Wrist tension - The hands should be in a neutral position (knuckles facing the ceiling) and in line with the forearms. Don't let the hands bend back into extension because it can cause inflammation and soreness in the inner elbows (medial epicondyle) near the bony area. Without a doubt, inflammation and soreness can cause even the best of exercises to suddenly become, as Dave Draper says, "the mean- faced Reaper of Injury and Pain." Maintain proper wrist tension!
Arms, Shoulders, & Hips - Should be in alignment under the bar to support the weight. The shoulders are squared and facing forward.
Traps - Taut. Back - Flat and tensed. Chest - held high. Abs - tensed. Legs - Completely extended, knees locked (some body builders prefer a soft lock in the knees). Feet - Shoulder width apart or wider and parallel to each other.
Lowering the Barbell:
~ Inhale a deep breath of air through your mouth, into your lungs. Hole the air in from the commencement (start) of the french press.
~ Now, in a very controlled and precise manner, start flexing (bending) at the elbow joints and begin to lower the EZ-bar downward and backward in a semicircular arc behind your head.
~ As the forearms begin to fold downward, make a conscious effort to keep the elbows high (pointing toward the ceiling) and in line with your shoulders (or at least as straight up and down as your shoulder joint flexibility will allow). The elbows should be parallel (equal distance apart) to each other as this will help relieve elbow strain somewhat.
Continue Lowering the Barbell:
~ Continue lowering (forearms folding downward) the EZ-bar down behind the head to the "bottom-stretch position." This is achieved when the forearms reach a parallel to the floor position or slightly beyond, until you feel a good stretch contraction in the triceps.
Extending the Bar Upward:
~ Begin smoothly, with the powerful triphammer action of your triceps, pressing the EZ-bar by extending (unfolding) the forearms upward (from the bottom-stretch position) in a semicircle to an overhead, arms-locked position. It is important always to fully extend the forearms at the top end of the movement, with poised deliberation, so that they are in line with the upper arm. Doing this will shorten the anconeus (a small muscle located at the elbow joint) and maximally contract the long head of the triceps.
~ Exhale forcefully the air from your lungs approximately two thirds of the way to the overhead arms-extended position.
~ Inhale another breath of air and continue performing to completion the next rep(s) of the assigned methodic.
~ Lower the EZ-bar behind your head with you in control of its descent. Don't lower it too quickly; you could end up irritating your elbows.
~ Relative to the above suggestions, don't go so heavy that your form (technique-emphasis) deteriorates.
~ Generally, lowering the bar to the bottom-stretch position should take twice as long as extending the EZ-bar back to lockout overhead. An example would be to lower the bar at a 4-second count and extend it up in 2 seconds.
The Standing EZ-Bar French Press can be executed effectively in other ways: Lying (supine) - This variation is usually done on a flat exercise bench. A safer means would be to lie on the floor, the advantage being a spotter or helper is not generally needed. Other ways are Seated Upright (back supported), Inclined (45O), Declined, and Kneeling.
I have personally used all four variations, but there is one that I found to be the most effective. I would sit on the floor with my mid/lower back supported against the end of a secured flat exercise bench, legs outstretched. A training partner would straddle the bench from behind me and hand me the loaded bar at the required start position for a particular training methodic.
If you lack flexibility in your shoulders you will find it to your advantage to forego the Standing, Seated (on a bench of floor), and kneeling postures in favor of the Lying and Inclined (45O) EZ-bar French Press.
As Dave Draper (author of the book Brother Iron, Sister Steel--see www.davedraper.com on the Internet), the blond bomber, has said on many occasions, "tendinitis prowls." If at any time you experience soreness in the inner elbow (medial epicondyle) and/or outer elbow (lateral epicondyle), initiate Cryokinetic Ice Massage (Physical Restoration Modality) mentioned in this Special Big Arms Report.
Perform the Standing EZ-Bar French Press as described, and your triceps can't help but swell with incredible thickness and power.
For those of you wondering about the rationale for using an EZ-bar instead of a conventional straight bar, it is simply this: Many bodybuilders prefer to use the EZ-bar for extension movements because it gives more comfort by providing dramatic pain relief in the wrists and lessens torque in the elbows, within any variation of the barbell French Press.