Improve Your Triceps Strength With The JM press

When legendary lifter, JM Blakley was training at Westside Barbell and crushing everyone in his path on the bench press, the guys noticed he was doing this unusual lift as part of his accessory routine.

It was part close grip bench press; part skull crusher and they had seen nothing like it before. So, they asked him how to do it and then some started doing it.  Those who did loved it.

However, there was one problem. They had to name it.

And the JM press was born.

This was the only triceps accessory exercise JM Blakley used when he benched 300 Kg in the 140 Kg weight class at the 1998  World Power Congress World Championships.

JM Blakley

Reportedly, JM’s best JM Press was 245 kg x3.

JM Blakey was flat out beast.

So, if you’re looking to improve your bench press numbers and improve your lockout strength, you’ll be well advised to try the JM press.

Let JM explain how it’s done.

Jm Press – Image via @The Strength Archives Youtube

How to set up and perform the JM Press

  1. Start the exercise the same way as close grip bench press except make sure the barbell is directly above the upper chest. Imagine running a line down from the barbell to the upper pecs.
  2. Set up with a narrow grip of 16 inches apart. False or regular grip. Whatever is comfortable for you.
  3. The elbows are 45 degrees from body and are kept up the entire time.
  4. As you’re bringing the barbell towards you, cock the wrist to hold the bar in place.
  5. Lower the bar down until the forearm touches your bicep. Let the bar roll back about one inch to keep the elbows pointed forward and up. Then press the bar back up.

JM Press considerations

Heavy strength partial range of motion exercises like the JM Press, it is advisable to limit it to 4- 6 weeks training cycles because anything more than that may lead to over-training.

JM Press is heavier than your normal bench press accessory work due to the reduced range of motion and you might get carried away with the weight on the bar and overdo it.

So, don’t do that.

The triceps are connected to two smaller joints the shoulder and elbow. And loading the triceps heavy in a shortened range of motion may lead to inflammation and general soreness in the shoulder and elbow joints.

If you have any elbow or shoulder issues, it’s advisable to stay away from this exercise.


JM Press variations

Smith Machine

Although the Smith Machine is frowned upon for other strength exercises, it’s great for the JM Press because the straight bar path of the smith machine does some of the work for you.

And this is perfect for loading the triceps heavy while safely maintaining a training effect.

Reverse Bands

Attaching bands to the top of the power rack and around the barbell is easier on the elbows when flexed and makes in harder during the last part of the press, which is perfect for lockout strength.

Having the reverse band set up allows you to overload the movement because of the slingshot effect of the stretched band.

JM Press from the floor with chains

The accommodating resistance of the chains helps relieve pressure on the elbows when flexed, at the bottom of the movement much like the reverse bands.

However, when the chains are lifted from the floor, it increases the resistance on the triceps to help improve lockout strength and increase hypertrophy. This is a win-win for your bench and gun show.

The benefits of having strong triceps

Besides having big arms and improving your lockout strength on pressing exercises, there is another benefit to having strong triceps.

They also act as a shoulder stabilizer.

This is because of where the triceps are attached to the humerus and scapula.  It helps stabilize the shoulder and almost every muscle that attaches to the shoulder joint plays a role in shoulder stability.

The shoulder has a large range of motion and has the ability to move in several different directions. All this mobility means it’s relatively unstable joint (compared to the other joints) and the triceps play a role in shoulder stability.

However, to improve shoulder stability via the triceps, make sure to train all three heads of the triceps, the lateral, medial and long head, which the next section will show.

Triceps tri-set for strength, hypertrophy and shoulder stability

1A.  Triceps cable or band pushdown. 12- 15 reps

Keep the weight on the lighter side and do this at a controlled tempo. This will get the blood moving around the elbow joint

1B. JM Press 4-6 reps for strength. 8-12 for hypertrophy

Use a variation that is safe for you and feels good on your elbow and shoulder joint.

1C.  Overhead cable or band triceps extension 12-15 reps

Doing a full ROM triceps exercise after a partial one will help keep the elbow joint happy. And this trains the long head of the triceps that the other exercises didn’t.

Wrapping up

Triceps play an important role in all pressing exercises; the gun show and shoulder stability. The JM Press is a great exercise to add to your arsenal to improve your lockout strength and the size of your upper arms.

Go on and flex. You know you want too.

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