I recently bought a cheap bench and just set it up. You get what you pay for I guess: the construction is quite flimsy. Furthermore the bench seems just a bit too high off the ground. As such when I lay back on it my feet are hovering above the ground rather than being firmly planted on it.

I was wondering if there are any health risks, or whether it will lead to bad technique if I perform bench presses while my feet are not touching the ground? I should also note that the bench itself is not stable on the "side-to-side" axis - not to the point where the whole bench will topple over, but at least to the point where it may rock side to side just a tad.

edit: If it's relevant, I am doing dumbbell bench presses, not a press with a long bar.

  • In common it's not dangerous, there are variation of doing bench press with our feet are up - you got less one toehold point, so suppose to concentrate on our chest more. Nov 21, 2017 at 11:36
  • But I got some doubts, actually, so Nov 21, 2017 at 11:44
  • note: my weights arrived today. I eagerly gave them a test run on my new bench and I couldn't detect any abnormal, uncomfortable pain or problems. However I'm not a fitness expert. The question still stands Nov 22, 2017 at 5:19

2 Answers 2


There are plenty of articles and forum threads that explain why it's better to bench press with your feet stable on the ground, and the keys are always stability and tension. A quote from one of them:

If your feet are in the air, you're less stable, which means you're less likely to produce any significant tension, which results in reduced force production.

I haven't found information about bench pressing this way being dangerous. I assume it's possible if you really lose stability yet refuse to drop the dumbbells, which is not something that most of us would do.

Anyway, it's pretty easy to solve this - just get some wooden/plastic piece to put your feet on.


When I was bench pressing for competition, it was well known that we needed to keep the feet on the ground and the back arched to exert maximum force, but we have special weightlifter suits that keep our body very compact, a bit like a lifting belt would.

But when you lift for training reasons, the back should not be arched, as this would not allow for the best isolation of the chest muscle and could cause lower back pain.

If you try it, you will notice that with your feet on the bench or your knees over your chest, you will be able to lift less then with your feet on the ground, but the isolation is better and you will feel the lift a lot more, that is a qualitative lift.

When you are then able to raise the amount of weight you lift, in comparison with another person that does it with his feet on the ground, should you put your feet on the ground like them, you can lift more or with less effort.

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