Tip: The Safest Chest Press

This lift is easy on your joints, kind to your shoulders, and polite to your achy elbows. And it'll still get you super strong.

The Dumbbell Floor Press

This is a staple exercise for many lifters. The floor press is simply bench pressing lying on the floor. This will reduce the range of motion compared to the regular bench press because the elbows stop when they hit the floor.

You could argue that this might be a more optimal position to press from since there's no excessive arching of the spine. Everything is set in a more "neutral" position. If you have trouble with the regular bench press, but all is fine during the floor press, the proof in the pudding is right there.

Since the range of motion is reduced, and you don't get a stretch reflex from the chest and shoulders, your triceps will be the main movers.

The floor press is used so much in powerlifting systems, like Westside, because it decreases stress on the shoulders. And it's probably easier on your joints than the regular bench press.

A bar is fine, but dumbbells are more practical. Dumbbells also allow more freedom for the shoulders, and you can choose a more neutral grip if you need it.

Technique Notes

  • Start by lying on your back with feet on the floor. You can do it like you would in a glute bridge starting position or with your legs straight. The latter takes out all possible leg drive, but there's not much leg drive in the floor press anyway.
  • While pressing the dumbbells up, think about pressing the shoulders down toward the ground. This helps you avoid the typical shoulder compensations.
  • Keep the shoulders as stable as possible, but the position doesn't allow you to pack the shoulders the way you would during a regular bench press. You can create more stability by lying on a yoga mat or similar.
Eirik Sandvik is an innovative athletic-performance specialist. His profound experience with injuries fuels his passion for finding the best strategies and solutions for overcoming setbacks. Eirik works with elite athletes in a variety of sports, from MMA to Figure fitness.    Follow on Instagram