French bench press with dumbbell standing or sitting

This version of triceps exercise is available to everyone. Unlike the barbell movement, the French dumbbell bench press is suitable for complete beginners and those who are not comfortable doing the straight bar exercise. Exercise has been used in bodybuilding for a long time, and in essence is not suitable for working to the limit. The exercise is performed in multi-repetitive mode, there are variations sitting and standing. It is used both in bodybuilding and power sports. It can be performed by both men and women. It is insulating, and develops the main press muscle - triceps. The choice between the option of sitting and standing depends on the state of the athlete’s back, too, for those whose back is injured, the option of exercise from a sitting position is shown.


  • 1 Technique
    • 1.1 French Standing Dumbbell Press
    • 1.2 French bench press with dumbbell
  • 2 variations of exercise
    • 2.1 French bench press sitting or standing with two dumbbells
    • 2.2 Extension with one hand over the head
  • 3 Analysis of exercises
    • 3.1 Anatomy exercises: which muscles work
    • 3.2 Benefits of Exercise
    • 3.3 Cons
  • 4 Preparation for exercise
  • 5 Proper execution
    • 5.1 Errors
    • 5.2 Performance Tips
  • 6 Inclusion in the program
  • 7 Contraindications
  • 8 How to replace the exercise

Execution technique

French bench press with dumbbell


  • The projectile is taken from the racks with two hands or from the floor for disks with a grip in the lock;
  • Due to the bending in the knee and hip joints, the dumbbell is removed from the floor or racks, and in one motion is thrown into its original position;
  • The elbows above are “inserted”, the arms are fully extended;
  • The shoulder blades are flattened, the back is slightly bent and tense;
  • The abdomen is pulled in, the spine is in an anatomically correct position for it, you do not need to bend in the chest or lumbar region


  1. Bend the legs in the knee joints slightly to soften the stance;
  2. Bend your arms at the elbow joints and gently lower the dumbbell behind your back;
  3. Extend your arms at the elbow joints with an exhale, gently squeezing the dumbbells up;
  4. Do not change the position of the hands on the bar during exercise

French bench press with dumbbell

This exercise can be performed while sitting on a bench for a dumbbell bench press with a back, or on a Scott bench, with your back to the biceps racks:

  1. Take the starting position, the dumbbell bar between the thumbs, hands are bound on the discs;
  2. Bend your elbows, and lower the dumbbell behind your back;
  3. Extend your arms smoothly, squeezing the dumbbell to its original position;
  4. Complete the number of repetitions required by the plan.


  • The bench press is performed without deflection in the lower back. It can only be small, determined anatomically, it is not necessary to carry out the movement “to the bridge”;
  • Elbows should not be parted, forearms should be directed parallel to each other;
  • The shoulders should not rise up, or move forward and sideways when doing bench presses;
  • Triceps works better if the position is upright


  1. No need to "stuff" a dumbbell neck. If the discs touch the vertebrae, you should pick up a narrower projectile, or refuse to perform this variation of movement, and do the exercise in the “one-armed” version;
  2. The dumbbell must not be "dropped" down, and pushed below the amplitude that is allowed by the natural movement of the hands. Athletes with voluminous biceps should not "clamp" their hands so that they become uncomfortable;
  3. It is not recommended to work in the upper third of the amplitude, so as not to get an overextension of the elbow ligaments, it is better to perform the movement completely, but use a lower projectile weight than partially, but constantly;
  4. The bar should pass between the index and thumbs. Grip, when each hand is taken individually for a disc is not entirely convenient and is not anatomically the most profitable;
  5. The insurer is necessary not only at great weight, but also for beginners who may not feel very confident.

Exercise variations

The movement can be adapted to almost any anatomical features, be it wide shoulders, large arms, lack of flexibility of the shoulder joint, and the inability to connect hands on dumbbell disks.

French bench press sitting or standing with two dumbbells

This option is indicated for those who feel discomfort while performing the movement on the bar, and cannot keep the weight behind their heads, or bend both hands at the same time due to the large volume of muscles. This option is suitable for those whose triceps are developed differently, and one hand takes the entire load.

The exercise technically copies options with one dumbbell, but you need to hold two dumbbells, and perform the movement synchronously.

Some recommend holding the dumbbells together, but this is not appropriate if the reason for choosing this option is a shoulder injury. In this case, the forearms are held parallel to each other.

One-handed extension of the head

This option is better suited for those who are experiencing discomfort, and is faced with different development of both halves of the body. Whoever has one triceps weaker than the other usually performs “one-armed” exercise options simply because this allows harmonious development. This type of extension is widely used in bodybuilding. In addition, you can perform the exercise by holding one forearm with the opposite hand.

Technically, the movement has its own characteristics - you can bend the arm so that the forearm is perpendicular to the spine, or parallel, but then the shoulder is held with the help of the second hand. Otherwise, the movement resembles the option with one dumbbell - flexion and extension in the elbow joint.

The most important point in all technical versions of the exercise is to keep the elbow and forearm in one position. If the elbow makes movements along the trajectory and plane, the athlete performs the exercise incorrectly, and removes part of the load from the triceps. Shoulder movement is not allowed. The elbows should be fixed at one point throughout the exercise. If you can’t keep them, it’s worth considering the option of exercise with a rope handle, or with fixing the forearm against the wall, or with your free hand.

