Learning from the Masters: Behind the Neck Curl


One of my favorite triceps movements: Behind the neck curl also known as the overhead press or french press, triceps curl etc. Done right and you get a great stretch and contraction during the movement.

You also get great stimulation and development in the upper back, deltoids, biceps and abdominals. A staple movement in my training that I have a hard time switching out temporarily and a staple movement from past great old time bodybuilders.

“My second favorite triceps exercise is the movement popularized by Johnny McWilliams – the triceps curl, or as some call it, the french press.. Here, you stand upright, with a barbell held at arm’s length overhead. Your grip is narrow again . . . the same as in the first movement. From this arm’s length position you simply lower the barbell back of the head, again keeping the upper arms as immobile as possible. You will also find it best to have a training partner place his hand in the upper section of the back for support. You can do this movement two ways . . . in strict form and with slow and deliberate movements, or with a bouncing motion. And it is also good to force the reps by using a slight body movement or “push” to get the bar up when the last couple of reps get tough. Start off with a barbell you can use for 4 sets of 6 reps and as soon as you can do 4 sets of 10, increase the poundage and start back at 6 reps.” Reg Park, “Triceps Training” (1952)

Steve Reeves performing Behind the Neck Curl
Video: Steve Reeves performing Behind the Neck Curl
Steve Reeves and Alan Stephan flexing before mirror at gym in Los Angeles, California, circa 1948
Image: Steve Reeves and Alan Stephan flexing before mirror at gym in Los Angeles, California, circa 1948
Reg Park French Press
Image: Reg Park performing Behind the Neck Curl
Gladys Portugues performing Behind the Neck Curl
Image: Gladys Portugues performing Behind the Neck Curl

 

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