How to Do the Triceps Pushdown for Bigger Arms


Acquired a cable machine? You then’ve received entry to one of the crucial basic workout routines to straight goal and isolate the triceps. The triceps pushdown, typically referred to as a pressdown, is completely suited to rookies and skilled lifters alike.

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The cable’s pulley system places pressure — and many it — proper the place it belongs. All that you must do is straighten your arms and build some muscle. Okay, there’s somewhat extra to it than that. Listed here are all the small print.

Tips on how to Do the Triceps Cable Pushdown

The cable pushdown is fairly easy. To place most pressure on the triceps and decrease involvement of different muscle tissue, your elbows ought to stay pinned to your sides as you lengthen your arms down. Right here’s a extra in-depth have a look at learn how to get arrange and learn how to get essentially the most out of the train.

Step 1 — Set Up On the Pulley Station

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Connect a straight bar to a high-cable pulley. Seize the bar with each fingers in a palm-down grip. Take a small step again right into a staggered stance. This will provide you with extra total-body stability, particularly when utilizing heavier weights.

Bend your knees barely and tighten your core. Pull your elbows towards your ribs to lift the burden from the stack. Your fingers needs to be roughly consistent with your chest, able to carry out the primary rep.

Kind Tip: The farther you progress from the burden stack, the extra your again and shoulders muscle tissue can be engaged to maintain your elbows pinned to your ribs. The cable operating from the deal with to the pulley needs to be at a slight angle.

Step 2 — Straighten Your Arms

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Squeeze your higher arms into your sides and faux you might be gluing them in place. Push straight down with each fingers till your arms are straight however not absolutely locked. This maintains slight pressure on the muscle and will increase the muscle-building stimulus. Maintain your fingers consistent with your forearm with out bending your wrists.

Kind Tip: Maintain a robust, tall posture and an engaged core. It is best to solely be shifting on the elbows, not on the waist, as you drive the weights down.

Step 3 — Bend Your Arms to Decrease the Weight

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From the almost locked out place, bend your arms and slowly return your fingers upwards. Maintain your elbows caught to your ribs. When your fingers are within the prime place, the weights needs to be hovering barely above the remainder of the stack. If the weights relaxation fully on the stack, alter your stance and take a really small step backwards.

Kind Tip: Don’t enable the weights to drag your elbows ahead. Tense your abs, grip the deal with onerous to have interaction your grip and management the bar, and pull your shoulder blades again to maintain a secure physique place.

Triceps Cable Pushdown Errors to Keep away from

The cable pushdown requires tightness and stability by way of your complete physique. This could be a profit as a result of conserving your again, shoulders, arms, abs, and legs absolutely engaged builds muscular coordination.

Nonetheless, this total-body recruitment additionally creates a number of alternatives for method issues to happen. Listed here are essentially the most important points to observe for.

Misaligned Posture

Hunching ahead or arching your again when lifting or reducing the burden will stop you from absolutely stabilizing your core. You possibly can’t tense your abs successfully with no impartial backbone.

person in gym bent forward holding handle attached to cable
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Having an unstable or angled higher physique reduces your means to regulate the motion. When your arms and torso aren’t vertical, you’re working by way of a distinct angle of resistance and recruiting completely different muscle tissue. Extra importantly, a scarcity of core stability means you would damage your again.

Keep away from It: Stabilize your posture and alignment earlier than every rep. Pull your core muscle tissue up and in. Staggering your ft also can reinforce a robust higher physique place as a result of it will increase decrease physique stability, which is transferred by way of the higher physique.

Shifting on the Shoulder

The first motion needs to be out of your elbows, not out of your shoulders. When your shoulders work to maneuver the burden, stress is taken off your triceps and shifted onto your deltoids (shoulders) and higher again.

Bodybuilder in gym performing triceps cable exercise
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Don’t enable shoulder rotation to flare your elbows. In case your elbows level sideways to the partitions as an alternative of behind you, you’ve shifted out of place.

Keep away from It: Verify your elbow creases. In the event that they flip in, tightness in your shoulders or chest could also be pulling your arms ahead. Begin practising shoulder and chest flexibility workout routines to loosen up the world. Maintain the shoulder and higher arms locked into place. Maintain your elbows pinned to your sides and concentrate on if/when your elbows begin to come ahead.

Bending Your Wrists

Don’t let your wrists crane again or bend ahead. Doing so will increase pressure on the smaller wrist joint and will increase the danger of harm. Maintain your fingers consistent with your forearms, with a straight line out of your elbow to your knuckles.

long-haired person in gym performing triceps cable exercise
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Keep away from It: If breaking on the wrist is a matter for you, contemplate a glove with wrist wraps or wrist wraps. This exterior assist reminds you to maintain the joints in line. Gripping the bar onerous, as an alternative of passively urgent by way of your fingers, also can reinforce a secure hand place.

