Seated French Press is an isolation exercise for the triceps, specifically the long head of the triceps muscle.
Being an overhead triceps extension workout, the triceps get to be fully worked on and best of all is you do it while sitting down and stabilizing your back on a workout bench.
You can use a barbell, EZ bar, or a dumbbell to do the workout. For a beginner it is best to start with the one that has a better grip and arm extension. Let us go with a barbell or EZ bar since dumbbells require you to have a firm grip to hold it behind your head.
HOW TO DO SEATED FRENCH PRESS PROPERLY
If you feel your muscles can take on weights, you can add a few weights to the EZ bar or barbell.
For assistance or spurring, talk to your trainer/gym instructor.
How to do it:
- Load up the EZ bar and sit on an upright bench with your back firmly pressed against the backrest.
- With the EZ bar on your thighs, grab it in an overhand grip with your hands slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart.
- Tighten your grip, lift the EZ bar and press it over and above your head. Brace your core and back muscles for stabilization. This is your starting position.
- Inhale as you slowly bend at the elbows and lower the EZ bar behind your head. Make sure your elbows are pointing up and perpendicular to the floor not flaring out.
- Keep going deep until you feel intense muscle contraction of the triceps muscles. Keep the elbows perpendicular to the floor.
- Exhale as you extend at the elbows back to your starting position while keeping them stationary at all time.
- Make sure your back and torso are straight and fixed throughout the motions of the technique.
- Do the exercise in a slow and smooth movement to keep up with a good controlled breathing.
- Do 2 sets of 8-10 reps.
WHAT MUSCLES DO SEATED FRENCH PRESS WORK
Triceps muscles assist in extension of the arm at the shoulder joint and with the overhand grip; it increases the stretching and activation of the muscles when pulling the bar down behind your head.
The exercise increase mass, muscle toning and definition. Strength and development of the triceps muscles is the best benefit this workout offers.
SHOULDER, BACK AND TORSO MUSCLES
All these muscles play a role of stabilization when sitting upright and pressing the weights overhead. You must engage your core muscle by tightening it so that your torso area may be stable and back upright and strong.
This helps avoid putting tension on your back and shifting focus. All the work is for the triceps and rather the lower back.
SEATED FRENCH PRESS BENEFITS
STRONG AND DEVELOPED TRICEPS MUSCLES
Weak triceps hinders you from lifting even medium weights and increases chances of arm injuries and aches from doing simple activities like lifting a load at home or at work.
Increasing your upper arm strength will give you an advantage when working out and in sports. Your endurance in upper body workout will increase and your pressing technique will improve.
STRENGTHENING THE SHOULDERS AND ELBOWS
Doing the Seated French Press works on the shoulder and elbow muscles since they are very much connect to each other and assist in increasing strength, stability and motion of the shoulders.
You will feel a pinch whenever you press the bar and bring it back behind your head. This increases the involvement of the shoulder muscles as stabilizers and strengthens the shoulder joint.
Also, the tendons attached in and around the elbow joint get to strengthen and be in top shape.
ALTERNATIVES TO SEATED FRENCH PRESS
PARALLEL BAR DIPS
Often described as upper body squats, Parallel Bar Dips are a great work out for strengthening and developing all the heads of the triceps muscles, shoulder and chest muscles.
It is a body weight workout and if you have weak triceps, the workout will start as impossible and painful to accomplish. However, for an alternative for Seated French Press, this workout explodes the muscles and activates them effectively so keep at it for better improvement.
CABLE OVERHEAD TRICEPS EXTENSION
With quite a number of variations, cable overhead triceps extension gives you constant tension with less strain on the joints even when you use more weights.
The exercise is a user-friendly variation that offers more stabilization and weights than using a barbell or dumbbells. Dual extensions offers a better grip and motion when extending the triceps.
SEATED FRENCH PRESS MISTAKES TO AVOID
FLARING ELBOWS OUT
Form and technique is very important because if performed incorrectly it can cause elbow pain.
By having a narrow grip, your triceps get to experience effective extension and activation, which allows easier elbow tuck. Tuck your elbows in to reduce risks of injuries.
USING EXCESS WEIGHT
With a large range of motion, using heavy weights can put stress on your joints and hurt them. Excess weight shifts your focus from the correct form and technique to concentrating on how to lift the heavy weights and not dislocate a joint.
The technique is already a risk on its own so try to start with lighter weights first.
EXTENDING YOUR LOWER BACK
Isolating the triceps muscles can prompt you to relieve tension from the target muscles to other body parts especially the lower back. Avoid engaging other muscles in this workout.
A hundred percent focus should be on the triceps only since this work out is an isolation work out for the triceps. Using lighter weights allows you to get the form right and master it well enough to progressively add more weights with time.
Seated French Press helps to fully activate the triceps muscles and increase muscle strength for pressing heavier weights and creating stronger upper arms. The workout has less tension on the back, which makes it a safe and effective workout.
The muscle makes up a bigger percentage of the upper arm, which makes it more beneficial to give it extra attention when working out.
Increasing reps every week increases muscle hypertrophy and strength.