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Home > Blog Index

Floor Press vs. Bench Press — Which is better for building a bigger chest?

floor bench press

There’s nothing quite like a chest that near enough pops out of your shirt, right? Even for guys that are new to working out, you’ve more than likely heard of the floor bench press.

The chances are, you’ve heard of the bench press long before now, am I right? So it should come as no surprise that the floor bench press involves, well, pressing… From the floor.

Easily one of the key moves for building a BIG chest, there has long been a debate between chest press vs bench press – so we’re here to settle the score.

The differences: Floor press vs bench press

As you may have already guessed, both are variations of the well-known bench press. Put simply, one is done on a workout bench and the other is done on the floor. While the bench press on the floor doesn’t require a bench (obviously), there are more differences than not needing a bench.

Wait, can you bench press on the floor? 

Of course, you can. While the floor bench press may just seem like a more convenient spin on your typical bench press, the key difference is actually the range of motion you press with. But what impacts the range of motion? Well, while lying on a workout bench your elbows are free to move past your torso, giving a greater stretch to your chest muscles.

If your focus is bodybuilding (and therefore muscle gain) the standard bench press may be for you. The increased range of motion equates to more tension, not the muscle. In short, tension = growth.

So, floor press vs bench? What’s the benefit of the floor bench press?

Well, quite the opposite. Where the bench press allows a greater range of motion, the floor bench press decreases this range. This means you can lift heavier, familiarizing the muscles required during a bench press to a heavier weight. During the floor bench press you can focus on the top half of the bench press.

Having trouble locking out the bench press? Try adding the floor bench press to your workouts to isolate the sticking point. Put simply, a bench press on the floor can benefit strength athletes, but may not necessarily be the go-to for adding muscle mass.

Are there similarities? Chest press vs bench press

chest press vs bench press

In short, both the floor bench press and your typical chest press are both bench presses. It goes without saying that the main difference is the need/lack of a workout bench.

In terms of how the movement actually works, when we speak about the floor press vs bench, we’re comparing two horizontal presses – which involve extending your arms out in front of you (not overhead).

Both also primarily target the chest, triceps and shoulders – however, the floor bench press isolates the triceps to a greater degree since they are heavily involved in the movement from start to finish – due to decreased range of motion.

Also Read: The Ultimate Bodyweight Workout

If until now, you’ve been wondering, ‘can you bench press on the floor, effectively?’ the answer is most certainly: Yes. Both a bench press on floor and a workout bench are excellent strength-building exercises. The floor bench press, however, is just a little more specific.

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What about performance? The floor press vs bench press

Well, that kinda depends on your goals. Nevertheless, we’ve done the research for you so you can gain a greater understanding of how chest press vs bench press differs.

Strength building

If you’re looking to build some serious strength, adding the floor bench press into your routine can certainly help you target muscles a little more specifically. The floor bench press can also greatly benefit your power on the bench press, too.

The floor bench press may limit your chest’s involvement, however, it can definitely boost your bench press game.

To build a huge chest, arms and press, your standard bench press is likely to be your go-to. But don’t be afraid to add the floor bench press into your routine to target those triceps even harder.

Chest hypertrophy

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Since the non floor bench press (aka, the usual one!) has a greater range of motion, it targets the pectorals/chest to a greater extent than the floor bench press. When completing the move on a workout bench, your arms have a greater range of motion (as your elbows easily pass your chest at your sides) therefore increasing the stretch and load on the chest.

While the floor bench press can increase chest strength and mass, there is typically more use of the chest muscles during the bench chest press vs bench press on the floor.

Triceps Hypertrophy

While floor press vs bench press may flag up the benefits of a workout bench, the floor bench press certainly gains the upper hand when targeting the triceps.

Also Read: How to build muscle

Since there’s a decrease in range of motion during the bench press on the floor, there is a greater load on the triceps and elbow extensors. Often, weak triceps is the most common weakness when struggling with a bench press on a workout bench.

So, if you’re trying to really beef up those triceps and want to up your bench press game, get adding the floor bench press into your routine as standard.

Powerlifting ability

With the competition lift in powerlifting being the bench press, knowing how to master it is crucial to success. However, that being said, the floor bench press can help you to identify (and correct) any weaknesses in your bench press – especially where the triceps are concerned.

Shoulder health

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If you have previously hurt your shoulder or feel as though your shoulders could potentially be a weakness, the floor bench press can help to support your shoulders during these types of exercises – since the range of motion is restricted.

How to do the floor press and bench press

bench press on floor

Also Read: What’s the best workout split routine?

Not sure how to do the floor bench press or standard bench press? Here’s how.

The standard bench press

  • To start the standard bench press, slide back on the workout bench until your eyes are in line with the barbell
  • Hold the bar at a shoulder-width grip, or slightly wider
  • Keep your feet firmly planted on the floor, with a slight arch in your lower back as you squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • As you lift the weight from the rack, lower it to your chest while keeping your elbows pointed out at 45-degrees
  • Once the bar has touched your chest, exhale and push the bar upwards
  • Push through your feet, engaging your hamstrings, quads and glutes

The floor bench press

  • Best done with a power rack, ensure you can reach the J-hooks while lying on the floor
  • In this position, your floor bench press will be near-identical to the standard bench press. Don’t forget to keep your eyes in line with the barbell, with a shoulder-width grip (or slightly wider) while keeping your feet planted on the floor
  • Arch your lower back and squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • The floor bench press usually involves a heavier weight, so be sure to lower the bar slowly and with full control. Descend until your triceps touch the floor and keep them tense throughout before driving the weight upwards through your feet until your elbows are fully locked out

Ready to BUILD your chest?

Whichever way you look at it when comparing the floor chest press vs bench press, they can both benefit your muscle/strength goals! Incorporating the floor bench press into your routine can certainly boost your ability during the standard bench press.

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The Brutal Force Team

The Brutal Force Team

We research and write articles about health, fitness and dieting. Each of our articles includes sources from scientific studies where possible.

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The Brutal Force Team

The Brutal Force Team

We research and write articles about health, fitness and dieting. Each of our articles includes sources from scientific studies where possible.