Advantages of the Triceps Cable Pushdown

The cable pushdown locations the triceps muscle below fixed pressure throughout the set. This lengthy period of muscular stress is a key issue answerable for muscle development. (1)

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Pushdowns are a foundational triceps train, permitting lifters to focus solely on their triceps, which may enhance the mind-muscle connection for higher activation and development. (2)

Higher Physique Power

The triceps play a job within the majority of higher physique workout routines, both aiding in chest and shoulder pressing movements or as stabilizers throughout pulling movements. Rising triceps-specific power with cable pushdowns can carry over to improved strength in bigger higher physique workout routines.

Aesthetic Muscle-Constructing

Cable pushdowns works all three heads of the triceps muscle, creating well-balanced muscle development. The triceps are labored by way of a full vary of movement with fixed pressure, making the pushdown an environment friendly technique to straight goal the tris.

Muscle groups Labored by Triceps Cable Pushdown

The triceps cable pushdown is primarily for the triceps, although a number of muscle teams stabilize the higher physique and permit appropriate efficiency.

person in gym performing cable pressdown exercise for triceps
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If different muscle tissue get fatigued earlier than the triceps throughout a set of pushdowns, it’s an indicator that your method is off. Cut back the burden and be extra centered on making use of correct type.

Triceps Brachii

The triceps is a three-headed muscle answerable for elbow extension, or straightening the arm. It’s made up of the lateral and medial heads, which connect on the higher arm and under the elbow, and the lengthy head which attaches to the shoulder blade and under the elbow. (3) As a result of the lengthy head runs alongside the shoulder joint and attaches to the shoulder blade, it is usually activated throughout shoulder actions when the higher arm is raised.

Pectoralis Main

The pectoralis main, or pecs, are the primary chest muscle. The pecs are answerable for pulling your arms towards the centerline of your physique. Whereas the chest isn’t a main mover throughout pushdowns, it’s labored statically to offer higher physique stability and to maintain your elbows by your sides, significantly within the locked out place.

Higher Again

The higher again muscle tissue embody the trapezius, rhomboids, teres, and rear deltoids. This assortment of muscle tissue work in comparable roles to regulate the shoulder blades, shoulder place, and posture. Throughout cable pushdowns, the higher again is very activated to stabilize your higher physique and preserve a secure higher arm place because the decrease arm strikes the burden.

Who Ought to Do the Triceps Cable Pushdown

The pushdown can be utilized by any lifter seeking to emphasize their triceps. The motion could be applied into strength-building applications, in addition to any arm day or muscle-specific routine designed to construct dimension.


Whenever you’re first studying learn how to practice varied muscle tissue of the physique, the triceps cable pushdown is a helpful motion to begin with as a result of it isolates the muscle group. This focused work permits new lifters to really feel the muscle working all through your complete vary of movement.

Coaching for Muscle Progress

Whether or not you’re a physique competitor or coaching for basic aesthetics, this train might help to construct to triceps. Elevated triceps activation with out interference from different muscle tissue stimulates higher muscle development within the goal muscle main, merely, to greater arms.

Tips on how to Program the Triceps Cable Pushdown

The triceps cable pushdown is straightforward to implement into most routines so long as you’ve gotten entry to a cable machine. The train isn’t well-suited to extraordinarily heavy weights and low-rep units, as a result of strict type turns into unmanageable and extra muscle tissue are recruited. Nonetheless, gentle or average weights could be extremely efficient for muscle development because of the excessive pressure offered by the cables.

Average Weight, Average Reps

Coaching the cable pushdown with three to 4 units of eight to 12 reps is a traditional muscle-building method. This can be a time-tested technique to pack on triceps dimension and construct bigger arms.

Gentle Weight, Excessive Reps

Utilizing the pushdown as a finisher or burnout is a really high-intensity technique to finish any arm exercise. One or two units of 15 to 25 reps, reaching muscular failure on the final rep, is a superb technique for rising coaching quantity. The lighter weights make this method is especially helpful for lifters who want to attenuate joint pressure.

Paired with Biceps Coaching

As a result of the cable pushdown requires minimal setup, one extraordinarily efficient technique to program the train is to superset it with any biceps train. By alternating between a biceps curl and triceps pushdown, you’ll be able to rapidly and effectively practice your complete arm with excessive depth.

Triceps Cable Pushdown Variations

The triceps pushdown is extraordinarily versatile. With a easy adjustment of the deal with attachment, you’ll be able to change issues up, add an additional problem, and work the triceps in barely alternative ways.

Rope Pushdown

Utilizing a rope attachment places your fingers in a impartial (thumbs-up) grip, which could be useful for lifters coping with wrist or elbow ache as a result of it locations the muscle tissue round these joints in a stronger place, which relieves stress on the joints.

