Sports Training

Single Arm French Press Exercise Guide

Wondering how to perform the single arm french press exercise the right way? Alright, we’re going to talk about one of the core exercises that brings great gain to your triceps.

I’ll quickly run you through the perfect form you must have for this exercise, the mistakes you must avoid, and alternatives of single arm french press.

So let’s get started!

What is A Single Arm French Press?what-is-a-single-arm-french-press

The single arm french press exercise focuses on building triceps. It’s an overhead exercise that you can do with a dumbbell. Generally, people do this exercise standing, seated, or on an exercise ball.

How to Do Single Arm French Presshow-to-do-single-arm-french-press

Step 1: Body Positioning

Grab a dumbbell and position yourself by either sitting on a sturdy seat, exercise ball, or simply standing.

Step 2: Dumbbell Positioning

Hold the dumbbell in one hand, extend your hand, and put it behind your head with your elbow bent.

Step 3: Perfect Exercise Form

Push the dumbbell in the upward direction, keeping your elbow stationary as much as you can. After this, bring the dumbbell down and repeat the process.

Once you’re done doing reps with one hand, do the same procedure with the other one.

Like this video:

Benefits of Single Arm French Pressbenefits-of-single-arm-french-press

A Simple Exercise to Do

Single arm french press is an easy exercise to build your upper body, especially triceps. Being a simple exercise, it’s great for men over 50 and all women gym enthusiasts.

Muscle Workedmuscle-worked

Primary Muscle

  • Triceps

Synergist Muscles

  • Abs
  • Traps
  • Deltoids

3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Single Arm French Press3-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-single-arm-french-press

  1. Increase your repetitions in this exercise gradually. The average number of reps for men is 30 and for women it is 25. It’s best to start with 15 and try increasing it with time as you get more experience performing this exercise.
  2. Try increasing the dumbbell weight with time and do not to french press more than your lifting capability.
  3. Switch to a more challenging variation of the single arm french press once you get the form right and become used to the original exercise.

2 Common Mistakes Beginners Make During Single Arm French Press2-common-mistakes-beginners-make-during-single-arm-french-press

Incorrect Form

Although the single arm french press exercise is simple, you should have a perfect form to do it. Many people tend to have minimum to no range of motion of hand behind the head. This won’t do any good in triceps development.

Too Heavy Dumbbell

If you lift a dumbbell that’s too heavy for you, you won’t be able to extend your hand much behind your head. This will lead to an incorrect form and, in some cases, a muscle pull. Definitely not something you want to be doing, trust me, I have been there many times.

Single Arm French Press Alternative Exercises

Close Grip Press for Triceps & How to Do Itclose-grip-press-for-triceps-single-arm-french-press-alternative-exercises

Close grip press is done lying flat on a bench press with a barbell.

Step 1: Gripping the Barbell

The barbell in this exercise should be gripped closely. Basically, your hands should be shoulder-width apart or even less if you’re comfortable with it.

Step 2: Body Positioning

  • Retract the scapula to bring the chest up
  • Depress the shoulders – it will help stabilize the shoulder joint throughout the motion
  • Make sure to keep your elbows as close to your body as you possibly can

Step 3: Barbell Motion

Get a nice tight grip on the barbell in the first couple of reps, slowly moving your hand down. Ensure the barbell comes down as low as you can, and then slowly push the barbell up, keeping your elbow stationary.

  • Tip 1: Don’t forget to focus on your breathing as you perform this exercise
  • Tip 2: Make sure to stretch before doing this exercise and do not go too far down if it does not feel comfortable

Your form is very important for this exercise. Make sure to focus on perfecting your form as best you can. If you’re aware of the normal barbell bench press then this should come naturally to you.

To get the most from this exercise, make sure to do 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps. But remember, you must take a breather of a minute between each set.

V/Straight Bar Tricep Pushdown & How It’s Donestraight-bar-tricep-pushdown-single-arm-french-press-alternative-exercises

The V/straight bar tricep pushdown is done standing with a V-bar or straight bar. The technique and form remain the same for any kind of bar or rope as well.

Step 1: Bar Set-Up

The V/straight bar tricep pushdown is done on an adjustable machine, so make sure to adjust the bar on the machine a bit higher than normal.

Step 2: The Perfect Form

Take a step back from the machine, join your feet, and keep a slight bend in your knee. Arch your back keeping your elbows in front of your hips while maintaining a neutral spine.

Now push the V-bar straight down and breathe out. Once you’re all the way down, slowly release the bar in the same path until your hand is bent slightly.

Because your elbow is in front of your hips, the pressure is built on the triceps. Make sure to do at least 3 sets of 10 reps each, taking a minute break between each set.

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