by: Jason Manenkoff
How much do you bench?
This is a commonly asked question by both the laity as well as gym rats nationwide. The Bench Press is perceived by many as the ultimate test of ones manhood in the Iron Game. Prior to the mid 19th century the “how much do you bench” question may have been stated differently since instead of lying on a bench, lifters would lie on the floor to press. Once the Bench Press was “invented” the Floor Press was soon forgotten by gym rats and bodybuilders- but not by powerlifters.
As a bench presser, and a fairly decent one at that (Editor’s note: Jason is currently ranked #4 in the USA), I will say that there is no exercise to “replace” the bench press. With that being said, the Floor Press is a damn good way to improve your Bench Press and may even act as a great substitution for it during times when you are forced to work around certain injuries. There are quite a few variations of the Floor Press, but the two I’d like to focus on are the Barbell and Dumbell variations with the knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
To set-up for the barbell version you will need a power rack (unless you have a training partner willing and able to deadlift the bar and hand it to you). Lying on the floor as you would on a bench with your shoulder blades pulled together, elbows tucked, back arched and feet flat you will un-rack the bar, lower it under control until your triceps touch the ground, pause for a split second and reverse the movement; simple as that.