Dumbbell French Press - Increase Triceps & Strength

Master the Dumbbell French Press to boost your triceps strength. Learn techniques for effective workouts in our detailed guide.

When working on the upper body, more precisely, arms, people tend to focus on the biceps the most. This is not a wrong thing per se, but toned arms and shoulders require more work than just training the “big guns”. Luckily, there is an exercise that targets precisely the muscles that give you lean and well-shaped arms. The dumbbell French press is a technique that can do miracles for your upper body, so mastering it should undoubtedly be on your fitness goal list!

Dumbbell French press can be done in several ways, meaning you should look into all of them to find the variation that works best for you. Many bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts tend to use all the variations in different workout sessions for the greatest outcomes.

However, once you learn everything about this exercise, you will be able to realize what your body needs and what you need to try. So, let’s dig deep into the features of the dumbbell French press and explore all its alternatives and benefits! 

Dumbbell French Press Key Features

French press, also known as the triceps extension technique, is one of the best-known exercises for targeting the triceps. It is an isolated movement that works the muscles that shape your arms. So, working regularly on your triceps will get you the toned shape you want for this body area. Without focusing on this part of your upper body, you will end up with formed biceps, but you will not get the lean effect of your arms.

Since the triceps consists of three heads - long, medial, and lateral, you need an exercise that hits all of them at the same time. The French press is the one that is proven to be the most effective in this task. When you use this technique, you extend both the arm from the elbow and the shoulder. It is an easy exercise, but it can be quite challenging on your muscles. However, the challenge it imposes on them means you are doing it right!

Your triceps need mechanical tension to become stronger and better-shaped. While doing the French press, you activate all the parts of this muscle while increasing the tension and promoting an increase in volume mass. It is one of the most effective ways to reach the goals you have set for your arms. Plus, the exercise comes with many variations and alternatives, meaning you can easily find one that suits you and helps you maintain a comfortable position.

What is more, the dumbbell French press is a technique you can use at the gym or at home. You only need a set of your preferred dumbbells, and you are all set! You can also use a bench, but you do not need to obtain one if you are working out at home. Considering the variations, you can easily find the alternative that suits you without using a bench.

Accurate Performance of The French Press Using Dumbbells

The primary and more popular way of performing the French press workout with dumbbells is in a lying position. Usually, people use a bench to perform the exercise and establish a horizontal line of the body for the performance. It is generally the preferred position because it allows you to handle more weight than during sitting or standing. Plus, it gives the ideal conditions to load the triceps.

Once laid on the bench, you should move your hands close to your head and form an angle. When this position is established, the triceps can receive more load since the torque in the elbow allows it to do so. Then, you should begin lowering the dumbbells behind your head. You must keep this a controlled movement to obtain the desired outcomes from the exercise.

Moreover, your shoulders need to be firmly positioned on the bench without moving. When you lift the dumbbells in the starting position, you should ensure that your shoulders do not move as well. If they move, the load will redirect to the shoulder muscles rather than the triceps. The same goes for the elbows - they should be fixed and in one place at all times while performing the exercise. 

French Press Dumbbells Alternatives

The French press with dumbbells exercise can be performed in various ways. You do not necessarily have to use a bench if you do not have one. For instance, if you tend to work out at home, you can try different variations without a bench, so you do not have to subject yourself to purchasing one. You can achieve the same results and provide your triceps with the same intense effects.

Also, you do not have to choose only one variation. Dumbbell French press alternatives allow you to choose and mix up your routines a little bit. Multiple French press options are beneficial if you are focused on your triceps. So, let’s explore other options to see what is most convenient for you. 

1. French Press with Dumbbells While Lying on The Floor

This dumbbell French press alternative is quite similar to the one performed on a bench. It is perfect for those who do their training at home and do not have all the necessary equipment at their disposal. The rules are the same, but the range of motion is slightly different. When you want to decrease it, even if you have a bench, you should opt for this variation of the French press.

When performing the exercise in this position, you should apply the same rules as you do on a bench. However, in this position, the movement of the dumbbells will be limited as they reach the floor. In other words, the movement of your hands stops when the dumbbells hit the floor. 

2. French Press with Dumbbells in a Standing Position

If you decide to perform a standing dumbbell French press, you will need to take less weight. When standing, your body cannot manage as much weight as in a lying position. You need to be careful and considerate when it comes to picking your dumbbells because a lot of weight can lead to unpleasant injuries.

