Lie with your back on the floor under your bar and grasp it with an overhand grip and your hands around shoulder-width apart.
You can have your legs extended or bent with your feet planted – the former is better for ensuring the lift is powered purely by your upper body.
If you’re under a rack the next step is to take the bar off it and hold it above you, but if you’re lying under a grounded bar you might need to get someone to help you raise it at the start of a set, especially if you’re using heavy weights.
Once you’re holding the bar above your chest with your arms outstretched, slowly lower it until your upper arms are touching the ground, then press it back up explosively.
Partial Range of Motion
The floor press is considered a “partial range of motion”.
What this means is that you’re only working a specific segment of the movement.
In this case, the focus is on the mid-range and lock-out portion.
Other Floor Press Variations
There are a few other floor press variations that you can implement depending on whether you want to target more or less of your triceps, or your specific lifting goals.
Close Grip Floor Press
A close grip floor press is the same exercise but you’ll take a grip that is shoulder-width apart.
It’s been demonstrated that a grip that is shoulder-width apart will recruit the triceps 2X as much when compared with a grip that is double the distance (Lehman, 2005).
Therefore, if you want to take the chest and shoulders out of the movement altogether, use the close-grip floor press.
Dumbbell Floor Press
The dumbbell floor press can be used if you don’t have access to a squat rack to set up the barbell variation.
It will also give you a bit more flexibility to position your hands and elbows in a more natural movement pattern.
Therefore, you can also use the dumbbell floor press if the barbell variation feels somewhat uncomfortable.
Swiss Bar Floor Press
This variation will require a specialty bar called a swiss bar. I wrote an entire article on the swiss bar bench press.
When you use the swiss bar during the floor press your hands will be in a neutral position, which will cause your elbows to tuck more while pressing.
As a result, your triceps will be more activated in this variation versus the regular floor press.
This variation is used more with football players or combat athletes as these sports require athletes to develop strength and power in a close hand position.