floor press alternative
Fitness

25 Floor Press Alternatives For Building A Stronger Upper Body

The floor press is a fantastic move, whether you are using it as a rehab exercise or to boost your upper body mass and strength.

The floor press is one of the classic bench press alternative exercises that you can do when you don’t have access to a workout bench. In addition, it will allow you to get a whole lot stronger in the final third of the bench press movement.

In this article, we lay out 25 floor press alternatives that you can do, whether you are at home or in the gym.

1. Overhead Pin Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The overhead pin press will help you to improve your lockout strength on the barbell bench press. 

Muscles Worked

Deltoids, triceps

Equipment Needed

Power rack or squat rack, Olympic barbell

Performance Tips

Maintain a natural curvature in your spine. Set your feet firmly on the floor and keep them there.

How To Do It

  1. Sit with the bar directly over your head and the bar resting on the safety rails of the rack.
  2. Drive the bar directly overhead until your elbows are locked out.
  3. Return to the starting position.

2. Incline Bench Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The incline bench press allows you to place emphasis on the upper part of the chest.

Muscles Worked

Pectorals, triceps, front deltoids

Equipment Needed

Incline bench, Olympic bar

Performance Tips

Press to the upper part of the clavicles; keep your feet firmly set on the floor. Set the bar to a 45-degree angle to avoid too much emphasis on the front deltoids.

How To Do It

  1. Set the bench angle to 45 degrees and load the bar onto the bench supports.
  2. Position yourself on the bench and grab the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip.  Set your feet firmly on the floor.
  3. Unrack the bar and lower it your upper chest.
  4. As the bar touches your t-shirt revere the motion to push directly back up to the start position.

3. Barbell Bench Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The flat bench press is a basic compound mass and strength builder that will add power to your entire upper body.

Muscles Worked

Chest, triceps, deltoids

Equipment Needed

Flat bench, Olympic bar

Performance Tips

Open your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together in the descent; push your heels into the ground on the ascent.

How To Do It

  1. Lie on the bench  and grab the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip. Set your feet fat on the floor. Draw your shoulder blades together and down, expand the ribcage and open the chest.
  2. Lower the bar to your mid chest in a controlled manner.
  3. Once the bar touches the chest, push straight back up to the start position.

4. Dumbbell Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The dumbbell bench press allows you to get a greater range of motion than the floor press because your hands are not locked on a bar. As a result, you are able to bring your hands together to achieve a complete pec contraction.

Muscles Worked

Chest, triceps, deltoids

Equipment Needed

Bench, dumbbells

Performance Tips

Open the chest, draw the shoulder blades together, and flare your lats. Drive your heels into the floor as your drive the dumbbells back up.

How To Do It

  1. Lie on a flat bench with a pair of dumbbells held at arm’s length over head and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lower the weights out and down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  3. Press up and in to bring the weights together above your mid chest.

5. Tate Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The Tate Press is a great exercise to help you improve your lockout strength on the standard barbell bench press.

Muscles Worked

Triceps

Equipment Needed

Flat weight bench, dumbbells

Performance Tips

The elbows should not drift back in toward your body. Make them stay out throughout the exercise. For variation, play around with different inclines.

How To Do It

  1. Lie flat on a weight bench with the dumbbell heads in contact and your palms turned down as they would be in a normal dumbbell bench press.
  2. Keeping the dumbbells in contact, flare the elbows directly out to the sides and bring the dumbbells down to the chest.
  3. Once the dumbbells touch the chest, return them to the start position by performing and extension, keeping the elbows out and the dumbbells in contact at all times. At the top the dumbbells will have the flat portions touching. At the chest, the sides of the dumbbells will be touching.

6. Resistance Band Chest Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The resistance band chest press allows you to replicate the barbell bench press and the cable chest press at home with only an inexpensive resistance band set. 

Muscles Worked

Pectorals, triceps, deltoids

Equipment Needed

Resistance bands

Related Post:  11 Best Cable Crossover Alternatives (For Maximum Chest Gains)

Performance Tips

Make sure the door is securely anchored and locked. 

How To Do It

  1. Attach the anchor trap of your resistance band to the top of an inside door and secure the door.
  2. Stand a few feet in front of the door, facing away from it. 
  3. Grab the handles in an overhand grip at should lever with your elbows parallel to your shoulders. Push your hands forward and together to meet in front of your mid chest.
  4. Lower and repeat.

