HomeExercise LibraryHow To: Triceps Pushdown

How To: Triceps Pushdown

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

As this 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 + Attachment

Optional: N/A

Triceps Pushdown Form:

Hold the straight bar on your cable machine with an overhand grip (your palms should be facing down).

Lean slightly forward while maintaining an overall upright position with your elbows tucked into your sides.

Flex your triceps as you push the straight bar down until your arms are fully extended, keep your upper arms in position while only your forearms are moving.

Hold the contracted position for 1 second.

Slowly begin to lower the straight bar up until it reaches lower chest height.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Triceps Pushdown Variations

Rope Pushdown

Utlizing a rope attachment while perform your triceps pushdowns, ensuring you seperate the rope as you contract at the bottom of each repetition to get maximum triceps engagement.

V Bar Pushdown

Utilize a V bar attachment for your triceps cable pushdowns, the V bar will allow you to utilize more weight than the straight bar or rope attachments, great for applying progressive overload to the triceps.

See also
How To: Chest Dips

Common Triceps Pushdown Mistakes

Neglecting Triceps

This is without a doubt the biggest arm training mistake I see. Period.
When it comes to building big arms the triceps are often neglected, with arm day consisting of a variety of different bicep curls and only one or two tricep exercises.
The triceps makes up 2/3 of your arm and has a far bigger overall impact on the size of your arm (especially when viewed side on).

Although the triceps are the secondary muscle group on exercises such as the barbell bench press when training chest in order to build impressive triceps they need to be hit directly with the right exercises such as the close grip bench press, skullcrushers and bodyweight (or weighted) dips.

Flaring Elbows On Triceps Exercises

When performing any tricep exercise, whether it be a dumbbell overhead tricep 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.

See also
How To: Seated Cable Row

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.

Arm Training Frequency Too High

it didn’t take me long to realize that training my arms every single day wasn’t getting me very far in terms of results given all the effort I was exerting.

Train smart.

The biceps act as the secondary muscle group when we’re training back, and the triceps act as the secondary muscle group when we’re training chest.
Training chest, back and one dedicated arm day per week (or triceps and biceps split up onto seperate days instead) is more than enough to build big, strong arms.

More isn’t always better – if you’re training frequency is any higher than this you may very well be hindering your own progress, like all other muscle groups the biceps and triceps require time to recover.

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.

See also
Chin Ups For Biceps - The Often Neglected Arm Exercise For Bulging Biceps

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 

  • Triceps Dips
  • Dumbbell Skull Crushers
  • Dumbbell Overhead Extension
  • Close Grip Push-up

Any Questions Regarding The Triceps Pushdown? 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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