The floor press is a good exercise for developing a strong upper body and it's ideal for those with a shoulder injury. I will always give my clients a floor press if they have shoulder issues and need to shorten the range of motion.

This does also limit the amount of chest muscle recruitment, so there are better exercises that can increase the range.

For whatever reason you have been doing floor press and are ready for some new and exciting variations, keep reading as I introduce the best barbell floor press alternative exercises. 

The barbell floor press is great for developing a strong chest, but it isn't suitable for everyone to perform.

You are also limited by a barbell floor press as you either need to get the weight up there or you need a suitable squat rack where you can set up closer to the floor.

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.  Let's get straight into the 15 top floor press variations. 

1. Barbell Bench Press 

man doing barbell bench press exercise

The barbell bench press is considered one of the vital exercises for people of all abilities and the closest floor press variation.

It is one of the most effective compound lifts that targets your chest, triceps, and deltoids and helps you build muscle mass across your whole chest.

A barbell bench press also strengthens your upper back and shoulders so that your whole body becomes more functional and promotes better posture.

Barbell bench press variations include a decline bench press and an incline bench press.


  • The best compound exercise for improving pressing strength.
  • Can be loaded with heavier weight.
  • One of the most effective exercises for increasing upper body strength.

How To Do a Barbell Bench Press:

  1. Start by laying down with your back flat on the bench. 
  2. Grip the barbell with your hands slightly over shoulder-width apart, and slowly lower it down to your chest.
  3. Pause for a second at the bottom, and then push it back up to the starting position.
  4. Try to keep the barbell level with your chest throughout the movement and keep the barbell motion controlled to maximize the benefits.
  5. This exercise is a great floor press alternative that will help you build strength more quickly 

Tips From A Trainer!

If you want to add even more variety to your bench press, try switching up your bench press grip placement. Bring your hands closer together to do a close grip bench press to target your inner chest and triceps. 

2. Dumbbell Press 

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


  • Improves muscular endurance.
  • Helps balance out the two sides of the body.
  • Allows for full range of motion.

How To Do A Dumbbell Press:

  1. Start by lying with your back on the bench and a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. 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.
  3. Try to focus on engaging your pectorals throughout the movement and move your arms straight up and down.
  4. 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.

Tips From A Trainer!

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

3. Dumbbell Flys 

man doing dumbbell flys in the gym

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 which is a win-win!

If you don't have the necessary equipment to perform this exercise, or you might want to try something else, you can check out chest fly alternatives.


  • Helps open up the chest but stretching the pec muscles when arms are reached out.
  • Isolates the upper pec muscle. 
  • Strong chest muscles help support the shoulder joint which plays a role in lifting and every day movement.

How To Do A Dumbbell Fly:

  1. You’ll need dumbbells and a bench for this exercise. 
  2. Start by laying down with your back on the bench and a dumbbell in each hand, in a neutral grip (palms facing towards each other).
  3. Hold them up above your chest and bend your elbows slightly.
  4. Move your shoulders so that the dumbbells move out to either side of you and keep going until they're parallel to the floor.
  5. Pause for a second when you arms are extended, and then move them back into the center.
  6. You can perform this exercise with very low weight to improve flexibility or high weights to stimulate muscle growth.

Tips From A Trainer!

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. 

4. Cable Chest Fly 

Man Doing Cable Chest Flys

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.

You only need light weight when doing a fly exercise. 


  • Using the cables provides more time under tension which increases muscle size.
  • Improves posture.
  • Good for muscular imbalances.

How To Do A Cable Chest Fly:

  1. Start by setting the pulleys on the cable machine to a medium/low height.
  2. Stand in front of the machine and grab a handle in each hand.
  3. Take a step away from the machine, so there's tension in the cable, and slightly bend your elbows. 
  4. Lean slightly forwards and move your arms forward and pull the cable away from the machine until your arms are in front of your chest.
  5. Pause for a second with your arms extended, and then lower back towards the machine. 
  6. Repeat for 10-12 reps. 

Tips From A Trainer!

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. 

5. Sliding Push-Ups 

Man Doing 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.

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. 

Press alternatives such as this one are great for challenging balance and core strength.


  • Builds stronger and more stable shoulders.
  • Slides are cheap and you can do this exercise easily from home.
  • Works you core muscles. 

How To Do A Sliding Push-Up:

  1. Start in the push up position with two small sliders  (magazines, books, dishcloths, etc.) underneath your hands. 
  2. As you lower your torso to the floor, slide your hands out to either side of you.
  3. 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. 

Tips From A Trainer!

You don't really need any special equipment for this exercise as a towel will work just fine.

Related Article - Push Ups Vs Bench Press

6. Resistance Band Chest Press 

Woman Doing Resistance Band Chest Press Exercise

Resistance bands are a cheap and effective piece of equipment that anyone can fit in their home gym

Regularly 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.  


  • Resistance bands are cheap and accessible for everyone.
  • Great exercise for beginners.
  • Improves posture. 

How To Do A Resistance Band Chest Press:

  1. 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.
  2. Take a step forward, so there's some tension, and then press your arms forward around chest height.
  3. Pause at the top, and then slowly let them come back to starting position.
  4. Repeat this for 10-14 reps. 

Tips From A Trainer!

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

7. Incline Bench Press 

Man Doing Incline Bench Press In The Gym

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.  However, if you don't have access to this equipment, you can try incline bench press alternatives.


  • Builds strength and size to the chest.
  • Can go much heavier with the barbell than dumbbells.
  • Increases shoulder strength.

