The Standing French press, also known as the French curl exercise, is a known weightlifting exercise that targets the three tricep heads.
Being an overhead movement, the standing French press flexes your shoulders, focusing better on the long head of the tricep muscle.
It is a tricep extension workout that targets the triceps, glutes, core, lower back, pecs, and deltoids. The standing French press is an ideal workout if you have underworked triceps.
The standing French press is common and is often performed by many fitness enthusiasts in the gym. The form is key for this workout; therefore, ensure you execute it correctly to gain the most benefits.
Also known as; the French Curl Exercise
Targeted Muscles: Triceps
Required Equipment: EZ curl bar
Exercise Type: Strength
Exercise Mechanics: Compound
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Force Type: Push
- Assume a hip-width stance with your shoulders drawn back.
- Hold the EZ bar with your hand thumb lengths apart with a neutral grip. Push the bar over your head while moving your shoulders outwards.
- Engage your core. Point your elbows forward to stabilize your back. This is your starting position.
- Arch your elbows to lower the curl bar towards your back. Keep your upper arms static. Lower the bar at a slow and controlled pace.
- Contract your arm muscles and pause at the bottom of the rep.
- Stretch your arms until you resume the starting position. That’s one complete rep. Keep going!
Note: Contacting your arm muscles lets you control the weight and improves the mind and muscle connection.
- Repeat the motion until you achieve the desired sets of reps.
- The technique is key for this workout. Avoid flaring your elbows as you move your arms up and down. Ensure the repetition time is slow and your movements are targeted.
- Do not lock your elbows at the top of the rep since it will shift the tension off your triceps.
- Maintain your body stationary and ensure only your forearms move as you perform.
- Keep your gaze forward throughout the workout session.
MUSCLES WORKED BY THE STANDING FRENCH PRESS
The standing French press focuses on the tricep, specifically the long head. Since this workout trains the entire tricep, the French press is ideal for working with underdeveloped triceps.
The secondary muscles trained as you perform this workout include the deltoids, glutes, lower back, core, and pecs. The muscles mentioned above work simultaneously to provide the body with the required stability to perform the exercise effectively.
BENEFITS OF THE STANDING FRENCH PRESS
The arms are placed at an overhead position as you perform this workout; therefore, this exercise is incredibly effective at working the long head of the tricep muscles.
When you flex your shoulders by moving your arms over your head and towards your back, the long head stretches intensely-thus, provoking muscle growth in the active muscles.
This stretch prepares your muscles for hypertrophy. The muscle lengthening builds you stronger, thicker triceps with consistency in this workout.
STRONGER COMPOUND PRESSES
The standing French press advances your lockout strength; therefore, your compound pressing power is improved significantly.
The triceps mainly execute the standing French press lockout phase because of the elbow extension involved to attain the heavy press.
This complex drill mimics other heavy-lifting workouts using the tricep muscles. Therefore, it has the perfect carryover to the compound workouts you perform- particularly when using a full range of motion.
The standing variation of the French press is an ideal way of training your core. Your triceps will work to lift the weight energetically. Your abs have to squeeze isometrically to keep your torso neutral and stable.
The standing position also allows you to burn more calories compared to other variations of this workout. The extra energy used burns more calories by putting you in an energy deficit.
ALTERNATIVES TO STANDING FRENCH PRESS
BAND OVERHEAD TRICEPS EXTENSION
The Band overhead tricep extension train the same muscles targeted by the standing French press -the main trade-off is the weight. This variation is user-friendly.
- Set a resistance band or a cable at the highest point of the cable machine and hold the band with your hands.
- Stand with your back facing the anchor point and move your hands behind your head. Take a step forward to create tension in the band.
- Bend your head slightly, stretch your hands and extend your elbows over your head as comfortably as you can.
- Reverse the motion gently until you feel your triceps stretch.
- Reset and repeat the motion until you attain the recommended sets of reps.
See also: Close grip barbell bench press, Parallel bar dips.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING THE STANDING FRENCH PRESS
The standing French press uses a large motion range and can stress your joints even with the right technique. Going too heavy will surely strain your elbow and shoulder joints.
Likewise, the load behind your head pulls your arms. This is a complex drill that leaves room for much error.
Begin with a lighter weight and level up as you perfect your technique.
USING A VERY WIDE GRIP
Many tricep workouts flex the elbows out, and the wide-the-standing French press isn’t one of them. Use a neutral grip to focus the tension on your triceps and keep your joints safe as you exercise to minimize the risk of injury.
LOCKING OUT YOUR ELBOWS
The long head is not responsible for the full extension of the elbow. This duty is better suited for the lateral and medial heads.
Maintaining a slight elbow bend at the bottom of the rep helps focus the tension on the long head and reduces elbow stress. The joints are made such that they can easily lock out.
Be sure not to overextend because this will risk injuring your joints when loaded.
The standing French press is a huge game-changer for the regular workout routine. This workout focuses on your tricep muscles, tones them, and significantly improves their strength.
There are many varying methods of performing this exercise. Correct technique is key to gaining the utmost benefits, growth and preventing injuries.
Remember to tuck your elbows and concentrate on lifting the weight with a full range of motion -solely with your triceps. Begin slowly and work on perfecting your technique. You will have bigger, stronger biceps in no time.
Choose your size, and stay healthy and weightless!