5 Floor Press Variations That Will Build Your Bench Press

Have you reached a Bench Press plateau? Try the Resisted Floor Press to promote new gains.

The Bench Press and its many variations is one of those go-to exercises that must be done to build a strong chest and a solid upper body. But maybe you have a minor injury that's preventing you from pressing the weight you want to. Or maybe you've hit a plateau.

When that happens, I recommend the Resisted Floor Press and its variations to prime your body to press more weight than ever next time you try the Bench Press.

RELATED: Floor Press: The Forgotten Chest Builder

Why The Floor Press?

The basic Floor Press with a barbell is a great exercise for developing your upper body. The reduced range of motion from your elbows hitting the floor makes it shoulder-friendly. And once your elbows hit the floor, you lose some of the stretch reflex, teaching your neuromuscular system to quickly recruit muscle fibers to press the weight from a dead stop. When you get on the Bench Press, this will help with speed at the bottom of the bench and increase your lockout. You can read more about the Floor Press here.

The Resisted Floor Press is a highly-challenging variation that confers the benefits of the standard Floor Press, but adds a great deal of instability and accommodating resistance. The instability forces your upper body muscles to engage to maintain control, which helps to strengthen small muscles that can be secretly weakening your Bench Press. And as you press, the resistance from the band increases, challenging the press through the entire range of motion.

RELATED: Build a Stronger Chest With the Dumbbell Floor Press

How to Perform the Resisted Floor Press

To effectively perform these five variations, you cannot just lie on the floor and do them. You must master the detail to properly execute and get the benefit out each exercise.

  • Assuming you have a squat rack with pins, attach a heavy resistance band to the pins of the rack, preferably two to three holes from the floor for the first three exercises and four to five holes above the ground for the Swiss ball variations.
  • Lie on your back and position yourself under the band. I recommend lining the band up with your upper chest, directly under your clavicle, but you might have to find the right position for yourself. Grab the bands with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Extend your legs to reduce spinal stress, often caused by a weak back and/or arching. To perform effectively, I recommend tightening your core, because the instability of the (resistance band) accommodating resistance will cause a shift in your normal core alignment.
  • There is no liftoff, so you should be good. Remember to tuck your elbows for effective pressing and to reduce the load and stress on your joints from inefficient flaring.

The Exercises

Resistance Band Floor Press

Single-Arm Resistance Band Floor Press

Swiss Ball Single-Arm Resisted Floor Press

(My knees are bent just to change up the variation)

Swiss Ball Resisted Floor Press

Resistance Band Holds on Swiss Ball

I don't advocate bench or dumbbell pressing on a stability ball; however, we think Resistance Band Holds on the Swiss ball requires more tension and focus, engaging the lats and challenging the core musculature in a more effective way.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock