Using The Gym Floor For More
The gym floor might seem like something you rest your drink on, put your bench on, place your weights down on, or even the mat when you are doing abs, but what about when doing a weight workout? Using the hard surface you can incorporate a workout that is both safer and possibly harder than using other equipment you would normally use.
When using the floor for a workout it is plain to know that we are talking about only one plane of movement (see what i did there?) By plane of movement this means lying down on the floor either facing up or down. Now we all know exercises like press ups and sit ups, but you can use the floor to do other exercises like a bench press for example!
Let's take the bench press (and similar chest exercises) as a brilliant example. Usually one uses a bench (hence the name!) for this exercise. There are some people who like to overload on this exercise and so can damage themselves when bringing the weights down after a certain repetition. The damage is done if the gym goer lets the weights down too much and overextends the chest muscle which can lead to stretched and torn muscles which hurt! To solve this you could go down a weight class and do it that way, OR you can go down a tiny bit and use the floor! The reason is that with the floor you cannot overextend as you will simply rest your elbows on the floor rather than letting them go down and down and oh no! So safety is improved there.
As for making an exercise harder, let's stick with the bench press as the example. When you rest your elbows on the floor you essentially rest the chest muscles slightly as you have found external resistance to help. To do the next repetition you have to re-fire the motor neurons in your body to lift again, thereby making the process slightly more difficult than the usual way of going into the next repetition of a bench press as you are still clenched and overlapping from one to the other. It also means you can't really shortcut your repetitions as you have to touch the floor before you can go to the next one.
Now there has to be an asterisk to this sort of exercise. If you are on a bench and you are done with your set you just drop the weights but on the floor you have to place them down just in case you drop the weights on yourself. With this comes the next benefit of a floor exercises; it teaches you to keep a bit of strength left to put weights down sensibly. The reason that is this a benefit is because injuries can stem from over-exertion during a set and then putting a weight down can actually do damage to muscles, or the dumbbell/barbell itself. Improving your safety and to those around you is always a good thing.
Exercises that can benefit from using the floor instead of a bench are numerous. Overhead reaches with a weight can be great as you can rest the weight on the floor behind your head in order to make sure you are doing a full range in your repetition. Dumbbell flies on the floor are fantastic also. Weighted jack knife exercises are actually much better and safer on the floor as well. There are so many exercises which you can just use the floor for!
Using the floor instead of a bench for example can improve range of movement, enhance the action of firing up motor neurons, improve safety in the repetition, improve safety at the end of a set and reduce the necessity for more equipment if the gym is busy! The benefits are endless. Use them!