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French bench press exercise to increase the volume and strength of the triceps. The exercise affects all three triceps bundles, and especially the upper and long bundles, which visually increases the volume of the arm when viewed from the side.

In comparison with such a popular exercise for triceps, as the extension of the block down, we note the greater effectiveness of the French bench press. The reason for this is the fact that the triceps starts working from a stretched position, which means the impact of the exercise will be more complete and deep

Mentioned about the benefits of exercise, let’s not forget about its shortcomings. The French bench press is destructive for the elbow joints. And in order to minimize the risk of injury, this exercise should be performed only after a thorough warm-up with low weight and technically correct.

And finally, I note that a well-developed arm triceps is a goal not only in bodybuilding, but also an absolutely necessary thing in sports such as tennis (pitches and strikes), basketball (throws from behind the head), volleyball (punches from the top down, pitches and blocking the ball), pole vaulting, martial arts (top-down) and others.

Technique performing the French press

1. Lie on a horizontal bench or on the floor and firmly rest your feet on the floor. Take a narrow grip on the neck grip on top, lift the barbell up and pull back so that the bar neck is slightly behind his head. This is the starting position.

2. Inhale and hold your breath. Without moving your shoulders, gently bend your arms in elbows until you conditionally touch the forehead with a barbell or turn it behind your head, but not lower than 5 cm of the top of the head, so that in the lower position the angle at the elbow joint is 90 °.

3. Without pausing at the lowest point, also smoothly as you exhale, lift the bar to its original position.

It is important:

You can perform a French bench press either with a straight or with an EZ neck, but in the case of a curved one, the load on the triceps will be greater, and on the elbow joint, on the contrary, less.

In this exercise, a clear technique is in the first place: it is impossible to perform the exercise technically correctly, remove some of the weight from the bar. It is important that the upper arms remain motionless throughout the whole set, and the elbows do not disperse to the sides at the time of lifting the bar.

A common mistake – hands in the initial position are perpendicular to the floor. Hands must be fixed
tilted at an angle of 35-45 degrees relative to the vertical, which will maximize the load of the triceps.

When lowering the bar to the forehead, you involve a bunch of front deltas in the work. In the case of lowering the barbell for the head, only the triceps muscles work. This fact can be used in the case when triceps in its development lags far behind the deltoids in order not to involve shoulders in the work.


French bench press. In this case, the bar goes down over the head.

Working muscles during the french press

triceps (all heads)
elbow muscle
Alternative exercises

Extension on the block
Arm extension with a dumbbell from behind the head
Push ups from the bench