The bench press is a staple in any gym-goers lifting routine. Sure, it targets the chest and triceps , and makes you feel like a manly man. However, the dark side of the bench press is that it, along with its dumbbell variations, are a common culprit for shoulder impingement issues and further injury. With these pressing motions, there is an internal rotation and adduction at the the shoulder. It is also very easy for the scapulae to be at a sub-optimal position if the set up is incorrect or if the eccentric and concentric actions of the lift are not performed correctly. Plus, there is a lot of unwanted extra rotation about the shoulder joint.
When applying this to specific populations (in this case, powerlifters, overhead athletes, or anyone with shoulder pain), the typically used pressing exercises (bench presses, shoulder press) can put a lot of unwanted stress to the shoulder. This is where the floor press can work wonders in any strength training program, especially for the populations listed above.
a) The floor press strengthens the common weak points in the bench press. For most benchers, the top half/lockout is the weakest point in their lift. The floor press shortens the range of motion of the press, and really focuses on the top half of the lift, which also stresses the importance of the role of the triceps. With the shortened range of motion, the stretch shortening cycle is also negated. A lot of lifters depend on the stretch shortening cycle in order to power the weight up with the elastic energy stored and released from the series elastic component in the muscle. The floor press doesn't allow for a true SSC and can make all lifters ruthlessly strong.
b) The range of motion at the shoulder is decreased. The internal rotation and extension which occurs at the shoulder during the bench press can cause a lot of shoulder issues for individuals. The floor press not only decreases the extension and internal rotation which occur at the shoulder joint, but it will also decrease the stress placed on the lower back. During any bench set up, there is a natural arch which will occur at the lower back. Lying flat on the floor during the floor press will alleviate this stress. Both of these are extremely important when working with an overhead athlete as you would want to place the least amount of stress on the shoulder due to the fact they are always using it. The floor press will allow you to get the same strength benefits without the usual stress.
c) The floor press will make you ruthlessly strong. During the bench press, there is a lot of drive from the lower body to increase stability and power during the lift. However, during the floor press all of the stress is placed on the upper body and the legs can't do much. When training with the floor press the activity of the pecs, shoulders, and triceps are maximized with minimal leg drive making a concoction for big arms and a bigger, stronger lockout.
Watch the video below for proper setup and execution of the floor press.