How To Do An Incline Bench Press:

  1. Start by angling the bench at 45 degrees. 
  2. Lay back onto the bench and grip the barbell in two hands roughly shoulder-width apart and just below shoulder height.
  3. Slowly lower the bar to your chest, pause for a second, and then push it back up to starting position.
  4. Make sure you keep your feet firmly planted on the floor throughout the movement and focus on your pectorals.
  5. Aim for 8-12 reps per set, but lower the reps if you’re lifting heavier.

Tips From A Trainer!

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

8. Resistance Band Flys 

Man Doing Resistance Band Fly Exercise

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 floor press alternative exercise will help with your overall fitness and offers many benefits to your core and lower back.


  • Can be done at home or when traveling.
  • You can easily modify the resistance.
  • Great choice for beginners or as a rehab exercise. 

How To Do A Resistance Band Fly:

  1. Start by anchoring your resistance bands. The easiest way to do this is to shut them in a door.
  2. Stand facing the opposite way and hold a resistance band in each hand.
  3. Bend your arms slightly at the elbow and push forward, pulling the resistance band past your body and in towards your chest.
  4. Pause for a second, and then slowly let your arms go back to starting position.
  5. Make sure to keep a bend in your arm throughout the movement, so it’s a fly and not a press motion.

Tips From A Trainer!

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. 

9. Breakdance Push Up 

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

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.


  • Improves balance, coordination and body awareness.
  • Full body workout.
  • Fun and challenging way to get stronger.

How To Do A Breakdance Push Up:

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

Tips From A Trainer!

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. 

10. Wide Grip Push Up 

Man Doing Wide-Grip Push-Ups

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.  


  • Effectively strengthens the chest, shoulders and upper arms.
  • Strengthens your core.
  • Accessible to anyone and can be modified to suit beginners by doing it from a raised position.

How To Do A Wide Grip Push Up:

  1. Start in the push up position with your arms at shoulder height and out as wide as possible.
  2. 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.
  3. Keep the movement slow and controlled throughout the exercise to maximize the benefits to your chest and triceps.

Tips From A Trainer!

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. 

11. Diamond Push Up 

Man Doing Diamond Push Ups Outdoors

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 a floor press for those working out from home because there’s no equipment needed and diamond push ups offer a range of benefits.


  • Great for building strength in the triceps and upper arms.
  • Overall strengthens the upper body.
  • Can be done at home or whilst traveling. 

How To Do A Diamond Push Up:

  1. Start in a push up on the floor but with your hands close together and crossed in a diamond shape.
  2. Slowly lower your torso down as low to the floor as you can go.
  3. Pause for a second at the bottom, and then push back upwards. 

Tips From A Trainer!

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. 

12. Tate Press 

Woman Doing 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.


  • Develops strong triceps.
  • Carry's over to better pressing strength.
  • Allows for deeper range of motion. 

How To Do A Tate Press:

  1. Start by lying with your back on the bench and a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. 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.
  3. Once they touch your chest, pause for a second, and then raise them back upwards until your elbows are locked again.
  4. Try to keep the movement consistent on both sides of your body so that you train both arms equally.
  5. You should aim for 6-8 reps at first, increasing weight as you become comfortable with the movement.

Tips From A Trainer!

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

13. Standing Cable Chest Press 

Man Doing 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.  


  • Isolates the chest muscles and build strength and size.
  • Great for improving muscular imbalances. 
  • Increased core engagement.

How To Do A Standing Cable Chest Press:

  1. Start with the pulleys at shoulder level and stand facing away from the machine.
  2. 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.
  3. Raise your elbows to shoulder level and press the cables forward, bringing them into the middle of your chest.
  4.  Hold for a second, and then slowly move your arms back to starting position.

Tips From A Trainer!

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

14. Alternating Exercise Ball Chest Press 

Woman Doing 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 dumbbell press also helps you target one side at a time for greater gains. 


  • The stability ball promotes more core engagement.
  • By doing this one side at a time, you can address weaknesses better because one side can't compensate. 
  • Builds better posture and balance. 

How To Do An Alternating Exercise Ball Chest Press:

  1. Start by lying with your back on the exercise ball and a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Keep your head, shoulders, and upper back on the ball, with your torso straight and feet on the floor.
  3. Bend your arms at 90 degrees in line with your shoulders, and then push one arm straight upwards.
  4. Pause at the top, and then lower the weights back down to chest height. 
  5. Repeat the movement with the arm, so you work both sides evenly.  

Tips From A Trainer!

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. 

15. Chest Dips 

Man Doing Chest Dips Exercise

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.

If you don't have the necessary equipment to do this exercise, you can try out chest dips alternatives.

Related Article - Best Dips Bars For Home Gyms


  • Challenging bodyweight exercise that provide sense of achievement.
  • Effective for building overall upper body strength. 
  • Can be modified to make easier and progressed as you get stronger with this exercise. 

How To Do A Chest Dip:

  1. Grab one bar with each hand and lift your whole weight, so it's being supported by your upper body. 
  2. 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.  
  3. This is a difficult movement that will be tough for beginners, and you may need to build up your strength before you try it. 

Tips From A Trainer!

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

Benefits Of Substitute Exercises Over Regular Floor Press

Performing the floor press exercise regularly will help you build a strong chest. These alternative floor press 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. Thy also offer a few key advantages than 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.[1] Ultimately, this means that these alternative exercises will help you become stronger.[2]

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.  

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 


A floor press is an effective movement, but it isn’t always the best way to build a strong chest due to the reduced range of motion and being limited by weight. Ideal for those with shoulder injuries, those who don't have this issue are best doing a normal bench press.

These floor press alternatives all target the same muscle groups and can give you even better results.




Jo Taylor

Jo Taylor

Hi, I’m Jo. I love sunrise swims, cold water immersion and cats. I have been dedicated to strength training for the past 14 years. I became a qualified Personal Trainer in 2020, and am passionate about helping my clients get stronger. Visit Jo Taylors Website