The floor press may be one of the single best bench training exercises known to man that you aren’t using in your program.
I’ll be honest, I hadn’t really used the floor press for many years. It wasn’t until I embarked upon a powerlifting specific program in the last couple of months that I put floor presses back into my programs. For years, they were a staple.
Quite simply, floor presses train many of the areas where we are weak during the bench press.
They take our leg drive and stability out of the equation.
They force us to slow down the lift and pause at the bottom, thus negating the stretch-shortening cycle. For all you reactive lifters out there (like me), this can make for a brutally tough lift.
And maybe most importantly, we can often use heavier weights in the floor press than we can in the bench press due to the diminished range of motion. While some might look at that as a deterrent, I look at look at it as a positive influence.
Getting heavy weights in our hands often breeds confidence for holding heavy heavyweights down the line. If you’ve never benched pressed 225 before, the first time you hold it in your hands for a PR attempt can be unnerving.
But, if you’re acclimated to that feeling by overloaded exercises such as the floor press, you’ll have much more confidence and be much more likely to hit the lift.
For raw lifters, I prefer the basic floor press. If you use gear, you can get a little sexier with your programming by adding chains, bands, etc.. One of my personal favorites when I was training exclusively for powerlifting was band assisted floor presses. This really put a premium on lockout strength, and got me accustomed to holding heavy weights on a week-to-week basis.
The only downside to floor pressing is the setup. Unfortunately, many gyms simply don’t have the equipment to effectively floor press. However, even in this case you can still use dumbbells to get some floor pressing.
Including the floor press in your programming can make a profound difference not only in your strength, but in your confidence levels as well.
Give floor presses a shot for the next couple months and let me know what kind of PR’s you end up hitting!