The JM press is a highly effective exercise for developing bigger arms and increasing your bench press max. Your triceps, the muscle located at the rear of your arm that flexes your elbow, play a vital role in both of these goals. In order to lift more weight on the bench press, it’s important to focus on strengthening your lockout strength, the point in the range of motion where the triceps take over and lock out your elbows.
The JM press is a unique hybrid movement that combines the bench press and skull crusher movements to target the triceps muscle. It allows for a heavier weight to be lifted and has direct carryover to other horizontal pressing movements. If you’ve been stuck on a plateau in your bench press max for some time, incorporating the JM press into your workout plan may be the key to breaking through.
By strengthening your triceps with the JM press, you may be able to add 20-30 pounds to your bench press. In this article, you would learn how to perform this exercise correctly and its benefits.
What Is The JM Press?
The JM press is a unique exercise that combines the benefits of a close-grip bench press and a barbell skull crusher (triceps extension) to target the triceps muscle. It was created by powerlifter JM Blakely and has now become a popular exercise among strength athletes as an aid to their bench press training.
The close-grip bench press involves using a narrower grip than the conventional bench press which emphasizes triceps involvement over the chest and shoulders. The skull crusher is a triceps exercise in which the bar is lowered to the forehead, stretching the triceps to increase activation.
The JM press combines these two exercises by working the triceps in the range of motion they use to lock out the elbows in the last few inches of a bench press rep, when the weight is going up overhead. This makes it very specific to bench press gains and that’s why it’s popular among powerlifters. This exercise is great for building strong triceps and for increasing your bench press max. If you’re looking to break through a stubborn plateau in your bench press, incorporating the JM press into your training routine is a great option.
How To Do JM Press?
To perform the JM press you may follow the following steps:
Step 1: Utilize a bench press station or lie down on a bench that is situated within a power rack. Ensure that you have positioned yourself in such a manner that the barbell is located behind your head when it is racked.
Step 2: Grasp the barbell with hands placed roughly shoulder-width apart. For most individuals, this will mean hands positioned 15-16 inches apart. To maintain the highest level of safety, keep your thumbs wrapped around the barbell.
Step 3: Unrack the barbell, and begin with your arms fully extended overhead. Verify that the barbell is stacked over your wrists and forearms. Avoid allowing your wrists to roll backward into extension.
Step 4: Tuck your elbows approximately 45 degrees from your sides and direct them forward (toward your feet). They should remain in front of the barbell throughout the exercise. Slowly lower the barbell under control, straight down to a point between the very top of your upper chest and your chin.
Step 5: The range of motion is complete when your forearms and biceps touch each other. For individuals with larger arms (specifically large biceps), the stopping point will be roughly 90 degrees of elbow flexion; others may go past 90 degrees, but there is no need to touch the barbell all the way to your chin/throat/upper chest.
Step 6: From the bottom of the rep, extend your elbows to explosively press the barbell straight up. Actively flex your wrists as you lower the barbell to keep them straight, and maintain that tension as you press the barbell upward. Remember to “cock your wrists up a bit, then punch your hands toward the ceiling.”
JM Press Pro Tips
When incorporating the JM press into your workout routine, it is essential to start with a light weight and high reps to allow your body to become accustomed to the movement. This will also help to keep your triceps tendons healthy. As you become more comfortable with the exercise, you can gradually increase the weight and lower the reps to push your triceps to their limits and achieve muscle growth.
It is also recommended to use the JM press as a secondary movement after your main press exercises. This will help to target the triceps muscle after it has already been fatigued by other exercises, resulting in maximum muscle activation.
What Are The Top 5 Benefits Of JM Press?
- Increased Triceps Strength: The JM press is specifically designed to target the triceps muscle, which is responsible for elbow flexion and lockout strength. This exercise will help to increase the strength of the triceps, leading to an overall increase in upper body strength.
- Improved Bench Press: The JM press has a direct carryover to horizontal pressing movements such as the bench press. By strengthening the triceps muscle, the JM press can help to increase your bench press max.
- Targeted Triceps Growth: The JM press is a hybrid movement that combines the close-grip bench press and the skull crusher, which helps to target all heads of the triceps muscle, leading to increased muscle growth and definition.
- Increased Range of Motion: The JM press requires a specific arm angle that is different than a regular press, which allows for a greater range of motion in the triceps muscle. This increased range of motion can help to improve muscle activation and growth.
- Versatility: The JM press can be done with both a barbell or a dumbbell, which means it can be done at home or in a gym. Additionally, it can be used for both strength and hypertrophy training, making it a versatile exercise for any workout plan.
JM Press Common Mistakes
The JM press may look easy, but it can be a tricky move to master. If you’re new to it, make sure you’re not making any of these common mistakes.
First off, don’t go too heavy too soon. Since it’s similar to the bench press, you might be tempted to load up the bar with more weight than you would with a regular skull crusher. But, remember to increase the weight responsibly and make sure your form is on point with your wrists in a neutral position. If you’re struggling to maintain the positions required, lower the weight and build up your strength before moving on to heavier weights.
Another mistake is using too much press. This exercise is a hybrid between the skull crusher and the close-grip bench press, so the arm angle is different than a regular press. If you’re using too much weight, your body might try to compensate by pressing the bar instead of also “skull crushing” it. To avoid this, use a thumbless grip and keep the backs of your forearms parallel to the ground.
And on the flip side, some people might lean too much towards the skull crusher side of things instead of the hybrid move that is the JM press. If you find yourself doing this, try visualizing yourself doing a skull crusher and then lower the bar as you would with a bench press, keeping your arms in the same position. Press up, also from that position. This will help remind you to include the press element in the exercise.
JM Press Alternatives
If you are unable to perform the JM Press or looking for alternative exercises to target your triceps, there are several options available.
One option is the close grip bench press, which is a compound triceps exercise that works on all heads of the triceps brachii muscle. It is an excellent alternative to the JM press.
Another option is skull crushers, which are similar to the JM press but with the elbows beyond the 90-degree angle, focusing more on the long head of the triceps muscle. Additionally, tricep dips, bodyweight triceps extension and diamond pushups are also effective exercises to target your triceps. These exercises are all bodyweight exercises, which are great for building size and thickness of the triceps muscle.
The JM press is a highly effective exercise for targeting the triceps muscle, which is crucial for upper body strength and muscle growth. It is a hybrid movement that combines the close-grip bench press and the skull crusher, making it an excellent exercise for targeting all heads of the triceps muscle.
The JM press also has a direct carryover to horizontal pressing movements such as the bench press, which can help to increase your bench press max. Additionally, it offers a greater range of motion, making it an effective exercise for muscle activation and growth. The JM press can be done with both a barbell or dumbbell, making it a versatile exercise that can be done at home or in a gym, and for both strength and hypertrophy training.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.