15 Alternatives To Floor Press (Substitutes For Chest Day)

A floor press is a valuable exercise for developing a strong upper body, but it’s not the only option. Many people don’t like performing floor presses and find the movement hard.

This doesn’t mean you can't develop your functional strength, though, and in this guide, we’ll introduce the best alternatives to floor press which can be performed at home or in the gym.

Floor presses are great for developing a strong chest, but they aren’t suitable for everyone to perform. Good floor press alternatives should target your chest, triceps, and upper back in the same way so you can continue to build a strong, functional body. Here are the 15 best alternatives: 

1. Barbell Bench Press 

The barbell bench press is considered one of the vital exercises for people of all abilities. It targets your chest, triceps, and deltoids and helps you build muscle mass across your whole chest.

It also allows you to strengthen your upper back and shoulders so that your whole body becomes more functional. You’ll need a barbell and bench to perform this exercise.

Start by laying down with your back flat on your bench. Grip the barbell with your hands slightly over shoulder-width apart, and slowly lower it down to your chest. Pause for a second at the bottom, and then push it back up to the starting position.

Try to keep the barbell level with your chest throughout the movement and keep the barbell motion controlled to maximize the benefits. This exercise is a great floor press alternative that will help you build strength more quickly 

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

If you want to add even more variety, try switching up your grip placement. The closer your grip, the more you'll work your inner chest and triceps.

Related Article - Bench Press Vs Floor Press

barbell bench press

2. Dumbbell Press 

The dumbbell press is an excellent alternative to a floor press because it gives you a greater range of motion. Using dumbbells lets you bring your arms together above your chest and contract your pectorals more, which helps to stimulate more muscle growth.

Many people prefer the dumbbell press to the barbell press because you can train one side at a time, and it’s easier to keep going until failure without injuring yourself.

You'll need a set of dumbbells and a bench for this exercise. Start by lying with your back on the bench and a dumbbell in each hand. Slowly raise the dumbbells up in the air in line with your chest, pause for a second at the top, and then lower them back down to your chest.

Try to focus on engaging your pectorals throughout the movement and move your arms straight up and down. Start with 8-12 reps per set, but if you feel you can comfortably do more reps, then you should look to increase the weight.

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

Try holding the dumbbells at different angles. This will stimulate even more muscle fibers and allow you to work on your stability and control.

Related Article - Barbell Bench Press Vs Dumbbell Press

dumbbell bench press

3. Dumbbell Flys 

Dumbbell flys are an effective floor press alternative because they involve a more comprehensive range of movement and really stretch your pectorals. This opens up your chest to help you build muscle mass while also increasing your overall flexibility. Many athletes use dumbbell flys as their go-to chest exercise because they help increase strength and mobility in your upper body.

You’ll need dumbbells and a bench for this exercise. Start by laying down with your back on the bench and a dumbbell in each hand. Hold them up above your chest and bend your elbows slightly. Move your shoulders so that the dumbbells move out to either side of you and keep going until they're parallel to the floor.

Pause for a second, and then move them back into the center. You can perform this exercise with very low weight to improve flexibility or high weights to stimulate muscle growth.

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

Don't go too heavy on this movement. Start with a lighter weight and focus on your form. If you lift too heavy, it can cause shoulder stress and joint pain.

Also Check Out - Best Chest Fly Alternatives

dumbbell flys

4. Cable Chest Fly 

Cable chest flys use the exact same movement as a dumbbell fly to target the pectorals in the same way. The advantage of using a cable machine is that there's consistent tension throughout the movement, and your chest has to work harder to perform each rep. This gives you a greater pump and leads to increased chest development.

Start by setting the pulleys on the cable machine to a medium/low height. Stand in front of the machine and grab a handle in each hand. Take a step away from the machine, so there's tension in the cable, and slightly bend your elbows. Move your arms forward and pull the cable away from the machine until your arms are in front of your chest. Pause for a second, and then lower back towards the machine.  

