How to do: Floor press

Build a stronger upper body by doing floor presses

Posted by for Strength

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: the floor press.

Think you’ve got to go to a weights room to build a seriously strong upper body? Think again. You can work those pecs, triceps and biceps from the comfort of your own home, thanks to the trusty floor press.

So, what exactly is a floor press and what muscles does it work?

A floor press is what it says on the tin: lying on the floor, pressing weights up into the sky. It’s a very simple, very effective, but also a potentially dangerous move if you lose a grip on those weights. In gyms, you might have someone spotting you when you do heavy chest presses but at home, the chances are that you won’t so it’s really important that you only lift as much as you’re comfortable with. Floor presses are great because:

  • Upper body workout: targets the lats, traps, pecs, core, arm muscles.
  • Adaptable: start light and progress the weight as you see fit. As you get stronger, you’ll be able to progress a long way.
  • Lower chance of injury: despite the warning above, being on the floor has some advantages. You can’t over-extend your back or put your body weight in the wrong place. You’re less likely to injure your shoulders than when performing a shoulder press. The floor keeps you stable so as long as you only lift as much as you’re really able, floor presses are a good, low-impact move.

Floor presses are great for building serious upper body strength while having support all along your back.

Which muscles are worked?

This move primarily targets the upper body, including:

  • Pectoralis major and minor
  • Triceps
  • Trapezius
  • Deltoids

How to do to a floor press

This is all about fighting against gravity and lifting away from the ground. Keep your back neutral, your feet flat on the floor and your core engaged.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Grab your weights and extend your arms above your head so that the weights are now directly above you. There should be a straight line running from the weights to your elbows and shoulders.
  3. At the top of this move, the weight ends should be facing each other.
  4. Slowly lower the weights, rotating your wrists slightly so that the ends of the weights are now facing your face/feet.
  5. Lower until your upper arms and elbows touch the mat and go again.

The slower you bring the weights down, the harder the move becomes. Try lowering for the count of three and coming back up explosively. 

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Image: Stylist

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Miranda Larbi

Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.

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