This French press dumbbell exercise requires a perpendicular body stance with the floor. Moreover, it involves a greater range of movement. Since this position asks for less weight, you will be able to work on your triceps more strongly because of a greater amplitude. It is the perfect alternative when you want to stimulate the growth of your muscles.

The movement is the same as in a lying position, but you should stop the dumbbells when they reach the back of your ears and your arms form an angle. It is advised that you combine the lying and standing dumbbell French press for stronger, leaner, and bigger muscles. Using more variations of the same exercise will lead to quicker and better outcomes.

You should know that this dumbbell French press alternative can also be done in a seated position. You can perform the same range of motion while sitting on a chair. The impact is the same, but you may find it more comfortable. 

3. Dumbbell French Press with Single Arm in a Standing Position

When you want to achieve the optimal range of motion and reach a connection between your body and the stabilizers, this is the alternative you should opt for. Your muscles will work more efficiently, and you will be able to do more reps.

You can do the single-arm French press in a standing or seated position, but you must ensure you maintain good form during the entire exercise. Your back should be straight and not bent, while your core should be tight. You should straighten up your arm at full length behind your head, holding one dumbbell.

During the exercise, you should focus on not moving your shoulder so the movement happens only in the elbows. Your other hand can stay on the side of your abdomen to help you maintain good posture and prevent you from bending your back. 

4. Dumbbell French Press with Two Arms in a Standing Position

For a more comfortable position while doing the dumbbell French press, you should consider using one dumbbell and holding it with two arms. In this stance, the arms are closer together, so the load on the triceps is slightly modified.

For the best performance of this variation, you should hold the weight plate on the dumbbell with your hands and raise it above your head behind your ears. You should bend your elbows without moving your shoulders the entire time while doing the exercise. It is still a great way to target your tricep area without feeling uncomfortable while doing so. It is a good alternative when your entire workout session consists of lifting heavy weights because it will give your muscles a break. 

5. Dumbbell French Press on an Incline Bench

If you want a safer option for the French press workout with dumbbells, you can consider doing it on an incline bench. Generally, physical therapists and personal trainers often recommend this position because it reduces the risks of injury in the shoulder area.

You can do the French press with one or two dumbbells, i.e., pick the most suitable option. You should apply the same range of motion and the same rules as in all French press alternatives. As long as you keep your shoulders intact and not moving, you will achieve the outcomes you desire. 

Dumbbell French Press Benefits

There is a good reason why people opt for the French press in most of their training sessions. More precisely, several benefits come with it and contribute to achieving your goals for your body, especially for the upper area. If you are considering whether to include this exercise in your workout program, look into the French press benefits and see for yourself.

  • Stronger Triceps Muscles: When working on your arms, you cannot forget about the importance of triceps. They are responsible for shaping your arm muscles, and the French press is the best exercise to do it properly. Aside from building the muscles, this exercise will provide an excellent definition for your arms!
  • Improves Lift Ability: The dumbbell French press impacts your performance in other lifting exercises. The technique used in it can help you improve the way you do deadlifts, close-grip bench presses, push-ups, and pull-ups.
  • Improves Stability: The French press is one of the best exercises that works on your stability while targeting other muscles. The glutes, lower back muscles, core muscles, deltoids, and pecs are engaged while performing it, meaning it works on many different levels while focusing on the triceps. 

How Often Should You Include French Press with Dumbbells in Your Workouts?

First, it is necessary to point out that this is an intense exercise. While it does not involve any complex movements, it still works your triceps hard. Moreover, it targets other body parts as well, so you should not overdo it.  

Second, it is advised that you do dumbbell French presses once a week. You may even do it twice, but we recommend that you opt for a variation the second time. This is a good way to train your triceps without imposing too much pressure on them. Remember that staying safe is always necessary, whatever type of exercise is in question.  

If you are looking for ways to shape your arms, dumbbell French press is your solution! It is one of the most efficient exercises that will give you visible results and seriously work on giving your arms the toning you desire. Choosing the right variation for yourself will give you the desired outcomes and allow you to lean your arms in no time. Just remember that diet and protein supplements are also essential in building the muscles you want, so do not skip them! 

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