One of the most common places of issue for both novice and seasoned weightlifters are injuries to the shoulder joint.
For me, my shoulder injuries come from playing basketball. Back in 2011 I tore my labrum in my left shoulder, making any type of pressing motion nearly impossible! I’ll go through stretches where I can hardly work my upper body at all!
Simply put, most injuries occur due to a lack of form, or lack of control through the given range of motion, while carrying out certain exercises.
I can’t say this was necessarily my downfall, but overusing the barbell bench press certainly escalated my injury.
Re-invented by bench press World-Record Holder Jesse Kellum, the dumbbell floor press greatly reduces the amount of stress placed on your shoulder joint, while also allowing for substantial strength and size gains to be made.
The dumbbell floor press is performed by lying down on the floor, and performing the basic dumbbell chest press.
By lying on the floor, however, you reduce the range of motion to a more manageable level for your shoulders.
An additional benefit of the dumbbell floor press is that you are also not putting your shoulder joint in a fixed position, such as many machines.
This movement is one of the easiest ways to improve the shape of your shoulders, posture, shoulder strength, and ability to perform other upper body exercises!
How to Perform the Dumbbell Floor Press
There are a few main ways to do the db floor press.
The first way to do the dumbbell floor press is y lying on the floor with your feet bent, and do a chest press from this position.
This helps you create additional power for your press, and move bigger weights.
More advanced versions of the dumbbell floor press involve challenging your core in various ways. Overall, these variations are responsible for increasing the stability and strength in your upper body, due to losing power output from the core.
The next option is to do your dumbbell floor press while also doing a glute bridge. Combining these two movements provides more bang for your buck while doing one exercise.
Lastly, you can floor press with your legs positioned straight and hovered off of the ground, and it will challenge your core to a larger extent during the movement. Here is a video of that example:
There are certainly more options as well, but these are the three db floor chest press options I use. You should always start with the most basic version first, and then work your way up.
Benefits of the Dumbbell Floor Press
There are quite a few intrinsic benefits of the dumbbell floor press that are beneficial for just about everyone. If you have chronically bad shoulders, this movement is especially important!
Want to learn more about the benefits of the floor press with dumbbells?
Keep reading below!
Additional Information: The Best Dumbbell Chest Exercises
Dumbbell Floor Press for Shoulder Health and Safety
The dumbbell floor press is the most suitable upper body mass-builder for those with a history of shoulder issues such as myself. During certain periods of time I can do traditional dumbbell chest presses without any issue, but the floor press is my go-to move when my shoulder is feeling bad.
The floor press is more easily tolerated than the bench press, for all lifters.
Since you are able to use a neutral grip for your pressing motion, instead of an externally rotated grip, your shoulders can easily move in a more natural fashion.
Along with this, pressing on the floor limits the range of motion to a comfortable point. Many lifters with longer arms have the issue that barbell bench pressing creates an inorganic range of motion, which almost guarantees a shoulder injury sometime in the future.
Reducing the range of motion on the shoulder joint places proper muscular strength on the triceps, and pecs as well, which is often neglected in usual training. If these muscles become weaker, compared to the front delts of your shoulder muscles, your shoulders will sure to suffer.
Simply balancing these muscles can often relieve a lot of shoulder issues, but barbell bench pressing does not do this suitably at all.
Since the floor press eliminates the lower half of the shoulder range of motion, the floor press works to compress the shoulder back in to its socket; improving long term shoulder health.
Your posture will become better quickly after working with this exercise, and you will feel the difference!
DB Floor Press for Improving Bench Press Strength
After becoming used to the floor press exercise, many people experience that they can handle more weight than usual. Although you will be moving less total weight than you would in a conventional bench press or chest press, your muscles will be worked much harder.
Along with this, you will accomplish this feat while also being less prone to injury when attempting these weights!
It is far more difficult to “cheat” during this exercise, and your muscles will be built in proper correlation!
The floor press primarily targets the upper chest, adding shape and size to a region of your body which is often difficult to correctly target.
Learn More: Bench Press Programs
The Floor Press Uses Muscles You Don’t Normally Use
Regardless of whether you are consistently using the conventional bench press, incline bench press, or decline bench press, you are not using your muscles completely.
As stated in a study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics,
“Comparing the EMG activity during the competition bench press style with either the inclined and declined bench position (wide grip) or using a narrow and medium grip (flat bench), only resulted in different EMG activity in the biceps- and triceps brachii.”
Using the floor press will force you to use more of your triceps, and develop a completely unique type of strength.
For those of you who are looking to build a well-rounded aesthetic physique, adding in the DB floor press is a great way to innovate your current workout routine!
The Dumbbell Floor Chest Press Decreases Back Strain
Floor pressing reduces the chance for lumbar hyper extension, something which can happen too often when attempting to barbell bench press heavy weights.
Have you ever seen someone in the gym straining their whole body to 1 rep max 3-plates?
I’m guessing their body doesn’t resemble something you would like to emulate yourself as well.
“Ego lifters” tend to injure themselves more often than they make gains, and the barbell bench press is one of the main reasons for this issue!
Concluding Thoughts – DB Floor Press Benefits
Whatever your reason for wanting to try the dumbbell floor press, you will certainly see improvements in how your shoulders feel on a day-to-day basis!
Along with this, you will also see improvements in the size and strength of your shoulders and chest.
Using the dumbbell floor press along with a proper dynamic warm up for every workout and practicing yoga, is an excellent way to improve the health of your shoulders quickly!
Consistently building your chest with this exercise can be a major factor in long-term shoulder health!