Larsen Press – What is it? + (How To)

What is Larsen Press? How to do this exercise?

Regarding ranking the upper body exercises, barbell bench presses are undisputedly number one. Bodybuilders perform this exercise to enhance their pectoral strengths. Powerlifters and regular gym goers also utilize bench presses to attain a well-sculpted body.

Although bench presses have many benefits, overusing it can stall your fitness progress. For this purpose, it’s recommended to involve a variety of movements that help the muscles grow and get robust.

Larsen Press is a bench press variation considered one of the best chest-building exercises. It involves different body angles alongside various hand grips and training tools like dumbbells, kettlebells, and machines. The main distinction is the position of the Larsen press, which is more effective than the typical competition-style bench press that emphasizes the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Even world-renowned bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger utilized this feet-up exercise during his golden era of bodybuilding.

This article will discuss the correct way to perform Larsen Press, its advantages, alternatives, and variations.

Let’s get started.

Larsen Press – Why Is It Called This?

Adrian Larsen, a well-known bench press specialist in powerlifting, is the founder of the Larsen Press. Adrian was born with club feet and a dislocated hip, due to which he had to undergo many corrective surgeries at a young age.

Growing up, he developed an interest in sports and started weightlifting to excel in sports. Soon after this, Larsen started competing in a powerlifting competition, and the rest is history.

Adrian Larsen has won multiple competitions in his powerlifting career. Some of the most notable ones include:

  • 220-lb all-time bench press world record
  • Benching 700 lb. in a competition.

Let’s learn about the perks of the secret weapon for bench press gains, Larsen Press.

5 Benefits of Larsen Press

Consider the following Larsen press benefits and add this exceptional chest-building exercise to your workout regimen.

1. Increased Muscle Involvement

Many studies show that doing the Larsen press with the feet off the ground allows many muscle groups to engage actively. It proves more beneficial for mass muscle-building than regular bench presses.

2. Enhances Stability

Performing the Larsen press improves stability and control because with your feet in the air, you focus more on balancing yourself. No additional support from the legs also plays a vital role in enhancing shoulder mobility.

3. More Force without Involving Legs

Since the Larsen press doesn’t involve the legs, all the force required for lifting weights must be produced by the upper body.

Therefore, this bench press variation heightens the lifter’s awareness of poor force production with the upper body and, thus, improves.

4. Simplifies the Bench Press

Larson press simplifies the bench press as you don’t have to pay attention to maintaining a correct leg form.

Instead, the Larsen press adds more challenge to the simple bench press without putting in more weight or using bands and chains.

5. Tight Backness

As the Larsen press is a chest-building exercise, it also works on the upper back because when your feet are raised, you must be mindful of your back and shoulder’s stability and tightness to keep a solid form.

What Muscles Are Worked On In Larsen Press?

Since the Larsen press is a compound exercise, it involves the movement of several muscle groups, including:

Pectoralis major

The large fan-shaped muscle in front of the chest is responsible for adduction, horizontal flexion, and medical rotation of the shoulders.

Triceps brachii

Also called the triceps, this muscle is present on the back of the upper arm.


Muscles located near the midsection are collectively called the core. Larson press strengthens the core and stabilizes the body to prevent it from wobbling.

Anterior deltoid

It also plays a part in the election of the shoulder joint.

How to Do a Larsen Press?

Follow the guidelines to minimize the risk of injury when doing Larsen presses.

Also, use a spotter for this bench press variation and incorporate safety bars and power racks.

  1. Lie flat on the bench with your face facing upwards. Place a barbell over your chest and hold them with an overhand grip, slightly wider than the shoulder-width. Use full grip instead of just using the thumbs.
  2. Tighten your core while pulling back the shoulders.
  3. While straightening your legs, lift your feet. Place them at a higher level. It is an essential step since its the fundamental to Larsen Press.
  4. Next, lift the barbell over your chest after unracking it.
  5. Lower the bar to the chest and take a slight pause. Make sure to keep your elbows close to your body.
  6. Then press the weight back to its original position and repeat this exercise for the desired reps.
  7. Make sure to maintain balance and keep your upper back tight throughout the exercise.

Best Larsen Press Alternatives and Variations

Here are the best alternatives and variations for the reverse grip Larsen press or the original Larsen press:

1. Dumbbell Larsen Press

The Dumbbell Larsen press is the perfect alternative when you don’t have a barbell available.

This variation requires a neutral grip, which may be less effective for engaging the pecs. Also, it requires more control and stability to handle two dumbbells.

2. Guillotine Press

Vince Gironda founded this exercise as one of the best alternatives for Larsen press. It engages pecs more and is an effective chest-builder exercise.

Use a press with a spotter or in a power rack when doing a Guillotine press.

3. Paused Bench Press

This alternative doesn’t require additional gym equipment, so it is perfect for adding variation to your workout routine without needing new gear.

When doing a pause bench press, you must pause between doing a rep to maximize the time under tension.

It removes the use of momentum and is helpful for hypertrophy and building strength.

Wrapping Up

From the above discussion, we can deduce that this foot-up variation is a valuable exercise that helps you build a bigger chest, increase the size of your pecs, and get more muscular shoulders and triceps.

Also, it improves your regular bench press formation and overall pressing power.

Give Larsen press a try to challenge your chest and incorporate intense muscle movements!

4/5 - (5 votes)


James Moore
James Moore
James is co-founder of He works as a fitness trainer and nutrition specialist. His main mission is to inspire people to relentlessly pursue their sport goals. He believes staying in shape has an overall positive effect on body, mind, and spirit.

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