7. Dumbbell Flyes

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The dumbbell flye provides an awesome stretch through your pecs through its full range of motion.

Muscles Worked

Pectorals, front deltoids, triceps

Equipment Needed

Flat bench, dumbbells

Performance Tips

Keep your elbows slightly bent but locked in that position.

How To Do It

  1. Lie on a bench with a pair of dumbbells held above your chest at arm’s length. Bend your elbows slightly.
  2. Pivot from the shoulders to bring the dumbbells out and down to the sides until they are parallel to the floor.
  3. Reverse the action to return to the start position.

8. Cables Chest Flye

Why It’s a Great Alternative

Cable flyes allow for an awesome contraction and extension of the pecs without the risks that come with the dumbbell version of the exercise. That is because the resistance is coming from a horizontal rather than a vertical direction. 

Muscles Worked

Pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, triceps  

Equipment Used

Twin Cable Towers  

Performance Tips

Maintain a slight bend in your elbow throughout the entire exercise, with the entire movement coming from your shoulder joint.

How to Do It

  1. Set the pulleys on a cable crossover machine to their lowest position. Place a flat bench in the middle of the machine.
  2. Grab the handles and lie on the bench.
  3. From a start position with your arms extended out to your sides and elbows slightly bent, pivot from the shoulders to bring the cables up to meet above your mid chest.
  4. Lower and repeat.

9. Standing Cable Chest Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The standing cable chest press allows you to get an ideal cable alignment with the direction of the pectoral muscle fibers. 

Muscles Worked

Pectoral, anterior deltoids, triceps

Equipment Used

Twin cable towers

Performance Tips

Maintain a neutral lower back position. Move your arms in a slightly downward motion to meet at the level of your sternum.

How to Do It

  1. Set the pulleys to shoulder level and stand in front of the machine, facing away from it with a shoulder width stance.
  2. Grab the handles with an overhand grip. The start position has your elbows at shoulder level, angled 45 degrees to your upper body.
  3. Press both arms forward to full extension, bringing the handles together to meet in line with your sternum.
  4. Reverse and repeat.

10. Push Up

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The push-up is a basic compound bodyweight exercise that will build strength through your entire upper body. It can be done anywhere, anytime and there are dozens of variations to make the exercise more challenging.

Muscles Worked

Pectorals, front deltoids, triceps

Equipment Needed

None

Performance Tips

Keep your body in a straight line; do not let your hips rise up.

How To Do It

  1. Position yourself face down on an exercise mat with your hands in line with your shoulders and slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Start with your arms fully extended and then lower down to bring your torso to the floor. In the bottom position, your chest should be about an inch from the floor.
  3. Push through the chest to return to the start position.

11. Handstand Push Up

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The handstand push-up is a great bodyweight exercise that directly works your front deltoids. You can vary the intensity o this move by bringing your hands closer to or further away from the wall.

Muscles Worked

Deltoids, triceps

Equipment Needed

None

Performance Tips

Maintain a straight line through your entire body.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with your back against a wall.
  2. Drop down to put your palms on the floor and walk your feet up the wall until your body is straight nd your arms fully extended.
  3. Keeping a straight body, bend the elbows to bring your head down to the floor.
  4. reverse the action to return to the start position.

12. Skull Crusher

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The skull crusher will improve your lockout on the bench press.

Muscles Worked

Triceps

Equipment Needed

Flat bench, barbell

Performance Tips

This exercise tends to be quite hard on your elbows. Play around with grips, and compare EZ curl versus straight bar to decide which one feels best to you.

How To Do It

  1. Lie on your back on the weight bench. Hold the bar in a close grip.
  2. Keeping the elbows pointed directly at the ceiling, lowly bring the bar to your forehead. When the bar get 1 to 2 inches from your forehead, use the triceps to return the bar to full extension.

13. Seated Cable Front Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The seated cable bench press allows for the ideal resistance angle to target the entire pectoral muscle. It also allows you to use a complete range of motion, bringing the hands together at the end of the movement. 

Muscles Worked

Pectoral, anterior deltoids, triceps  

Equipment Used

Twin Cable Towers

Performance Tips

Keep your forearms in line with the cable at all times. Forcefully contract your pecs in the end position of the movement. 

