Kettlebell Exercise of the Week – Kettlebell Tricep Extension (AKA French Press)
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Muscles strengthened: Triceps, Shoulders, Core
- Target: 3 sets of 12 reps
What you need to know
This exercise is great for banishing the bingo wings the ladies all loathe, and with a more serious weight it can build substantial muscle mass for the exerciser looking to gain more bulk.
Even with a lighter weight you can soon create really great definition in your arms and get limbs you’ll love!!
Getting the weight right for you may take a few goes but we recommend three sets of 12 reps with the final few reps being tough but manageable.
After one month you should be able to manage a 5-10% increase in kettlebell weight.
What you need to do
Since this exercise is about the upper body you can sit or stand.
Sitting puts the core into a more stable position and so enables you to lift a heavier weight and work the arm and shoulder muscles harder. If this is your option, sit on a workout bench with your weight on your sit bones, your spine in a neutral, extended position and your feet comfortably rested on the floor.
If you’re standing you’ll need to engage the core muscles more to keep the hips stable and the torso strong. For this, the feet should be set beneath the hips and the toes turned out very slightly. Introduce a little tension to your glutes and abdominals to hold the pelvic girdle still, and keep the belly and butt braced as you exercise to maintain your posture and confine movement to the arms.
The kettlebell should be held by the handle in both arms and the arms extended above the head. The elbows should hover directly above the shoulders and remain there throughout.
To complete one rep, bend the elbows, taking the kettlebell down behind the head, and then extend them again to the start position.
Tips and Pointers
Don’t rush this exercise. Take your time lowering and lifting the kettlebell to ensure quality and controlled movements.
What stays still is as important as what moves… keep the torso still throughout.
Be wary of dropping the head forward when you bend the arms and take the weight back. Keeping a long neck throughout maintains your posture and encourages the elbows to remain above the shoulders rather than dropping forward. If the elbows do drop forward you’ll work your biceps, not your triceps.
When the arms are extended, aim to have long elbow joints as opposed to locked ones as doing so will protect your joints and work the triceps smarter.
If you need some equipment to get started then check out the range of kettlebells in our online shop: Kettlebells