HomeExercise LibraryHow To: Cable Triceps Kickback

How To: Cable Triceps Kickback

Cable Triceps Kickback
The cable triceps kickback is a light weight isolation exercise targeting the long head of the triceps.
Provided you're performing the kickback with strict form (which most guys don't!) you'll find this extension provides solid growth for the long head of the triceps.

As the kickback is a lightweight isolation exercise I recommend performing it towards the end of your arm workout, after your heavy presses and dips.

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Triceps

Required: Cable Machine

Optional: Attachment Handle

Cable Triceps Kickback Form

Grip a cable pulley in each hand with your palms facing in towards your body, your back should be straight while you lean forward and maintain a slight bend in your knees.

Starting with your arms tucked in close to your body while your upper and lower arm form a 90 degree angle.

Without moving your upper arm proceed to flex and drive through your triceps to extend the weight until your arms are essentially straight (only your forearm should be moving to achieve this).

Hold this contraction for 1 second.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Cable Triceps Kickback Variations

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Grasp a dumbbell in one hand while supporting yourself against a bench or bar with the other hand.
While your upper arm remains stationary proceed to kickback the dumbbell and contract the triceps.

See also
How To: Barbell Overhead Press

Dumbbell Ski-Jumpers

Perform a dumbbell kickback with 2 dumbbells simultaneously - ensure you're not swinging backward or utilizing momentum.

Common Cable Triceps Kickback Mistakes


Utilizing A Partial Range Of Motion

There's no reason to work in a small range of motion on your close grip bench press, opt to lower the bar ALL the way down to your chest before driving through the triceps until they're locked out at the top of the movement.
Partial range of motion = partial triceps activation.

Flaring Your Elbows Out

When performing any triceps exercise, whether it be a dumbbell overhead triceps extension or a rope pushdown it’s imperative you keep your elbows tucked in by your sides.
Flaring your elbows outwards is often a sign that the weight is too heavy (as you’re trying to muscle the shoulders in to assist with moving the weight).
Flaring the elbows on triceps exercise places your shoulders at a high risk of injury not to mention you’re only going to applying a small amount of tension to the triceps as the shoulders are trying to take over and lift the weight.

If you find yourself constantly flaring your elbows lower the weight and consciously practise tucking your elbows in to your side on each repetition until it becomes natural.

See also
How To: Lat Pulldown

Lifting Too Light

If you don’t generally train in the lower rep range I recommend you give it a try, stop lifting in the 10 – 15 rep range for at least a month and focus on heavy, low rep sets. Once you start to see results you won’t want to go back.

Now, you may still think high reps are beneficial, but let me tell you they’re far from it.

High repetitions result in increased stress on your CNS, increase in localized inflammation and increased soreness.

“Movements or exercises that do not give the muscle the required resistance, but are the kind that involve a great number of repetitions, never break down any tissue, to speak of. These movements involve a forcing process that cause the blood to swell up the muscle, and simply pump them up”– George F. Jowett, 1926

Similar & Substitute Exercises 

  • Dumbbell Triceps Kickback
  • Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Overhead Extension
  • Close Grip Push-ups

Any Questions Regarding The Cable Triceps Kickback? Ask Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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