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No Bench? No Problem. Grow Your Upper Body With the Dumbbell Floor Press

No excuses. Time to build a better upper body.

Just because you don’t have access to a bench or barbell at hand, doesn’t mean you get to skip chest day, just add in the Dumbbell Floor Press instead.

Take it to the floor and help sculpt your your upper body with the dumbbell floor press.

All you need to complete this exercise is a fair of dumbbells, making it a great movement to have in your back pocket when you want to get a quick pump in, or the gym is too busy and all your usual equipment is taken.

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Oft forgotten and overlooked, the dumbbell floor press is a great exercise for those who suffer from shoulder injuries or pain.

What Muslces does Dumbbell Floor Press Work?

The dumbbell floor press is an exercise for your triceps, shoulders and chest. The dumbbell floor press limits your range of motion more than a barbell press, and you’re able to use a neutral grip on the dumbbells.

This reduces extension at the shoulder joint while still targeting the pecs and triceps.

The dumbbell floor press will also help reduce the lumbar extension that comes from excessive arching through traditional bench pressing. This can be incredibly helpful for people who suffer from back pain.

Is the dumbbell floor press effective for the chest?

Yes! However this is not the primary muscle group at work when you perform the dumbbell floor press.

The main work will be done by your triceps, which you’ll engage to press the weight up. To engage your chest during the exercise, you’ll simply want to squeeze your pecs at the top of each rep.

Dumbbell Floor Press Technique

  1. Start by sitting on the floor with your legs straight and the dumbbells balanced vertically by your side
  2. Grip each dumbbell and hold them to your stomach with the ends resting on your hip crease
  3. Lay back gently until your back is flat on the floor. Make sure to grip the dumbbells tight so that they rest on your chest once you are laying on the floor
  4. Press the weights upwards to full extension
  5. Inhale and brace your core, grip and body
  6. Slowly lower the dumbbells until both elbows touch the floor
  7. Press the dumbbells back to the starting position
  8. Exhale
  9. Repeat for the desired number of reps

Dumbbell Floor Press Training Tips

Use these training tips to improve your technique and avoid injury.

Establish and maintain a 45-degree angle with the dumbbells. This will keep the elbows in a safe, neutral position.

dumbbell floor pressSource: Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc
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Don’t lock out the elbows completely. This will help to maximise time under tension and muscle growth for your pecs.

Don’t bump the dumbbells into each other at the top of the movement. Stay in control and move the weight with control and purpose.

Grip the handles of the dumbbells as tightly as possible to recruit as much strength as you can.

Control the descent and don’t let your elbows bounce on the floor either.

Keep your core and abs tight and strong.

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Is the floor press harder than a bench press?

The dumbbell floor press is not harder than a regular bench press because your range of movement is limited.

Try the Bulgarian Split Squat.

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