This variation of the floor press will help you maximize your pressing force

The barbell bench press and overhead press are the gold standard for pressing strength and size gains, but when it comes to one-sided training, a necessary but sometimes underutilized training method, the barbell may not be the best choice. the most ideal option and this is where the unilateral dumbbell floor press comes into play.

Two-handed lifting allows you to lift more weight for juicy gains, but performing bilateral lifts by lifting both sides at the same time all the time leads to strength imbalances between the sides. These power imbalances, while not always a big deal, can skew technique, can lead to injury problems, and leave gains on the table.

There is an easy way to solve this problem – unilateral floor press with dumbbells. Here we dive into all things dumbbell floor press so you can supercharge your strength and muscle gains.


Most horizontal pressing variations are performed on a weight bench, not the dumbbell floor press. As the name suggests, you perform this press lying on the floor, which does a few things to the press. You reduce your range of motion, which is a shoulder saver for some. When the elbow passes the torso in the press, it puts the shoulder in external rotation, and if your shoulder is bothering you, that doesn’t help.

Reduced range of motion stretches the chest less; therefore, some emphasis is taken off the chest and placed on the triceps. Plus, because you’re on the floor, you’re more stable and get instant feedback, allowing you to press more confidently.


Here’s how to do the one-sided dumbbell floor press with good form.

  1. Lie on your back with a dumbbell by your side.
  2. Roll to your side and grip the dumbbell with both hands.
  3. Roll onto your back, press up and remove one hand.
  4. You can keep your feet on the ground or your legs extended. This is a matter of personal preference.
  5. Lower the dumbbell until your upper arm touches the ground and push up until it locks.
  6. Reset and repeat and then switch sides.


When you press on the bench, you can use the tension in your lower body as a counterweight to help propel the weight. Not so on the floor, which makes the floor press a predominantly upper-body exercise.

Here are the primary muscles trained by the unilateral floor press.

  • Chest: The initial push off the floor is all the way to the chest.
  • Anterior deltoids: Assists the pectoralis muscle with the initial push.
  • Triceps: Once the upper arm is off the floor, the triceps kick into action.
  • Obliques: Both oblique muscles contract isometrically to prevent rotation of the torso.


All unilateral exercises will improve strength imbalances between sides if they exist, reducing the risk of injury and increasing gains. Here are four more essential benefits of the unilateral dumbbell floor press.

  • Great work on the shoulders: Due to the limited range of motion that limits external rotation of the shoulder, the dumbbell floor press is the perfect gift for those with bumped shoulders. It’s also great for beginners because the reduced ROM reduces aches and pains from more significant ROM movements. It also helps build strength and control for harder lifts like the bench press, and the increased floor stability helps with technique and pressure placement.
  • Increased Flex Time: The one-sided dumbbell floor press is a great exercise for adding mass to your chest, shoulders, and triceps without putting excessive strain on your shoulders due to reduced range of motion. This fact makes it a great exercise accessory for the barbell bench press.
  • Unilateral Upper Body Strength: As with other small range-of-motion lifts like box squats, the floor press is a fantastic exercise for targeting specific portions of the lift. With the dumbbell floor press, you have a greater ability to handle heavy loads in the top half of the press to strengthen your triceps, chest, and anterior deltoid.
  • Improved Blocking Strength: There are two common weaknesses with the barbell bench press. One is just above the chest and the other blocks the last 1/3 of the press. Blocking strength is often a weakness, resulting in missed lifts, unstable blocking positions, or both. The one-sided dumbbell floor press is a great exercise to target this weakness, as you can handle heavier loads in the last third of the lift.


The dumbbell floor press isn’t a technical exercise and it’s simple to perform, but that doesn’t mean you can’t screw it up. Here are four common mistakes that keep you from getting the most out of this exercise.

  • You do NOT have control: Quickly lowering the weight, bouncing your upper arm off the floor, and twisting your torso to lift the dumbbell are sure signs you’ve lost control. This puts you at greater risk of injury and reduces muscle tension. Drop the weight, let your ego out, and lift with control.
  • Do not further reduce the range of motion: The dumbbell floor press is already a partial ROM lift, and by NOT touching your upper arm to the floor and pausing or getting a full lockout, it says goodbye to some of your gains.
  • Elbow position: Having your elbow close to your torso doesn’t give your chest and shoulder much room to move. And spreading your elbows increases the risk of injury to your shoulders and reduces the strain on your chest and triceps. Instead, having them at a 45-degree angle to your torso is a fantastic pressure position.
  • Incorrect installation and finishing: You know, the dudes who drop their dumbbells on the floor once they’ve finished their set of dumbbell bench presses. Don’t be that guy on the floor press because he looks ugly and bad for your shoulder. Rolling over to your side to grip the dumbbell and rolling over to your side to lower the dumbbells after the set is the safest way to perform this lift. No exception.


Let’s start with an obvious fact about the single-sided bench press. It is not an absolute strength exercise, but it is suitable for hypertrophy, strengthening imbalances and strengthening bilateral pressing variations. IMO, training the one-sided floor press between six and 15 reps for two to four sets as an accessory movement works well for most lifters.


Dumbbells and the floor press are a match made in exercise heaven. However, there are other tools and variations to increase the intensity and train the chest and triceps differently for better overall muscle development. Here are a few to take for a spin in your workout.

#variation #floor #press #maximize #pressing #force

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