I want to do french press exercise, I want to use 1 dumbbell.

Note: It doesn't matter to this question if the exercise is done lying , or sitting, it's the same issue for both.

I'm interested in the following problem: When gripping the dumbbell my hands are necessarily in a asymmetrical position, there is no way to grip symmetrically as far as I know (you can provide me counterexamples). So the problem is, the force done by each arm and hand could be really different, how to minimize this difference? Grip very strong with my hands? Alternate hand task left and right every new series?

Another option is use a barbell in which then I can position my hands symmetrically, and thus the problem is gone, or to use two dumbbells, one for each hand.

Note 2: This guy(this is a timestamp, you need to see 10 seconds of the video only) has a dumbbell with weights with large diameter, so he can position his hand in hand triangle, which seems a good grip, do you agree?

  • 2
    You answered your own question in note 2. Use a 'hand triangle'.
    – John
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 7:44
  • @JJosaur The problem is that the dumbbells in some gyms have diameter too small for that. The only way is to put one hand front and one back. Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 18:01

2 Answers 2


You are quite right: some dumbbells are too small to allow a triangle hold, so the hands must overlap. When the hands overlap to a significant extent, it's difficult (impossible?) to tell whether the arms are providing equal forces.

It such cases, I would consider using an EZ-Curl bar or a fixed-weight bar instead of a dumbbell. You can space your hands on opposite sides of the center of the bar, with perhaps two hand-widths of bare bar between your hands. When you do a French press with this set-up, unequal forces from the arms will cause noticeable rotation of the bar, which you can correct as you move.

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review
    – Alec
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 7:38
  • You're right, @Alec. I have expanded/substantiated the answer. Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 17:07
  • Nice! Looks a bit more helpful now.
    – Alec
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 17:15
  • @CCCV At least this ensures the force is the same, wich is important in the exercise! Of course, this is unconfortable to do in the gym becauses it takes more space and it uses a equipment more rare (there are less EZ bars than dumbells) but it solves the equal force problem, wich is wonderful. Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 19:19

Standing Unilateral Dumbbell Tricep Extensions

Lying Unilateral Dumbbell Tricep Extensions

Source: weighttraining.guide

  • Thank you for contributing, though, in my post I'm referencing the same exercise you picture, but with two hand grip instead of one, that is to say, working both triceps in each arm. The title is clear in this, it says: "How to grip the dumbbell in french press, so I apply even force in both hands?". I hope you don't feel bad about this, cheers! Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 19:15
  • Oh my mistake. I saw the comment " The problem is that the dumbbells in some gyms have diameter too small for that." -- sounded like a triangle hand grip wouldn't work for you. I agree with CCCV's answer that being the case.
    – Mike-DHSc
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 2:35

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