French bench press: how to do it right and where

French bench press: how to do it right and where

Those wishing to “swing” voluminous arms probably know that for the thickness of the arm when viewed from the side, it is not biceps (as a considerable number of newcomers mistakenly think), but triceps. Consisting of three heads, it is significantly larger than the biceps of the shoulder, and its study significantly increases the volume of the hands.

Among all the exercises that exist for working out triceps, the French bench press with a barbell is the most dangerous and controversial option for loading this muscle. Despite this, this method allows you to stretch the long head of the triceps, loading it by 100%. It is for this reason that athletes for whom bodybuilding has become part of life do this exercise, despite a more convenient version of its execution – lying on a bench.

French bench press

Working muscles

Exercise refers to isolating, therefore, the load is accented, and only the worked muscle is used. All three heads are fully involved – medial, long, and lateral. Due to the maximum possible amplitude of movement, muscle fibers are fully stretched – it goes without saying that this positively affects the effectiveness of the exercise.

In addition to triceps, the elbow muscle is included in the work – small in size, it covers the elbow joint and is involved in its extension.

Since the exercise is performed while standing (as an option – sitting), and the movement of weight occurs at the top – a significant static load is received by the muscles-stabilizers of the body, which must constantly maintain the correct position.

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To whom, when, and why

Since the French bench press is one of the most dangerous and difficult exercises, it is not often done even by experienced athletes, preferring a less effective, but less traumatic option, lying on a bench.

To whom?

The only category of athletes for whom the French bench press will be useful and relevant is experienced and massive athletes who want to overcome the “stagnation” in triceps growth by making changes to the program. If you are a beginner athlete and do not know how to pump up your hands, then you need to pay attention to other exercises.

For beginners and less experienced athletes, using this method of working out triceps is highly not recommended, despite its effectiveness.


Even though the exercise is insulating, the French bench press is often used for weight gain.

By the way, because all three triceps heads are stretched to the maximum during standing exercises, it is sometimes done as a warm-up – naturally, with minimal weight (or even with an empty bar) to qualitatively “warm-up” the muscles.

What for?

As mentioned above – the exercise allows you to stretch all three heads of the triceps muscle of the shoulder as much as possible. This has a positive effect both on its growth and on the “rendering” of the relief.

French bench press technique

Usually, the exercise is performed with a W-shaped bar. However, if you are comfortable and accustomed to working with direct – use it.

  1. We stand straight, grab the barbell with our palms on top (the distance between the arms when using the straight neck is independently selected by each athlete, but usually already shoulder width) and squeeze it above the head, fully straightening the arms.
  2. Inhale, and holding our breath, we begin to smoothly bend the elbows, bringing the barbell over his head. Continue to move until the joint is fully bent.
  3. Without delay at the lower point, we change the direction of movement, and smoothly bend the elbow, returning the bar to the original.
  4. Repeat the required number of times.
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Important nuances and tips

  1. Working weight. Performing a French bench press with a lot of weight even lying down is quite a dangerous activity, and even if you do it standing up – even more so. The best option is average (when gaining weight) and minimum (when “drying”) weight.
  2. The number of repetitions. To maximize the load and stretch the triceps, it is important to perform a large number of repetitions. Optimal – 10-15 times, regardless of the training period.
  3. Execution speed. The slightest sharp or inaccurate movement – and you are almost guaranteed to get injured. So you should bend and unbend your arms always smoothly and slowly.
  4. Breath-holding. Since it is very important to constantly maintain a stationary position of the body – it is necessary to hold your breath even when working with minimal weight.
  5. Body. Carefully ensure that the position of the body (as well as the head) does not change until the end of the run – the slightest deviation can upset the balance.
  6. Delay at the bottom. In this exercise, lingering at a lower point is not only ineffective but also dangerous (when working with average weight). This technique can only be used with minimal weight if you use the exercise to warm up.
  7. Elbows. Mandatory and quite serious nuance: in no case do not raise your elbows to the sides. The distance between them (from the beginning to the end of the execution) should be approximately the width of the shoulders – otherwise, the risk of injury is increased.
  8. Alternatively, you can perform the exercise without standing, but sitting – muscle strain will be of the same quality, but keeping the body in the correct position will be much easier.
  9. Instead of a bar, you can use 1 dumbbell, a pancake from the bar, or a rope handle attached to the lower cable of the vertical block trainer. The last option is the safest because if you can’t lift the weight yourself (or get injured), you just need to release the handle.
  10. When working with medium or maximum weight – be sure to ask someone to ensure you.
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6 thoughts on “French bench press: how to do it right and where

    1. Hold the hand weight at full expansion over your chest territory. Development keeping your upper arms fixed, flex your elbows to bring down the bar towards your temple. Delay for a second and afterward return the hand weight up to your beginning position. Proceed the same number of reps as essential for the ideal outcomes

    1. The main difference between these two is the French Press is done by the movement of the elbow just a seated overhead arm extension movement whereas the Skull Crusher is also elbow extension but from a lying position.

    1. It is bad if you do it like elbows erupted 90 degrees, it causes pain and wounds/injuries.
      Try not to bring down the bar guillotine-style to your neck. You’ll get a greater chest stretch if your elbows are opposite to your middle at the base.

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