What Is French Press Exercise?

young man making french press - workout routine

If your strength-training workout is heavy on biceps exercises but light on those that target your triceps, consider incorporating the French press exercise into your workout routine. Occasionally known as a triceps extension or skull crusher, the French press requires the use of a barbell or EZ bar and is possible to perform while standing or seated on a bench or stability ball. The versatility of this upper body weightlifting exercise makes it a hit in bodybuilding forums and groups,

What does the French press benefit?

biceps and triceps

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Obviously this triceps exercise benefits the triceps but specifically the long head of the triceps that reaches into the lats. Thanks to the movements of this exercise, the elbow joints will also see some work as well. Although this is mainly an isolation exercise, you will see some growth in other muscle groups. Besides the triceps muscles, your deltoids, lower back, glutes and pecs will see some growth.

How to do French Press?

To perform the exercise, get into starting position by setting your desired weight on a barbell or EZ bar. With an overhand grip at shoulder-width distance, lift the weight high above your head with your arms vertical but your elbows unlocked. Keeping your upper arms still, bend your elbows to slowly lower the bar toward the back of your neck. With a steady range of motion, straighten your arms to raise the bar to its original position to finish one full repetition. Each motion should be slow and steady; if you struggle performing the exercise at this tempo, use a lighter weight. Hold your body, except for your forearms, as stationary as possible throughout the exercise. One to three sets of between eight and 12 reps is sufficient for beginner lifters. Before beginning any workouts or supplements, be sure to consult a personal trainer or physician. Here's a tutorial video by Howcast with 9M subscribers.

What are some french press variations?

You can mix this exercise up in a variety of ways. You can start by grabbing some dumbbells for some dumbbell french press aka dumbbell triceps extension. You can mix in a flat bench or incline bench for lying triceps extension. You can use a wide grip or narrow grip as well.