Main Muscle Worked: Triceps
Equipment: Cable or Resistance Band
What are Tricep Pushdowns?
You might have noticed that “Triceps Pushdowns” – a common cable exercise for the arms – can be done in a variety of ways. Aside from the fact that there are lots of possible handles one can use, as we see people in the gym using all sorts of different attachments.
Tricep Pushdowns or also known as tricep cable pushdown or tricep rope pushdown are one of the first exercises most lifters learn, and for good reason. Whether you perform them with a bar or a rope, Pushdowns—often called Tricep Extensions, they help you build massive muscles along the back of your arms as triceps make up more than half of the arm.
That is, of course, if you perform the move correctly.
For extra safety and support I recommend buying a pair of wrist straps as they help a lot, the ones I use are here: Wrist straps
Muscles Worked in Tricep Pushdowns
Benefits of Tricep Pushdowns
Improved Lockout Strength
The triceps are responsible for elbow extension and elbow/shoulder/wrist stability in the extended position, both of those are necessary for a strong lockout in the bench press, overhead press, and all of the overhead loaded positions
Increased Upper Body Mass
The tricep pushdown can help to increase upper body arm size, enhance general pressing strength, and ultimately improve performance of the shoulders and chest muscles as they are often the secondary muscle group worked for most mass building movements like the bench press, push press, push ups, dips and more.
The triceps make up more than half of the arm, making them Important muscle groups to train for increased arm size and development. While the biceps curl is important, you should also be sure to prioritize single joint triceps work via the triceps pushdown to further enhance muscle growth.
How to do Tricep Pushdowns
- 1. Connect a cable bar attachment to a pulley machine.
- 2. Whilst keeping your elbows close to your stomach and shoulders pinned back, grip the bar with a pronated grip (palms facing downwards) shoulder width apart. Your feet should be positioned relatively close whilst your knees are allowed a slight bend also.
- 3. Leaning slightly forwards, exhale your breath and push the bar down using only your triceps until the bar hits your hip/upper thigh region. At this point, the arms should be fully extended and there should be considerable stress or tension placed on the triceps muscle.
- 4. Throughout the movement, your shoulders and arms should be still and the forearms should be the only muscle group moving.
- 5. Squeeze the triceps for 1 to 2 seconds and allow the muscles to sufficiently contract.
- 6. Then, as you inhale your breath, slowly release the bar back to the starting position.
Repeat for desired amount of reps
Mistakes commonly made in the Tricep Pushdown
Not Using Both Sides Equally
When performing the triceps pushdown you should check to be sure that you are pushing down smoothly and evenly with both arms.
Too Heavy Weights
The tricep pushdown is an exercise where you should never lift weights that would cause you to fail at the end of a set and prevent you from doing the last few reps, this can stress the joints and sometimes even lead to injury.
Your Elbows Stick Out
You should not allow your elbows to stick outward on the downward push during the tricep pushdown. This is because it negates the work on your triceps and places unwanted stress on your shoulders.
Safety when performing Tricep Pushdowns
Be very careful on this exercise if you have a current or past elbow injury or if you develop persistent elbow soreness.
You should talk to your doctor or physical therapist if you have had a previous injury or condition involving your elbows to see if this exercise is suitable for you.
Variations of Tricep Pushdowns
If your gym has the cable and pulley machine used in this exercise, then it should also have a selection of grip attachments. You may see a straight bar, rope, or ones with bends in them, such as the E-Z bar and V-angled bar. These are used in the same way, but you may find one more comfortable to use than another.
The tricep pushdown can be done one-handed or with both hands. A two-handed attachment will work whether you’re on a machine or using a resistance band. Doing one arm at a time allows you to slow down and focus on correcting poor form. It can also be useful if one arm is recovering from an injury or you have one side that is generally weaker than the other.
Resistance band tricep pushdown
If you aren’t part of a gym or if your gym doesn’t have a pushdown machine, try using a resistance band to do the workout at home or while traveling. You’ll also need something sturdy above your head, like a metal bar, rod, or hook.
If you need a high quality resistance band one can be purchased from here: Resistance band
- 1. Place a resistance band around the secure point (at least at chin-height, if not over your head).
- 2. Grip the ends of the resistance band with both hands (palms facing in) just below chest height.
- 3. Keep your elbows tight into your side and drive your hands down towards your waist.
- 4. Lock your arms out and hold for a second and then bring your hands back up to just below chest height.
Repeat for desired reps
Write below in the comments your opinion on the tricep pushdown, if it works for you and any questions you might have.