Parsing exercise

Anatomy exercises: which muscles work

  1. The main engines are triceps, especially its long and lateral heads. In this exercise, the muscles perform their main work - they extend the shoulder, working through the elbow joint, there are no anatomically unnatural angles.
  2. Auxiliary muscles - all body stabilizers from the abdominal press, and the latissimus, to the trapezium and muscles of the cortex, legs, and also the ulnar muscles. The front deltas, posterior deltas, and also the pectoralis major muscles stabilize the position of the shoulder.

Benefits of exercise

  • Contributes to the full amplitude of the muscle stretch, allows to contract completely, since the full-amplitude stretch;
  • The movement allows you to protect your wrists from injuries, as a dumbbell is easier to hold than a barbell;
  • Suitable for those who for health reasons cannot work with large weights;
  • It can be used in women's training;
  • It allows you to adjust not only the weight, but also the amplitude, taking into account the features of the athlete's development, the state of his shoulders and the amplitude of elbow flexion;
  • Suitable for the embodiment with rubber shock absorbers, and weights, as well as sandbags, if there are no dumbbells at hand;
  • Suitable for those who, due to the volumetric biceps, cannot squeeze the barbell in this exercise.


  1. It cannot be used by athletes who, due to the peculiarities of the development of the shoulder joint, cannot put their hands behind the ear;
  2. It should not be used by those who experience pain in the elbows, at least until they see a doctor and make a diagnosis;
  3. With significant weight, the load falls on the long muscle of the back, which runs along the spine;
  4. Exercise cannot be used in the training of those people who suffer from hernias or protrusions with pain, since using significant weight can lead to even greater displacement of the vertebrae

Exercise Preparation

This movement is rarely performed at the beginning of a workout or as the only one, so warm-up is usually performed before the start of the exercise. In the case when, for some reason, the exercise is the first in the plan, you should perform 20-30 flexion-extension in the elbow joint, and rotations in the shoulder joint.

Exercise should not be performed immediately with a working weight. It is necessary to perform 2-3 warm-up approaches, if the weight is large, or 1-2 - if not significant. “Big” is considered to be weight close to one third of the athlete’s own weight.

Movement is not recommended to be included in the plan if the athlete cannot painlessly put his forearm behind his ear.

Correct execution

  • The elbows during the exercise should not "hang out" along the path or diverge to the sides. If it is uncomfortable to hold them in the desired position, and pulls the trapezoid, it is worth doing the exercise with two dumbbells, or with each hand in turn, with one dumbbell;
  • During the exercise, the projectile should not slide in the hands so that the athlete drops it on his back. It is better to hold the dumbbell by the disks in one position;
  • It is not necessary to “force” the dumbbell to the back due to contraction in the biceps; the natural amplitude of movement is enough;
  • Hands hold the projectile in the lock during the grip, you do not need to hold the dumbbell with the palms overlapping, it is more likely that it will fall out of the hands;
  • A bench with a back is more preferable for someone who cannot control the position of the back. Ideally, the back should be high enough so that the athlete can snuggle up to her and the back of the head too;
  • The pace of the movement should be average, you should not “drop” the dumbbell down and actively “push” it with your hands up, the bench press should be smooth


  • The movement should not be carried out due to the push, it should be slow;
  • Elbows do not diverge;
  • The forearms do not tend to parallel with the floor;
  • Trapeziums do not rise to the ears “forcibly”;
  • The back is not rounded;
  • In the rack, the knees do not need to be “inserted”, it is worth leaving them inserted;
  • But the elbows should be unbent completely, to stay at the bottom of the amplitude and work only there is not worth it

Performance Tips

  1. Usually it makes no sense to sit on a bench without a back; you can reduce the axial load if you do not pull the dumbbell too far back and lean forward. It is difficult to provide all this with a simple sed;
  2. The movement will be more effective if you perform it in full amplitude, and not with the "maximum" weight. Remember that this is not an exercise for a strength test, but a “shaping” muscle movement, which is suitable for “finishing” and repetitive work;
  3. The option with his back to the music stand in Scott's bench better supports the shoulder area and is suitable for those athletes who tend to hump in gray hair;
  4. It is believed that the exercise in the gray isolates triceps better than the movement in the stance, so it should be performed by those who do not want to take significant weight weights

Program Inclusion

Exercise cannot go first in a plan, unless it is an isolated hand training. If we are talking about breast training, you should first perform a bench press, isolating the chest exercises, and work out a round muscle, and only then move on to the triceps bench presses.

Most athletes prefer to first work in power mode on a bench press, or in a rack for push-ups on the triceps, and only then "hone" the muscles with multi-repetitive work.

The exercise is performed both in medium repeat, 12-15 repetitions, mode, and in multiple repetition. Weights are recommended from light to medium, perhaps it is not worth trying to refuse with a large weight.


Many athletes exclude any variation of the French bench press to protect the elbows. This makes sense if we have a silovik who is already experiencing increased stress on the elbows, but if it is a matter of fitness, a couple of medium-weight approaches will not affect the ligaments of the elbow joint critically, if the athlete does everything technically correct.

A complete contraindication to exercise is any inflammatory process in the elbows, wrists, and shoulders. First you need to heal them, and only then do isolated exercises with flexion and extension in the joint.

How to replace the exercise

During rehabilitation training, it is recommended to perform with a rubber shock absorber of low resistance. The same variation is suitable for beginners and women. It is more convenient for many athletes to do a bench press not with one dumbbell, but with a curved bar, this applies to those who work with large weights.

Particular attention should be paid to the load - do not do too many triceps exercises, and bring the joints to inflammation.