How to best perform the French press

Anyone who has trained their triceps in the gym or at home will undoubtedly come across the French press: in fact, the exercise is one of the most popular ever when it comes to the development of this muscle and this is also due to the many versions of this activity. . Much of the charm of the French press is due precisely to the fact that it can be performed in the most disparate ways (with one hand or two, on the bench or standing, etc.) thus finding space in practically any workout card: but how do you do the French press and what is it for?

If this and other questions related to the exercise are buzzing in your head, do not be afraid because today we will solve all your doubts starting from which muscles are involved in the technique to learn how to perform the series in the best possible way, passing through all the main variants. . Finally, we will also focus on the main mistakes to avoid in order to be able to train your triceps perfectly without risking pain or, even worse, getting injured.

French press: what it involves

Let’s open this brief but exhaustive portrait of the French press by framing which muscles are involved in this type of practice: the answer to this question, however simple and immediate, is by no means trivial. We are obviously talking about the triceps, but there are some specifics to do to better understand the importance of the French press: this muscle is in fact composed of three bellies known as the long head, medial head and lateral head that originate in different points and then join with a single tendon. Furthermore, the triceps is the most important elbow extender and also acts on the shoulder: training it well therefore does not only affect aesthetics but also correct mobility, obviously provided that the relative exercises (including the French press) are carried out. correctly and do not damage this area in any way.

French press: the correct technique

When it comes to physical exercises for the workout it is essential to know every aspect of them in order to maximize the benefits they give us and the French press is no exception. Before proceeding, however, we must make a necessary specification: there are many versions of this exercise that differ in some parameters such as the position of the person performing it, the instrument used and also the distance of the hands. To simplify, we will therefore refer to the standard version, that is the one that includes the flat bench and the barbell; shortly we will then deal with the individual peculiarities of the most popular variants. In any case, let’s go back to the “classic” mode of the French press: to begin, lie down on your back on the flat bench with your shoulder blades depressed and your arms perpendicular to the ground, then keep the barbell raised at shoulder height. At this point go down, taking care not to widen the elbow but just flex it so that the triceps is activated opposing the movement: once the balance reaches the level of the nape, extend the elbow to slowly return to the starting position.

Other tools for the French press

The traditional French press is generally performed with the barbell, but this is not the only tool that can be used to work effectively: the other tools you can refer to are the dumbbells and the shaped barbell. In the first case, pay attention to the descent of the dumbbells, which will end next to the ears and held in a neutral way, and to the flexion of the elbow which becomes wider than what happens in the French press with the barbell. In the second case, however, you will be “facilitated” by the shape of the tool that will allow you to keep your wrists in a more comfortable and safe position.

The variants of the French press

We now come to the already mentioned variants of the French press in order to provide you with a complete and exhaustive picture of the potential of this type of exercise. One of these is the French press on an inclined bench, which provides for the use of this tool placed at 45 ° and allows a greater extension of the initial flexion of the arm, particularly emphasizing the work of the long head of the triceps: on the opposite instead we find the french press on declined bench. The most famous variant is perhaps the vertical French press, which, as the name implies, provides for the vertical movement of the single arm that holds the handlebar, which follows the trajectory that takes it from the highest point to the back of the neck, and then returns to the starting position.

This variant can be performed both standing and seated: if you opt for the former, take particular care not to exceed the load as a greater involvement of the stabilizers is required. Other versions to mention are definitely the cable french press and the french press machine.

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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