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How to Floor Press Without a Spotter or Rack

By October 1, 2011January 10th, 2014Strength Training

Here’s a video I filmed for folks who train in gyms that don’t have benches or racks, for example many Crossfit gyms. You can still maintain a strong bench press by just performing floor presses. If nobody’s around to help you get the bar into place, just bridge the bar into place as shown in the video. Chalk another one up for strong glutes!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! -BC


  • Mindy says:

    Great information as usual, this is the way I press, but wondered about my arm positoning, it looks like you keep your arms/bar about mid chest? I would love to see a demo for a clean and overhead press with the bar – I think thats what it is called. I get a lasting pain in my right forearm/elbow when I do this, so I don’t think I’m performing it correctly.
    thank you

  • Nick Nilsson says:

    Love this idea, Bret! Been looking for a way to do exactly this for awhile now.

  • Sifter says:

    Serious question, not trolling, but it seems like the equivalent of a quarter squat… that is, very limited range of motion. Isn’t there a concensus that we should first increase range of motion, then add weight? This seems to be going ‘backwards’ as it were. Please help, thanks.

    • Bret says:

      Sifter – I agree that it’s best to use a full ROM. But what if you don’t have a bench? The next best option is the floor press, and I wouldn’t say it’s akin to a quarter squat as it’s more than half the ROM. And it’s right by the sticky point so it’s difficult to overcome. The best approach is to use full ROM most of the time but use the floor press from time to time for variety. Cheers, BC

      • Sifter says:

        Thank you for clarifying. I suppose if I had no bench, though, I’d be inclined to just do snatches from floor to overhead, plenty of range of motion, and then load up as I gain strength. But I see your point, thanks.

  • Rachel Guy says:

    thankfully i am small enough to just wriggle under the bar!! 🙂 Great idea for guys though! Thanks Bret!

  • If you had a choice, would you do a regular bench press or a floor press?

  • Dr Mike says:

    This is a great option Brett, as a PT I often see older guys with anterior Sh capsule irritation from years of training bench with 90degrees abduction. This self limits elbow excursion below the bench (on thinner ppl).
    I like to cue the elbows tucked a bit at a 45 angle as well.
    Good stuff

  • Juliet says:

    I like the idea of the floor press because I often lift without a spot. While I tend to use dumbbell movements instead, this is a nice variation for sure. Just out of curiosity, do you think there is an advantage (or disadvantage…or makes no difference) to having the feet located in the same plane as the torso as opposed to below?


  • IA says:


    When bench pressing how to unrack the bar and keep your setup if you’re doing the lift without a spotter? I tried to find any info about this from your excellent site and various other places but unfortunately I couldn’t locate any useful post about the topic. Where and when (6AM) I train, there are no people around who could help me with the unracking of the barbell. As you know, keeping the setup tight is the main things when lifting heavy but when I unrack the bar all by myself, the upper back tightness is lost. Getting as close to the BP stands as possible without touching the stands with the bar while lifting is the option I go for nowadays but it’s a compromise and I feel I’m limiting my BP results this way. Any tips are highly appreciated.

  • moss says:

    a potential drawback to BC’s way of doing the floor press would be how to set your scapulae.
    possibly, you may have to greatly reduce the amount of weight you can lift.
    best solution: use a power rack.

  • Philippe says:

    I actually perform these, bridge presses and incline presses propped on a cinder block in my garage. To set the scapula is easy, pull your hips as close to your head while pulling the scapula down and the bar should rest in the hip groove. As you bridge up, you can adjust the scapula position as your torso supports the bar

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