You do need a cable machine for this movement, so it might only be for those working out in a commercial gym. However, this is a good alternative for beginners because there's much less risk of dropping a weight and injuring yourself.  

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

If you bring your hands together up high, you'll activate your upper chest. Bringing your hands together down low will stimulate the middle and lower chest.

Cables Chest Fly

5. Sliding Push-Ups 

Sliding push ups are an effective full-body exercise and a good way to challenge yourself if regular push ups are becoming too easy. They work your pectorals, shoulders, triceps, core, hip flexors, glutes, and hamstrings in one movement, so they're pretty much as compound as you can get.

However, they require a level of coordination at first, so they may not be suitable for beginners. You won’t need any equipment for this exercise, but you will need some old books or dish cloths to use as sliders. 

Start in the push up position with two small sliders  (magazines, books, dishcloths, etc.) underneath your hands. As you lower your torso to the floor, slide your hands out to either side of you.

Pause at the bottom, and then reverse the movement to bring your torso up to starting position and your hands into the middle on the floor. This sliding movement helps shift the focus from your chest to your triceps and makes the bodyweight exercise much harder.

Further Reading - Push Ups Vs Bench Press

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

You don't really need any special equipment for this exercise as a towel will work, but I really like using the Elite Sportz Core Sliders. They're super cheap and effective. Check them out below!

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Sliding Push-Ups

6. Resistance Band Chest Press 

Resistance bands are a cheap and effective piece of equipment that anyone can fit in their home gymRegularly performing resistance band chest press exercises will work as well as floor presses, and they’re great for beginners because they’ll help you improve your press movement.  

Start by securing your resistance bands in place; usually, the best way to do this is to shut one end in a door. Face away from the door, and grab a resistance band in each hand. Take a step forward, so there's some tension, and then press your arms forward around chest height.

Pause at the top, and then slowly let them come back to starting position. Repeat this for 10-14 reps at a time to start with but remember that this movement is about flexibility and strength, rather than gaining a lot of muscle mass.  

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

If you don't have an anchor point for your resistance band, you can lay down flat with the band underneath your middle back.

Read Also - 10 Resistance Band Chest Workouts

Resistance Band Chest Press

7. Incline Bench Press 

An incline bench press is one of the best floor press alternatives because it really pushes your upper chest muscles. It engages your pectorals, deltoids, and triceps in a single movement and helps your chest look visibly bigger. All you'll need is an adjustable bench and a barbell which most home gym owners have access to.  

Start by angling the bench at 45 degrees. Lay back onto the bench and grip the barbell in two hands roughly shoulder-width apart and just below shoulder height. Slowly lower the bar to your chest, pause for a second, and then push it back up to starting position.

Make sure you keep your feet firmly planted on the floor throughout the movement and focus on your pectorals. Aim for 8-12 reps per set, but lower the reps if you’re lifting heavier.

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

This exercise is perfect for adding to a chest and tricep day. It activates both the upper chest and the triceps.

Required Equipment - Best Adjustable Weight Benches

Incline Bench Press

8. Resistance Band Flys 

Many people who work out at home won't have any weights, but for this alternative, you only need a couple of resistance bands. This is all about functional strength and flexibility rather than muscle gain and is a good floor press substitute for beginners. This movement will help with your overall fitness and offers many benefits to your core and lower back.

Start by anchoring your resistance bands. The easiest way to do this is to shut them in a door. Stand facing the opposite way and hold a resistance band in each hand. Bend your arms slightly at the elbow and push forward, pulling the resistance band past your body and in towards your chest.

Pause for a second, and then slowly let your arms go back to starting position. Make sure to keep a bend in your arm throughout the movement, so it’s a fly and not a press motion.

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

Using resistance bands for this exercise allows you to keep constant tension in your chest. If you're stuck at a bench press plateau, this exercise might help you move past it.

See Also - Can You Build Muscle With Resistance Bands?

