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What Is French Press Exercise?

author image William McCoy
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.
What Is French Press Exercise?
Weightlifter works on the French Press Exercise Photo Credit: Click_and_Photo/iStock/Getty Images

If your strength-training workout is heavy on biceps exercises but light on those that target your triceps, consider incorporating the French press exercise into your workout routine. Occasionally known as a triceps extension, the French press requires the use of a barbell or EZ bar and is possible to perform while standing or seated on a bench or stability ball.

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Keep It Slow and Steady

To perform the exercise, set your desired weight on a barbell or EZ bar and, with an overhand grip, lift the weight high above your head with your arms vertical but your elbows unlocked. Keeping your upper arms still, bend your elbows to slowly lower the bar toward the back of your neck. Straighten your arms to raise the bar to its original position to finish one full repetition. Each motion should be slow and steady; if you struggle performing the exercise at this tempo, use a lighter weight. Hold your body, except for your forearms, as stationary as possible throughout the exercise. One to three sets of between eight and 12 reps is sufficient.

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