Related Post:  5 Dumbbell Fly Alternatives for Bigger Pecs

How to Do It

  1. .Set the double cable pulley to shoulder level and position a back supported bench about three feet in front of it facing away from the machine.
  2. Sit on the machine and grab the handles with an overhand grip. The start position has your elbows at shoulder level, angled 45 degrees to your upper body.
  3. Press both arms forward to full extension, bringing the handles together to meet in line with your sternum.
  4. Reverse and repeat.

14. Cable Crossover

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The cable crossover allows you to get a fantastic stretch through the pectoral muscles and to get a great contraction at the end of the movement. 

Muscles Worked

Pectorals, anterior deltoids, triceps  

Equipment Used

Cable Crossover Machine  

Performance Tips

Concentrate on getting a great stretch in the top position and forcefully contracting your pecs in the bottom position.

How to Do It

  1. Set the pulleys on a cable pulley machine just above shoulder level. Grab the handles and stand in the middle of the machine. Walk out until the cable are taut when your arms are extended.
  2. From a starting position with your slightly bent arms up and out to the side, pivot from the shoulders to bring the cables down and across your chest until your hands cross over. 
  3. Reverse and repeat.

15. JM Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The JM Press is a great exercise to help improve your lockout strength on the standard bench press.

Muscles Worked

Triceps

Equipment Needed

Bench press rack, Olympic bar

Performance Tips

The elbows should go straight down toward the body bringing the forearms to parallel with the floor.

How To Do It

  1. Lie with your back on the weight bench and arms extended. Grip the bar with a close grip that is slightly closer than shoulder width apart.
  2. Bring the bar down in a straight line to the collar bone. When it begins to feel difficult to descend any further, press the bar through the hands to full extension.

16. Overhead Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The overhead press is another great exercise to make you stronger in the bench press lockout.

Muscles Worked

Deltoids and triceps

Equipment Needed

Olympic barbell

Performance Tips

Don’t use the legs, which would turn the exercise into a push press. 

How To Do It

  1. Stand with the bar resting on your clavicles.
  2. In a controlled manner, press the bar directly overhead until the elbows are locked. Lower the bar to the starting position in a controlled manner.

17. Arnold Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The Arnold Press, invented by Mr. Schwarzenegger himself, is unique in that it allows you to hit all three heads of the deltoids in one exercise. This is a great exercise for overall shoulder strength.

Muscles Worked

Deltoids

Equipment Needed

Bench, dumbbells

Performance Tips

Perform the exercise in a slow, controlled manner. Do not use a weight beyond what you can handle.

How To Do It

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with then at shoulder level, palms facing your body.
  2. Press the dumbbells directly up, rotating your palms so that they are facing away from you in the top position.
  3. Lower to the start position, reversing the palm position so they are again facing you t the bottom the movement.

18. Carpet Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The carpet press is a very good supplementary exercise to the floor press or flat bench that will increase your poundage and refine your form. It will also help you to overcome your sticking point on the bench.

Muscles Worked

Pectorals, triceps, lats, deltoids, rotator cuff

Equipment Needed

Bench press bench, Olympic bar, a roll of carpet

Performance Tips

Be sure to mimic the form of the regular bench press. Try different-sized carpets to suit your sticking point.

How To Do It

  1. Set up exactly as for the normal bench press. Hold the bar at arm’s length and have your training partner place a rolled up carpet on your chest.
  2. Lower, the bar to the carpet. In a controlled manner, allow the bar to sink into the carpet. Once the bar has ceased to sink into the carpet, press the bar to full extension.

19. Rolling Dumbbell Extension

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The rolling triceps extension will help you to improve your lockout on the flat bench press.

Muscles Worked

Triceps

Equipment Needed

Flat bench, dumbbells

Performance Tips

Most people tend to roll the elbows all the way down and do a dumbbell bench press. Have someone hold his hands at your rib cage or slightly above. When your elbows make contact with your partner’s hands, extend the weights.

How To Do It

  1. Lie with your back on the weight bench. Hold two dumbbells at full extension with the palms turned in.
  2. Bring the dumbbells down to the top of the shoulders. Roll the dumbbells back toward your head until the elbows are perpendicular to the floor. 
  3. Roll the elbows back toward your waist and extend. The extension should occur before the elbows are even with the rib cage.

20. Resistance Band Flyes

Why It’s a Great Alternative

Resistance band flyes allow you to get an awesome chest stretch to full extension and contraction at home with minimal equipment.

Muscles Worked

Pectorals

Equipment Needed

Resistance band set

Performance Tips

Stagger your feet for balance and stability.