Resistance Band Fly

9. Breakdance Push Up 

A breakdance push up requires a combination of balance, flexibility, and dynamic strength to perform. It's an effective way to engage your entire body in the movement and build functional strength, which you can then use for your breakdancing if that’s what you love to do! You don't need any equipment, so it's great for those working out at home.

Start in the plank position on the floor and perform a push up. Then, move your left arm across your torso and right leg under your body, so you go into a crab walk position. Hold for a second, and then reverse it, so you're back in the original push up position. Repeat with the other side of your body.  

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

There are endless variations of push ups. The best advice I can give is to experiment with different push up workouts and see what suits you.

Also Check Out - Dips Vs Push Ups

This can be a little tricky to get right at first, so here’s a video so you can see it in action:

10. Wide Grip Push Up 

Wide grip push ups target the outer part of your chest muscles in a very similar way to floor presses. Performing them regularly will help your pectorals look more well-rounded and give you a much broader chest. You don't need any equipment for this exercise, so it's perfect for those working out at home or on the road.  

Start in the push up position with your arms at shoulder height and out as wide as possible. Next, slowly lower your body down until your nose touches the floor, and then push through your chest to raise your torso back up again.

Keep the movement slow and controlled throughout the exercise to maximize the benefits to your chest and triceps. Another exercise that works both the chest and triceps is a dip.

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

One of my favorite ways to enhance this exercise is to add a resistance band. Simply put it behind your back and hold it against the floor with your hands.

Wide Grip Push Up

11. Diamond Push Up 

Diamond push ups are an alternative that help to target your triceps. They also help to work your deltoids, upper back, and core as they stabilize you throughout the movement. This is another great substitute for those working out from home because there’s no equipment needed.  

Start in the push up position on the floor but with your hands close together and crossed in a diamond shape. Slowly lower your torso down as low to the floor as you can get it, pause for a second at the bottom, and then push back upwards. You should feel the burn in your triceps after just a few reps.  

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

If you can't quite perform a perfect diamond push up, put your hands as close together as possible and complete as many reps as you can.

Also Check Out - Diamond Push Up Benefits

Diamond Push Ups

12. Tate Press 

The Tate press focuses the energy on the lockout, which is the top 1/3 of the movement. This puts the strain on your triceps rather than your chest, helping you to build much stronger arms than performing floor presses alone. Having stronger triceps will also make other bench press movements a lot easier to perform. You’ll need a bench and a set of dumbbells for this exercise.

Start by lying with your back on the bench and a dumbbell in each hand. Raise them up above you, so your arms are almost fully outstretched, and then bend at the elbows, so the dumbbells go down towards your chest.

Once they touch your chest, pause for a second, and then raise them back upwards until your elbows are locked again. Try to keep the movement consistent on both sides of your body so that you train both arms equally. You should aim for 6-8 reps at first, increasing weight as you become comfortable with the movement.

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

This exercise is an iso-lateral movement, which means it's great for ironing out chest muscle imbalances.

Tate Press

13. Standing Cable Chest Press 

The standing cable chest press is popular with lifters of all levels because it's simple but effective. The cables provide constant tension on your pectorals throughout the movement so that they're under strain and working harder. You do need a cable machine for this exercise, so it may not be suitable for those working out at home.  

Start with the pulleys at shoulder level and stand facing away from the machine. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, grab a handle in each hand, and take a step away from the machine to add tension to the cable.

Raise your elbows to shoulder level and press the cables forward, bringing them into the middle of your chest. Hold for a second, and then slowly move your arms back to starting position.  

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

This exercise is similar to a cable chest fly, but for this one, you should be focused on the pressing motion rather than the fly motion.

Suggested Equipment - XMark Functional Trainer Review

Standing Cable Chest Press

14. Alternating Exercise Ball Chest Press 

Exercise balls are typically used to improve your balance by forcing your core to constantly readjust to provide stability. This alternative exercise benefits your core and lower back as well as your chest to give you more benefits than a regular floor press. Alternating the chest press also helps you target one side at a time for greater gains. You’ll need an exercise ball and dumbbells for this movement.  

