One of the essential triceps muscles is the Triceps brachii. It’s a large muscle on your upper arm and helps you extend, or straighten, your elbow. To activate this muscle, use a French Press – an isolation exercise that targets all three heads (outer, middle, and inner). Sometimes, all you need to do is use this exercise on its own to feel the burn in your arms. However, it can also be part of an upper-body workout that targets multiple muscle groups.
There are several benefits to incorporating the French Press exercise into your daily workout regime. Some benefits of including the French press in your workout include:
First, the exercise is valuable for building stronger triceps. This exercise targets the muscles on the back of your arms. This mainly includes the long triceps head of the arm. Second, this exercise helps increase stability in your body. The French press exercise activates the muscles in your body as stabilizers. These include your pecs, deltoids, core, lower back muscles, and glutes.
Third, the French press exercise improves the other exercises that you do. With more practice, the French Press exercise improves your overall performance in different exercises, including pull-ups, deadlifts, pushups, and close-grip bench presses.
How to Do the French Press Exercise?
For the French press exercise, you will need to use a weight that you can control for three to five sets of ten to twelve reps. Select a weight that enables you to maintain perfect technique throughout the reps and sets.
- Grab a bar and place your feet hip-width apart. Also, bend your knees slights.
- Push the curl bar over your head and rotate your shoulders outward to engage your lateral muscles.
- Keep your upper back muscles tight as you do each rep. Your posture needs to be tall, with your shoulders above your hips.
- Maintain a neutral wrist position and a comfortable grip. Point your elbows forward.
- Tuck your chin position as you do the movement, just like holding an egg underneath it. This allows you to maintain a neutral position of the head and neck.
- Now, disperse your weight evenly and grip the ground with your feet to create a stable position.
- Next, tense your hips and shoulders a little as you engage your core—Tuck in your pelvis as you do this exercise with your ribs going down.
- Bend your elbows and lowering bar behind your head. Keep the upper arms still during this movement.
- Next, lower the weight gradually as your lower arms approach your upper arm.
- Pause when you reach the bottom position. Squeeze your triceps, then straighten your elbows as you return to the initial position. You need to bend your elbows a bit at the end of each rep to keep the tension on the triceps.
Physical Skills it Improves.
Some of the primary physical skills the French Press exercise improves include swimming, motor skills, and balance. Professional swimmers often incorporate this exercise into their daily workout regimes, as it helps to improve overall stability. Also, it helps to build balance in both the upper body and the lower body muscles. It aids in enhancing the overall strength of the body as well. People who want to participate in activities that require high body balance and stability can also benefit from this exercise.
Muscles Worked by the French Press
The French Press exercise mainly targets the upper arm muscles: triceps. As this is an isolation exercise, it targets the long triceps head explicitly. Therefore, it is the perfect exercise for you to perform if you have slightly underdeveloped triceps. You can also do this exercise to develop massive arms.
Remember, the key element behind creating thick and robust arms is working on your triceps and biceps. Most people only focus on developing the biceps of their arms. However, they forget that the back arm muscles make two-thirds of the total mass of the arm muscle. Therefore, it is helpful to do the French Press exercise considering you want bigger and stronger arms. You can combine it with dips and bench press as well to attain maximum results.
Mistakes to Avoid while French Pressing
Some mistakes that you will need to avoid while doing the French Press exercise include:
Using a Heavy Weight–Some people use too heavyweight. Unfortunately, doing this will cause severe damage. In addition, Heavyweight has the potential to pull your arms in a backward position. Therefore, you need to make sure that you build your way up to heavier weight gradually.
Not Using Narrow Grip–You need to use a narrow grip to emphasize the triceps muscles. Then, you will need to press upwards using your arms. Another mistake is moving your neck, head, back, and shoulder muscles while performing this lift.
Locking the Arms Out–You should not extend your arms fully when performing the French Press exercise. Doing so will place a considerable amount of strain on your elbows, which can ultimately result in an injury.
Not Focusing–You need to make sure you pay enough attention to what you do and be in the moment as you do the exercise. This is because poor form causes injuries and reduces results. So, make a target to do a certain number of reps, and draw a boundary on time to ensure you don’t overdo it.
Relaxing Too Much–Don’t relax your muscles because this will cause them to extend outwards. In addition, doing so will lead to an elbow injury. So, make sure you don’t relax the elbows and be constrictive as you perform the exercise.
Modifications of French Press Exercise
If there is a medical history or a previous injury, you need to talk to your doctor before starting the exercise. A technique with proper form is essential to make sure that the training stays effective and safe. However, you may need to bring some modifications to the exercise to get the best results possible, considering your medical needs. Always choose a weight that enables you to maintain complete control over your body as you perform the exercise. If you feel sharp or unusual pain from any activity, stop immediately.
You can try the following modifications of the French press exercise considering your individual needs:
1. Seated French Press
This exercise is a variation of the French press exercise in which you sit on a flat bench and lift the bar over your head. This variation allows you to take some pressure away from your stabilizer muscles. Doing it will enable you to put your focus on your upper arms.
2. Skull Crusher Exercise
We also call it the lying triceps extension exercise. You will need a flat bench to do this exercise. In this exercise, you will lift the bar over your head in a lying position. Skull crusher exercise uses a little smaller range of motion compared to the conventional French Press exercise. This is the significant difference between the two exercises that you need to know. People going for a smaller range of motion can do this modification instead of the conventional one.
3. Dumbbell French Press
This variation allows you to use a pair of dumbbells instead of a bar. This helps you focus on the muscle asymmetries that you may develop as you favor one body side over another.
Last word on the French Press:
To get better results, you can incorporate warmups, nutrition, and rest into your exercise regime. Your ability to recover and perform during the workouts will determine your results. You need to rest for one or two days before you retrain your muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery to your muscles.
The French Press is a great isolation exercise for the triceps. We’ve found it to be especially helpful in rehabbing injuries and preventing recurring issues with this muscle group. If you have any experience using this technique, let us know how it has worked for you!