How To Do It

  1. Loop a resistance band around a secure upright at shoulder level. Stand in front of the upright with the ends on the band in your hands in a palms down position.
  2. Begin with your hands at shoulder level, but about a foot wider than shoulder width.
  3. Extend your arms to bring the ends of the band together in front of your chest. Squeeze your chest muscles in the fully contracted position.
Related Post:  11 Best Landmine Press Alternatives

21. Wide Grip Push Up

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The wide grip bench press is a very good bodyweight exercise that targets the outer part of the chest.

Muscles Worked

Pectorals, deltoids, triceps

Equipment Needed

None

Performance Tips

Descend all the way down until your nose touches the floor.

How To Do It

  1. Position yourself face down on an exercise mat with your hands in line with your shoulders and out as wide as possible.
  2. Start with your arms fully extended and then lower down to bring your torso to the floor. In the bottom position, your nose should touch the floor. 
  3. Push through the chest to return to the start position.

22. Piston Pushdown

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The Piston Push Down will improve your lockout strength on the flat barbell bench press.

Muscles Worked

Triceps

Equipment Needed

Two resistance bands

Performance Tips

This is an exercise that should be done for volume, with reps between 20 and 30. 

How To Do It

  1. With two bands looped overhead, kneel or stand with a band in each hand. The palms should be turned in toward each other.
  2. Alternating hands, press the bands down to full extension. It should look like two alternating pistons firing.

23. Barbell Row

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The barbell row will help to increase stability on the bench press. It will also enhance your pushing power through the lats.

Muscles Worked

Latissimus dorsi

Equipment Needed

Olympic barbell

Performance Tips

Cut out the swing on this movement. Make sure to use muscle and not momentum to perform this exercise. 

How To Do It

  1. With your knees slightly bent and your back parallel to the floor, grasp the bar in a  shoulder-width grip at arm’s length.
  2. Using the lats, row the bar to your mid-abdomen until it makes contact with the body. Hold for a one count and lower the bar back to starting position in a controlled manner. 

24. T-Bar Row

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The T-bar row increases stability in the bench press and makes your lats stronger to help with the upward drive.

Muscles Worked

Latissimus dorsi

Equipment Needed

T-bar row machine

Performance Tips

Make sure to use the lats and not the spinal erectors when performing this exercise. Eliminate any swing throughout the movement. Use a range of handles for variety.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with your knees slightly bent and your back straight with the T-bar running between your knees. Grasp the handle with an overhand grip.
  2. Row the bar up as high as possible.
  3. Return to the start position in a controlled manner.

25. Cuban Press

Why It’s a Great Alternative

The Cuban press is great for developing upper back strength and stability.  

Muscles Worked

Trapezius, rotator cuff  

Equipment Needed

Incline bench, weight plates  

Performance Tips

Go slowly through the motion. This is a lightweight exercise in which you should do higher reps ( 10-25).          

How To Do It

  1. Lie facedown on an incline bench with your palms turned back and holding dumbbells in your hands, hanging down but not quite touching the floor.
  2. Rise the elbows so that they are flared directly out to the sides of the body at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Leaving the elbows in place, rotate the back until the upper arm is parallel to the floor and forming a letter L that can be seen from above.
  4. Reverse the entire motion in a slow, controlled manner until you reach the starting point.

Conclusion

You now have access to more than two dozen awesome floor press alternatives that you can perform both in the gym and at home. Keep your upper body workouts interesting by rotating through these exercises over the course of the next three months.

Keep doing the standard press on a weekly basis, doing these bench press variations on one other day per week to bring up your benching poundage, build your chest strength and add some serious mass to your upper body. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you build chest without bench press?

You must do some version of a chest press to build your chest but it does not have to be the bench press. The cable press is a better option than the bench press for chest muscle hypertrophy because it allows the angle of resistance to perfectly simulate the angle of muscle fiber direction.

How can I bench press at home without a bench?

The best way to bench press at home without a bench is to do the floor press. This exercise does not allow you to bring your elbows down lower than your body but is great for focusing on the upper part of the bench press movement.

Can push ups substitute for bench press?

Yes, push ups can substitute for the bench press as they are the same motion in reverse. The big problem with push ups is that you have limited resistance, being your body weight. You can increase the resistance by wearing a weighted vest or a backpack with weights in it.

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

You may also like...