, but this will help with stability.

Don’t Rush!

One of the biggest problems I see with lifters is that they are in a rush to complete the movement. TAKE YOUR TIME, let the bar settle over your lower chest with your arms locked out at full extension. Find your position and squeeze the bar as hard as you can, try to break it then spread it apart. This will screw your shoulder blades into the ground and give you a nice flat back to maintain stability.


Think about activating your lats and controlling the bar on the way down. Don’t let the barbell control you and the descent of the movement, this will help add stability throughout the lift. The descent ends when your upper arms are flush with the ground.


Stay tight and press. Pretty simple from here. Make sure you keep your elbows tucked, wrist in line with your elbows directly under the bar. Finish the movement with your arms locked out at full extension to where you started.

By Jake Eggers

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