French Press With Dumbbells | How is it done? Which Muscles Does It Involve?

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Robert Maurer

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By the healthiergang writer , fitness instructor and Powerlifting expert.

French Press With Dumbbells

Il french press o “spaccacranio”, it is a very used exercise in the gym, however most of the users are wrong in the technique of execution of this exercise.

Normally to perform the French press, the angled barbell is used, which, compared to the straight one, generates less stress on the wrists.

In this article I want to describe the french press with dumbbells, the variant of this exercise that subjects the wrists and elbows to the lowest levels of stress ever.

How To Do The French Press

Generally all the manuals where the exercises with weights are illustrated and described, the technique of execution of the French press is also explained. There standard version is carried out on the flat bench and the starting position involves lying supine on the bench, with the arms fully extended so as to form a right angle with the trunk; at this point the resistance, which can be represented by a barbell or dumbbells, is brought towards the forehead (hence the attribution of the term skull splitter) with a slow and controlled movement and then brought upwards through the extension of the joint of the elbow.

This explanation, more or less, is the one that can be found in most of the training tutorials, an explanation that is then faithfully reported in the gyms by the instructors. The problem in this case is that keeping the humerus locked at a right angle means that in the intermediate position of the exercise, when the resistance is at the lowest point near the forehead, the tendon of insertion of the muscle triceps bracelet located on the ulna undergoes sharp shear forces due to the fixed right angle position of the humerus.

To release some of these forces, simply tilt the humerus backwards, forming more or less an angle of 45 ° with the soil. In this way the elbow, which unlike the knee does not have the patella which has the task of stretching the muscle levers, is able to manage these forces much better.

I Manubri

The use of dumbbells allows you to perform the French press, being able to choose to position the wrist as you prefer and above all you can change its position during the movement itself. There are many who give up this exercise because they suffer pain in the elbows for the reasons I explained above, all the more so after these pains persist despite the correct position of the humerus, which as I wrote before must be tilted backwards for limit the shear forces on the elbow.

The only solution in this case is to supinate the wrist in the low phase and slowly rotate it during the concentric phase of the repetition in order to have the palms facing each other at the end of the repetition. Keeping the wrist in supination, the triceps tendon, which fits on theolecrano dell’ulna it twists much less than with the wrist in pronation and this greatly decreases the rate of wear of the tendon that occurs with this exercise.

Musculature Involved In The French Press

The main muscle involved with this exercise is the muscle triceps bracelet. This muscle makes up two thirds of the total mass of the arm and is divided into three heads; long head, external head and medial head.

I external and medial heads being mono-articular, they are involved only in the elbow extension movements and therefore are the ones most stressed with this exercise, however by performing the French press with the humerus tilted towards the head as I explained before, a decent activation of the long head is obtained , which unlike the other two heads being bi-articular, is also involved in the extension of the humerus.

Those who train in mono-frequency, not being able to perform all the basic pushing exercises in a single session, can associate the French press with dumbbells to the basic exercise of the session upon completion of the program.

Program 1 (chest-triceps)

? 5 x 5 flat bench presses 75% -80% -85% -80% -75% recovery 2'30 "

? Parallel dip 4 x 6 fixed load recovery 2 '

? French press with dumbbells 3 x 8 fixed load recovery 2 '

Program 2 (chest-shoulders-triceps)

? 5 x 5 flat bench presses 75% -80% -85% -80% -75% recovery 2'30 "

? Slow forward 4 x 6 fixed load recovery 2 '

? French press with dumbbells 3 x 8 fixed load recovery 2 '

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