Developing well shaped, strong arms involves excellent technique and exercise variation. The California press is essentially like doing a Hooter Crusher – lowering a barbell to the bridge of the nose and back – but lowering the bar to the top of the chest instead.
As with the majority of arm exercises, for best results, keep the movement at the elbow joint only, so as the bar lowers to the upper chest, the elbows stay up instead of lowering as they would in a chest press.
In the video, the first rep is his best – this is a tough variation of a triceps extension! – the bar just touches his chest, his wrists stay reasonably straight and his elbows high. These are the principal tips of getting the most out of this exercise.
He then demonstrates a variation of the California Press where the bar is lowered to the upper chest, then slid down the chest and pushed up from the lower sternum making the exercise considerably easier. Muscles are much stronger during their lowering phase, so this variation makes use of that and can be useful in overcoming strength plateaus.