The Dumbbell Floor Press and its variations have been used by powerlifters and athletes for many years to build Herculean upper-body strength. If your goals are to add numbers to your Bench and size to your chest and upper body, the Dumbbell Floor Press and its variations can be used as a supplementary lifts.
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The Dumbbell Floor Press is different from other pressing exercises. When you lower the weights to your chest, your upper arms touch the floor. This reduces the range of motion and takes elastic energy out of the movement used to help slingshot the weight back up during a traditional Press.
Due to its reduced range of motion, the Dumbbell Floor Press is considered a more shoulder-friendly pressing variation. Also, it helps train the sticking point of a traditional Press so you can more easily move through this common failure spot, increasing your barbell or dumbbell Bench Press. And, it hammers away at your triceps to help you more effectively lock out the bar.
I've had great success with the Dumbbell Floor Press, and I've come up with some unique variations that are quite effective. By using a landmine attachment or changing how you move the weight, it's possible to increase the challenge to your body and cause further strength and size gains. Unless you have extremely heavy dumbbells, the landmine attachment also makes it possible to lift heavier weight, and the assymetric loading and movement challenge your central nervous system.
Dumbbell Floor Press How-To
- Grab the dumbbells, sit down and place them on your thighs as you would when performing a traditional Dumbbell Press. Bend your knees and lie down, maneuvering the dumbbells to the starting position with your elbows on the ground.
- To start, your knees should be bent and your feet flat on the ground. As you get comfortable with the exercise, straigthen your legs so they're flat along the ground.
- Tighten your glutes and abs, and pull your shoulders down and back.
- Press the dumbbells up over your chest.
- Lower the weight, keeping your elbows at a 45-degree angle with your body.
- Continue pressing for the specified number of reps.
That's the basic Dumbbell Floor Press. Now let's review variations that use a landmine apparatus. (If you lack access to a landmine apparatus, place the bar in a corner with a heavy dumbbell over the end to keep it in place.)
Use the setup outlined above for the dumbbell side. Just be conscious of where your body is in relation to the bar so you're in the proper position to grab and press it without putting stress on your elbows or shoulders.
Here are the Floor Press variations I use with my athletes. You can see them in action in the video player above. Start with 1-2 sets of 10 reps each side before progressing to heavier weight or increasing the volume.
- Dumbbell Floor Press with Landmine Floor Press
- Dumbbell Rotational Floor Press with Landmine Floor Press
- Dumbbell/Landmine Alternating Floor Press
- Dumbbell Goblet Hold Press with Landmine Floor Press
- Dumbbell/Landmine Floor Press (same time)
- Landmine Goblet Hold Press
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock