Last updated on November 6th, 2022 at 03:23 pm
Who else wants to know, “Can You Bench Press on a Bed?”
Unfortunately, you don’t have access to a bench, but you still want to bench press.
The first thing that most of us think of is benching on our bed.
Seems perfectly reasonable, doesn’t it?
However, is using your bed really a viable option and can you still build muscle and strength?
Allow me to answer these questions for you now.
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Can You Bench Press on a Bed?
You definitely can bench press on a bed. You won’t be able to go through the full range of motion, as you can’t get your elbows lower than your body. However, this is actually easier on the shoulders, something to consider if you’ve previously had shoulder injuries. Plus, You can target the triceps better, which is ideal in improving the lockout phase of the bench press. If your bed is extremely soft you would be better benching from the floor. Then again, a Swiss ball is a much cheaper alternative to a bench.
1. You Won’t Get Full Range of Motion
So, you’ve got access to a barbell, dumbbells, and additional weight plates, but no bench.
And like most of us you want to bench press.
Your bed is definitely one option.
The main difference with benching on your bed is that you won’t be going through the full range of motion.
In effect, you can’t take your elbows lower than your body, so the barbell (or dumbbells) won’t come all the way down to your chest.
Therefore, with the limited range of motion you won’t get exactly the same size and strength gains as regular benching.
With that being said, you can still pack on considerable muscle and build strength at the same time.
Furthermore, this is also far easier on your shoulders, which is ideal if you’ve suffered from shoulder injuries in the past.
You’ll also find the bed bench press (or non-bench bench press) targets your triceps far better than the traditional method.
This is actually a great benefit, as it allows you to power through the lockout phase of the movement.
It’s the lockout phase that many of us struggle with, so stronger triceps will definitely help.
2. The Floor May Be a Better Option
The floor press is a “real” exercise, whether you have access to a bench or not.
In fact, you’ll often see lifters drop to the floor in the gym and perform a few reps/sets of presses.
If you’re working out at home the floor press could be a better option for you.
The reason I say this is that your bed may be too soft.
Basically, you find yourself sinking into a hole where you lay down.
Then again, perhaps you have an old mattress, so you’ll need to be on the lookout for bumps, or even a stray bed spring.
Additionally, depending on the size of your bed your feet might not be in contact with the floor.
Unfortunately, this will place a lot of stress on the lower back, which is the last thing you want.
So, if you have ample floor space, I would always recommend the floor over your bed.
3. Use Chest Exercise Variations
One of the main issues you’re likely to face when using your bed (or the floor) to bench press is that you’ll be limited on the amount of weight you can use.
And no, I don’t mean that you haven’t got enough weight plates.
In the gym environment the bench press area will typically have a rack.
So, you can load up the bar with a suitable weight before performing your reps.
Due to the additional safety element you will generally be benching a lot more weight.
I accept that this is also an issue if you do have a bench at home.
Obviously, most of us don’t have a bench rack in the bedroom.
But, as I say, you’ll be limited to how much weight you can bench simply due to the fact of how you’re going to get the weight into position, plus the additional safety concerns.
This is why I think it’s better to use a variety of chest exercises when you use your bed.
You’ll probably be looking at a higher-rep and higher-volume workout anyway.
So, why not use a number of different chest-focused exercises.
You can perform the standard bench press, dumbbell presses, flyes, and one-handed chest presses.
You can also perform pullovers with a single dumbbell from your bed.
Okay, pullovers are often seen as more of a lat exercise, but there is definitely some chest involvement there too.
So, get creative with what you have available to you.
At Home Dumbbell Chest Workout With No Bench
4. Superset With Push Ups
Let’s not forget the humble push up if you’re working out at home.
Firstly, it’s an extremely similar movement pattern to the bench press.
A standard push up will see you pushing 64% of your bodyweight, and this increases to 75% for the decline push up.
So, in a home gym environment this may be equal, or even more, than the weight you’re bench pressing from your bed.
You could also try a superset to really get that blood flowing through both your pecs and triceps.
Depending on the weight you have available, plus your strength and muscular abilities you could even try a 10 to 1 descending ladder.
10 reps of bed bench press, 10 reps of push ups, 9 reps of each, 8 reps of each, all the way down to one.
If you’re able, try to do this as one unbroken, no rest, descending ladder workout.
You can also make push ups more difficult by stretching a resistance band over your back.
Just remember that there are plenty of ways to work the chest other than simply bench (or bed) pressing.
5. Use a Swiss Ball
If a bench isn’t in your budget, but you wish to perform a more traditional bench press movement then a Swiss ball could provide the answer.
A basic Swiss ball will cost no more than $10-30 dollars.
Plus, this allows you to take your elbows below body level.
Furthermore, the lack of stability will make your core work so much harder than the standard bench press.
Once again, you could perform a variety of chest exercises with the addition of a Swiss ball.
You can go through your repertoire of bench press, dumbbell chest press, One-arm dumbbell chest press, flyes, pullovers, and even some decline push ups.
I’m not saying that your bed isn’t adequate for performing the bench press, but there are certainly some better options out there.
Swiss Ball Dumbbell Chest Press
Yes, you can indeed bench press on a bed.
Just be aware that this will limit your range of motion.
However, this will actually make the “bed press” easier on the shoulders, and it will fire up your triceps much more as well.
Personally, I would rather use the floor, or even a Swiss ball, but I see nothing wrong with using your bed.
You should also use a variety of exercises to work your chest from different angles, and of course don’t forget what a great exercise the push up is.
And here’s another “alternative” bench press read for you, discover what I have to say about how to bench press a person.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.