Muscle Group: Triceps
The California Press is a combo of a Skull Crusher going into a Close Grip Bench Press. The California Press received its name due to its popularity in California. I have never honestly seen this exercise done in Canada, so that’s saying something.
A good starting weight would be about halfway in between what you might use for a Close Grip Bench Press. As with any new exercise, start light, get the form down and go from there. As an example, if you normally use 100 pounds for Skull Crushers and 200 pounds for a Close Grip Bench Press, you might want to start with 150 pounds for California Pressing.
First, get in the same position as you would a Close Grip Bench Press. Keeping your grip in close, 6-8 inches, and start to lower the barbell to the upper pecs as if you were doing the eccentric (negative) part of a Skull Crusher (lying triceps extension). Instead of lowering the bar to your forehead, you’re actually lowering it to your neck.
At the bottom of the movement, your forearms should come into contact with your biceps and the bar will be above your neck. From this position, pull the bar to your lower chest and then push the bar away from your chest as if you were doing the concentric (positive) portion of a Close Grip Bench Press.
Remember to keep your elbows in tight during this exercise.