The Best Bench Press Variation You’re Not Doing
This post is part of our Coaches Corner series with Taylor Rimmer. Taylor is NSCA-CPT, StrongFirst SFG 1, and owner of Revive the Human in Longmont, Colorado, and has been a Bridge customer since 2019.
How do you bench press with no bench?
For most trainers and coaches, the obvious answer is the floor press.
While the floor press is a fine choice, it’s not without its drawbacks. The exercise forces a limited range of motion since the elbows can’t travel past the body. The floor press also elicits less leg drive and reduced core activation compared to a traditional bench press. The move’s functional carryover to both life and sport leaves much to be desired.
A far better alternative?
The Bridged Floor Press
The Bridged Floor Press is essentially a floor press with your hips bridged off the ground. This position makes it a more full-body movement, incorporating your core and glutes, while also allowing for a significantly larger range of motion than a typical floor press.
“The Bridged Floor Press is a move I’ve programmed a lot lately. It’s extremely safe — you don’t need a spotter. And as far as applications to other lifts, you really see people’s leg drive and full-body tension in the conventional bench press improve from training the Bridged Floor Press. Even for powerlifters, it’s got really good carryover” says Taylor Rimmer.
Major benefits of the move include:
- Makes the bench press a true full-body exercise
- Allows for greater range of motion than a typical floor press
- Offers the ability to use loads comparable to (if not greater than) the floor press
- Elicits greater core and posterior chain activation compared to the floor and bench press
- Can help improve leg drive during the traditional bench press
- Offers an extremely safe way to train the bench press with no spotter
How to Perform the Bridged Floor Press
- Load the barbell with your desired weight. If you do not have a rack, you’ll need to use either bumper plates or at least one iron 45-pound plate on each side of the bar. This will ensure you have proper clearance to get underneath the barbell and won’t get pinned by a failed rep.
- Lie down and roll the bar until it’s right on top of your hip bone. Set a firm grip on the barbell and pinch your shoulder blades underneath you.
- Plant both feet on the ground as you prepare to enter a bridge position.
- Inhale, then forcefully exhale as you drive the hips into a bridge position. The barbell will naturally shift back a bit.
- The start position for each rep: barbell at sternum, wrists are neutral, elbows are on the ground roughly 45 degrees relative to the torso, and hip extensors (namely the glutes and hamstrings) are activated.
- Forcefully exhale as you drive the barbell up.
- Pull the barbell back down to your sternum. Repeat for desired repetitions.
- When you’re done with your set, brace your abs and lower your hips back to the ground until the weight plates are firmly on the floor. You can then roll the barbell away from you.
Exercises like the Bridged Floor Press — along with moves like the Zercher Squat — have been extremely valuable tools for clients who do not have access to a full gym.
Taylor Rimmer, owner of Revive the Human supports both a physical location as well as an online training platform. BridgeAthletic allows Rimmer to easily deliver deeply-customized programs to clients anywhere. With the huge library of video demos, he's able to easily and safely train with custom workout programs that are tailored to his client's specific needs. Bridge even tracks your progress, making it easy to monitor your progress and make changes as needed.
“Bridge is a game-changer. Our programs have evolved way beyond the basic ‘3 x 8-10 reps’ — our methodologies are deeper than that and we write more detailed programs. Bridge makes it simple.
“I could go on forever — from being able to work on programs anywhere to being able to easily check in with clients, it’s just funny how much time I was wasting before I had Bridge.”
In conclusion, if you're looking for an effective way to work on your bench press without a bench, the Bridged Floor Press is an excellent alternative. With its full-body movement and the ability to use loads comparable to (if not greater than) the floor press, it offers numerous benefits to your training program.
Start a free trial on the Bridge app today and add this powerful exercise — along with thousands of others included in the Exos video library — to your next program.