Whereas this variation doesn’t essentially recruit the triceps muscle otherwise, it presents a barely longer vary of movement. The fingers start shut collectively within the prime place and flare out to the perimeters within the backside place. Your elbows ought to stay caught to your ribs, solely your fingers ought to transfer.

Reverse-Grip Pushdown

The reverse-grip pushdown isn’t usually seen in gyms, however it may be an efficient variation to strengthen strict type. With a supinated (palm-up) grip, swinging your torso is much less efficient for the reason that bar is simply held in place together with your fingers, in comparison with a safer a palm-down grip which covers the bar together with your complete hand.

This underhand grip additionally reinforces correct elbow place as a result of it turns into harder to flare your elbows out with this setup.

Single-Arm Pushdown

Performing a single-arm pushdown emphasizes every particular person arm throughout a set. This one-sided consideration helps to combat power and muscular discrepancies which will develop from over-focusing on bilateral (simultaneous two-arm) workout routines.

Single-arm pushdowns could be carried out with a single-handle, a rope attachment, or no deal with in any respect holding simply the attachment anchor.

Triceps Cable Pushdown Options

Should you don’t have entry to a cable pulley, there are nonetheless loads of efficient choices to work your triceps. It’s at all times enjoyable to combine it up, and it’s necessary to problem the muscle tissue in numerous methods.

Diamond Push-Up

The diamond push-up, or close-grip push-up, is a dependable bodyweight exercise to emphasise the triceps. The slim hand place recruits extra triceps and comparatively much less chest muscle tissue to finish the motion.

That is one other extraordinarily environment friendly train to alternate with biceps coaching to create a fast arm-building exercise. Carry out any set of curls, drop and carry out diamond push-ups, relaxation briefly, and repeat.

Triceps Kickback

This dumbbell motion is commonly carried out with very gentle weights for very excessive reps. Nonetheless, sustaining good type whereas shifting tougher weights within the 10-12 rep vary could be a critical muscle-building train.

The secret’s to maintain your elbows caught to your ribs and never recruit the again or shoulder muscle tissue to maneuver the weights. You possibly can improve the time below pressure and muscle-building stimulus for the triceps by pausing within the prime place for a full one or two seconds.

Dumbbell Cranium Crusher

This train works the triceps in a barely completely different aircraft of movement, with the arms perpendicular to the physique as an alternative of alongside the torso. This could barely change the muscle recruitment of various triceps heads and result in a brand new muscle-building stimulus. (4)

Utilizing dumbbells additionally permits extra freedom for the wrist and elbows to maneuver, which may cut back pressure on the joints. Maintain the dumbbells consistent with your shoulders. Within the backside place, the weights needs to be close to your ears.


Do I must work my triceps particularly?

Whereas the triceps are labored actively throughout most chest and shoulder workout routines, in addition to serving a supportive function throughout most again workout routines, direct triceps coaching is important for max muscle development.

The triceps additionally play a purposeful function in lots of each day actions, from closing a automotive door to getting up off the bottom after falling. Constructing the triceps particularly, inside a complete coaching program, can play a important function in bettering general purposeful power.

What if my arms can’t keep by my sides?

A bodily incapability to maintain your arms at your sides in opposition to resistance could also be attributable to chest or shoulder immobility. When the chest or shoulders are excessively tight, they wish to pull the arms ahead and inward.


Performing a easy doorway chest stretch each day is one environment friendly place to begin. As well as, work on  general posture and alignment to encourage general power and stability.

Get Down with Pushdowns

The triceps cable pushdown is such a fundamental and efficient motion within the fitness center, it’s straightforward to pepper into your exercise routine. Utilizing strict type and a full vary of movement will add dimension to your triceps, assist to maintain your elbows and shoulders wholesome, and assist your whole massive urgent targets.


  1. Burd NA, Andrews RJ, West DW, et al. Muscle time below pressure throughout resistance train stimulates differential muscle protein sub-fractional artificial responses in males. J Physiol. 2012;590(2):351-362. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2011.221200
  2. Calatayud J, Vinstrup J, Jakobsen MD, Sundstrup E, Brandt M, Jay Ok, Colado JC, Andersen LL. Significance of mind-muscle connection throughout progressive resistance coaching. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2016 Mar;116(3):527-33. doi: 10.1007/s00421-015-3305-7. Epub 2015 Dec 23. PMID: 26700744.

  3. Kholinne, E., Zulkarnain, R. F., Solar, Y. C., Lim, S., Chun, J. M., & Jeon, I. H. (2018). The completely different function of every head of the triceps brachii muscle in elbow extension. Acta orthopaedica et traumatologica turcica52(3), 201–205.

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