Start by lying with your back on the exercise ball and a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your head, shoulders, and upper back on the ball, with your torso straight and feet on the floor.

Bend your arms at 90 degrees in line with your shoulders, and then push one arm straight upwards. Pause at the top, and then lower the weights back down to chest height. Repeat the movement with the arm, so you work both sides evenly.  

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

This exercise is excellent for increasing your stability and blasting your core. It takes a lot of core strength to stabilize yourself on an exercise ball while doing a chest press.

Alternating Exercise Ball Chest Press

15. Chest Dips 

One of the most effective functional exercises to develop a strong chest and triceps is the chest dip. It’s a compound movement that helps you to build muscle in your chest, arms, shoulders, and back, giving you a stronger physique. They also help to improve your flexibility and lower any risk of injury.  

You’ll need some kind of bars on either side of you for this movement. Many commercial gyms will have a dip machine, but you can also use equipment in your local park, or buy a dips bar.

Grab one bar with each hand and lift your whole weight, so it's being supported by your upper body. Slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself down until your chest gets to the height of the bar. Pause for a second, and then raise yourself back up until your arms are fully extended.  

This is a difficult movement that will be tough for beginners, and you may need to build up your strength before you try it. 

Garage Gym Pro Tip!

If you lean your body forward for this exercise, you'll target your chest. However, if you remain upright, you'll activate your triceps.

Suggested Equipment - 8 Best Dips Bars For Home Gyms

Chest Dips

Benefits Of Substitute Exercises Over Regular Floor Press 

Performing the floor press movement regularly will help you build a strong chest. These alternative exercises all focus on the same areas and will help you to target your pectorals, triceps, and deltoids so you can develop a strong upper body. They also offer a few key advantages to regular floor presses: 

Greater Range Of Motion 

When performing a floor press, your movement is limited by the floor underneath your arms. This means you can't stretch and engage your pectorals or triceps as effectively, and this means your body isn't working as hard. Ultimately, this means that these alternative exercises will help you become stronger.  

More Targeted 

Floor presses will engage your chest, but they also put some strain on your core. This is generally a good thing, but many of these substitute exercises take everything except your chest and triceps out of the equation. This allows you to focus on these muscle groups and build leaner muscle.

Can Be Performed Anywhere 

A floor press doesn’t need much equipment, but not every floor will be suitable to perform them on, and you won't always have access to dumbbells. Several of these floor press alternatives only use your body weight so you can perform them anywhere, regardless of what equipment you have to hand.  

Related Article - Basic Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

Able To Mix It Up 

Your body responds more effectively when you mix up your routine and challenge your muscles. By incorporating these substitute exercises into your workout, you can help to maximize the benefits and build greater functional strength compared to performing floor presses alone.  


Frequently Asked Floor Press Questions 

Is the floor press effective for building muscle? 

Yes, the floor press can build effective muscle in your pectorals and triceps, but it is less effective than many of the alternative exercises on this list which allow you a greater range of motion and more significant muscle gains. 

Why is the floor press harder than the bench? 

With a floor press, your arms remain on the ground throughout the movement, which removes a lot of the elastic energy. This makes the lift noticeable harder than a regular bench press.

What major muscles are worked with floor press alternatives? 

Floor press alternatives all primarily target your pectorals and triceps, but many engage your deltoids and core too.  

What is the best exercise on our list for beginners? 

A dumbbell bench press is a great exercise to do as a beginner because it gets you used to the press motion and can help you gain significant muscle. You should start with light weights and focus on form until you feel comfortable with the movement 


Conclusion

A floor press is an effective movement, but it isn’t always the best way to build a strong chest. These alternative exercises all target the same muscle groups and can give you even better results.

Plus, most of them can be performed at home or in the gym, so you can work out wherever is best for you. Hopefully you’ve found a few good options to try in your next chest session.