Archive for October, 2010

October: Exercise of the Month

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Floor Press

This month is all about the upper body and a great variation of arguably the most popular move in the fitness industry. The floor press is much like the bench press in terms of movement pattern and muscle fibres recruited, only (as the name suggests) it’s performed from the floor instead of a bench.

If you are a regular FMT reader then you’ll know I am a fan of movements that involve static-overcome-by-dynamic strength. With this movement there should be half a second of a pause when your elbows touch the floor, which limits the stretch reflex, forcing the muscle to produce strength without any momentum. It’s the same idea as box squats, deadlifts and rack pulls, only it’s for your upper body.

One of the main reasons that October’s exercise should become  a staple in your regime is because it allows you to develop your pressing power while causing less wear-and-tear in your shoulder.  The significantly less ROM (compared to the bench press) means the humerus is not protruding forward and placing stress on the shoulder capsule. That is why it is a good movement for people who are trying to rehab their shoulder while maintaining a training effect. That said, if you are trying to progress your bench press I would consider this exercise not only as a preventative measure to keep the shoulder healthy, but also to allow you to lift heavier loads (less distance usually means more weight).

The video below outlines a variation of the floor press movement.

Keep in mind that this exercise can be performed with a regular barbell as well as dumbbells.

Instead of doing an exercise progression for beginners to advanced trainees (like in previous posts) I have outlined a three step guide to a bigger bench. Note, this template can be used for someone who is aiming to return to a pain free bench with new found strength, or for individuals who are simply trying to break some personal barriers on the bench.

Big Bench Guide:
Weeks 1-4:

  • Alternating DB Floor Press with neutral grip (weeks 1&2)
  • DB Floor Press with pronated grip (weeks 3&4)

*Weeks 6-9:

  • 3 Board Bench Press (weeks 6&7)
  • 2 Board Bench Press (weeks 8 & 9)

*Weeks 11-12+

  • Regular Bench Press

* Note that in the missing weeks (5 &10) I always recommend a ‘deload’ phase. This generally means dropping the intensity and volume for a week before moving forward, and is also known as a recovery week.

For details on accessory lifts, sets, reps and everything else regarding training click here.