If you’re familiar with the floor press, this is a “bench” version of that, basically. If you’re not familiar with the floor press, it still is, but I’m going to tell you what the means 🙂
The floor press is a bench press done laying on the floor. The reason it’s useful is that at the bottom, your upper arms rest on the floor, which allows you to take tension off the pecs so you’re starting with zero elastic tension at the bottom of every rep. This helps work the muscles harder because of that missing assistance.
So instead of doing the floor press on the floor, we’re going to accomplish the same “zero tension” goal using a bench and that bench will be set perpendicular in the power rack so that your butt is off in space while your upper back is supported on the bench.
You will find the balance to be a bit different, though, so start lighter than you normally would the first time you do this one…it’s actually tougher than it looks and losing the elastic rebound out of the bottom is going to make you work a lot harder.
Unrack the bar and get it into the top position, as pictured above. Now lower the bar down until your upper arms are resting on the bench (instead of the floor). Make sure your safety rails are set so that the bar doesn’t come down on them.
Balance the bar while taking the tension off your pecs, consiously relaxing them. Then regroup, setting your shoulders behind your body (I like to do this by pushing my elbows down into the bench while trying to touch my chest up to the bar – this automatically pulls the shoulders in).
THEN push up with a powerful press out of the bottom.
You’ll notice it being a fair bit harder than regular press because you’re basically right at the sticking point of the movement at the start point. Developing strength out of the bottom here is going to help you immensely in your full range bench press. You’ll blast right through that sticking point.
This is one easy to set up and I find it to be easier and safer to perform than floor press, especially if you don’t have a good setup to do those and/or no spotter. You get the same benefits but in the protection of the rack.
Nick Nilsson is known in the fitness industry as the “Mad Scientist of Muscle,” and for good reason! For more than 28 years, Nick has been creating unique, new exercises and training techniques and putting together some of the most innovative muscle-building and fat-loss programs available anywhere.