Being on the floor is how you learned to move around as a baby and returning to the floor will help you get stronger. Exercising on the floor provides you with stability, instant feedback, and a reduced range of motion with some exercises.
Reduced ROM is ideal when pain in certain positions is an issue.
Floor exercises cover a wide area that includes core training and crawling to the Turkish Get-Up. But the floor exercises below are the ones I believe will help improve and get stronger safely so you can crush it in and out of the gym.
Ready to get down on the floor? Then let’s go.
The pullover deadbug is part core exercise and part strength exercise. The lower back and your anterior core will remain stable as you’re moving your arms and legs. Then offset nature of the kettlebell combined with the deadbug further strengthens your core, shoulders, and lats. The pullover is good exercise for the chest and lats while strengthening your core and low back
Pullover Deadbug Programing Suggestion
Take a deep breath in before starting, exhale and extend your leg, and lower the kettlebell slowly behind you. Having a slight bend in your elbows keeps them safe. Let your core stability and shoulder mobility decide your overhead range of motion. The moment you feel your back come off the ground, stop and reset. Pairing this exercise with a movement that demands core stability and a neutral spine works well. For example:
1A. Squat Variation
1B. Pullover Deadbug 6-8 reps per leg
Unilateral Dumbbell Floor Press
The dumbbell floor press reduces the range of motion, and this makes it a great triceps and chest builder from the safety of the floor. Here you’ll receive no assistance from your lower body which will increase the strength of your chest and triceps. This floor exercise will engage your core and shoulder stabilizers due to the offset load. Plus, it’s a shoulder saver because it eliminates the lower half of the press where the shoulder can get hurt.
Unilateral Dumbbell Floor Press Programming Suggestion
Grip the dumbbell tight and keep the elbow around 45 degrees from your side. Touch your upper arm to the ground at the start of each rep and reach the dumbbell towards the sky at the end of each rep. Having your feet on the floor makes this exercise easier than having your legs fully extended but it is a matter of personal preference. Pairing the floor press with a side plank gives your shoulders and core the extra love they need. For example:
1A. Floor Press 8-12 reps on each side
1B. Side Plank Variation 30 seconds on each side
Mini Band Leopard Crawl
Crawling may make you look like a child, but the mini band leopard crawl ties together your hips, core, and shoulders all in one move. This ingrains your natural contra lateral movement (opposite arm/opposite leg) pattern needed for walking, running, and sprinting. Adding the mini band to the crawl strengthens your shoulders and lats while the hip position strengthens your hip flexors and quads. It’s the real deal no matter how childlike it looks. 😊
Mini Band Leopard Crawl Programming Suggestion
Keeping a neutral spine is needed or else this negates the core strengthening benefits and puts your lower back at risk. Start with your knees above hips, hands underneath shoulders, and keep your head up as you take small steps forward and back. Pairing this with another floor exercise like the floor press means you don’t have to get up. For example:
1A. Mini Band Leopard Crawl 20 step forwards and backward
1B. Unilateral Dumbbell Floor Press 8-12 reps on each side
Single Leg Hip Extension Hamstring Curl
The single-leg hip extension hamstring curl strengthens your hamstrings both as hip extensors and knee flexors. Because of the stability ball, your stabilization demands increase, making your muscles of the hips and hamstrings work harder without weight. If you want some baby got back, this exercise will help
Single Leg Hip Extension Hamstring Curl Programming Suggestion
Put your foot on top of the stability ball with the other leg bent and dig your heel into the ball. Then squeeze your working glute to flatten your lower back. Come up into a single-leg hip extension and curl the ball towards you till your foot is flat on the ball and your body is in a straight line from hips to shoulders. Paring this with another floor exercise means you can enjoy the comfort of the floor a little longer. For example:
1A. Single Leg Hip Extension Hamstring Curl 6-8 on each side
1B. Pullover Deadbug 6 on each side
You probably don’t think training on the floor will get you stronger but with these four-floor exercises, you’ll get stronger and look better in the mirror. Maybe the baby you were was on to something all those years ago.