Triceps Pushdown Guide: Correct Form, Tips, & Variations

“Curls for the girls, tris for the guys,” stated somebody within the gymnasium at one time in historical past. Probably. To be trustworthy, we’re unsure who made this assertion, however we do snort at what it’s suggesting, which is that having large biceps is principally what each man desires as a result of that’s the one muscle women speak about. It’s a flashy muscle that will get consideration and there’s nothing unsuitable with that. However, guys with developed triceps get the eye of different critical lifters as a result of it’s a great indicator of arduous work.

In this text, we’re going to speak about the most effective workout routines to develop this three-headed monster sitting on the again of your arm, the triceps pushdown. 

Note: This tricep pushdown information is for each women and men! Well developed, spectacular triceps look nice on everybody!

Table of contents:

Anatomy and performance of the triceps

Triceps pushdown type + widespread errors

Triceps pushdown variations

Triceps pushdown options

How to program triceps pushdowns into your routine

And in fact, you’ll discover a ton of different suggestions and methods for sleeve-busting triceps. We’ll even discover superior hyperlinks to different nice articles with top-level data on the triceps.

In order to know the train, we first want a greater understanding of the triceps muscle group and performance.

Anatomy & Function Of The Triceps 

The triceps consists of three completely different muscle heads, which all sit on the again of the higher arm. These three heads are:

Medial Head

Long Head

Lateral Head 

triceps pressdown

While all of them originate from completely different areas of the physique, all of them come collectively to type a single muscle stomach and share the identical insertion on the ulna, one of many two bones that compose the decrease arm (the opposite being the radius). While the first job of all three triceps muscle heads is to increase the elbow, they can even have barely completely different capabilities. 

Medial Head

triceps pushdown

Originating from the humerus, the medial head sits in the course of the triceps between the lengthy head and lateral head. It’s the smallest and least seen head as a great portion is roofed by the lateral and lengthy head. Further, it’s generally generally known as the “endurance head” because it has a better ratio of gradual twitch muscle fibers. Being so, it’s accountable for almost all of your day-to-day actions that require little pressure. However, it nonetheless contributes when a higher pressure is required.

Check out this extra in depth article on the medial head

Long Head

triceps pushdown muscles worked

The lengthy head is the shortest head of the three. 

No. No, it’s not. It’s the longest. 

Originating from the infraglenoid tubercle on the scapula, the lengthy head truly crosses the shoulder joint and elbow joint. This makes the triceps a bi-articular muscle. Further, this distance is what provides the lengthy head its size.

Therefore, the lengthy head is definitely accountable for extension of the shoulder, stabilization of the shoulder joint, and extension of the elbow. This makes the lengthy head essential throughout the triceps pushdown because it should maintain an isometric maintain on the shoulder to stabilize the arm whereas not pulling the arm again (elbow extension). At the identical time, it should prolong the elbow.

Check out one other article that particularly addresses the lengthy head of the triceps

Lateral Head

what muscles do tricep pushdowns work

Together with the lengthy head, the lateral head varieties what’s generally known as the “horseshoe” of the triceps muscle. This is the place the 2 converge in the direction of the highest of the muscle to type what seems to be like a horseshoe; nicely, if in case you have developed triceps.

The lateral head originates from the humerus and is named the powerhouse of the triceps. Out of all three heads, it’s accountable for creating essentially the most quantity of pressure and getting shit executed. Therefore, the lateral head will play a pivotal function within the triceps pushdown to maneuver essentially the most weight.

And we clearly have an article to provide the greatest workout routines for the lateral head too!

Benefits Of A Strong Set Of Triceps

No matter who you might be, you’ll want to have a robust set of triceps. Here are the highest causes you’ll want to do triceps pushdowns to strengthen and develop your triceps muscle. 

1. Fill Out Your Arm

If you’ve underdeveloped triceps, it’s going to indicate. A tough estimate means that the triceps make up about 65%-70% of the overall mass of the higher arm. This signifies that greater than half of your arm measurement is made up of your triceps muscle tissues; that’s rather a lot to disregard. By using the triceps pushdown to hit the triceps, you’ll make an enormous distinction within the aesthetics of your arm. No extra unfastened sleeves for you. 

But we will’t neglect in regards to the different half of the arm. Here are a few of the greatest workout routines to construct the biceps!

2. Improve Pushing Power

The triceps are the first extensor of the arms. This means it performs an important half in your pushing energy. In truth, when your main pushing actions just like the overhead press and bench press, the triceps are the first mover for the final portion of the actions, often known as the lockout. This is why a great portion of power athletes and powerlifters will use particular triceps strengthening actions, like excessive block presses, to enhance the power of their triceps.

In different phrases, you’re by no means going to be a robust pusher with weak triceps. It’s merely physiologically not possible.

3. Improve Stability Of The Elbow Joint

The elbow joint is a standard web site for accidents as we reside this sport known as life. In truth, an damage doesn’t simply come our method after we grow old; it may possibly occur anytime. One of the perfect methods to construct up this joint is to construct up the muscle tissues and tendons that encompass it. This contains the triceps. Loading the triceps goes to strengthen the tendons and ligaments that encompass the elbow joint, which means you get a two-for-one bonus right here. Plus, having stronger triceps will naturally can help you deal with extra shock and quantity earlier than having points. 

tricep pushdown form

Who Should Perform The Triceps Pushdown?

Anyone and everybody. Really. 

The triceps is an important muscle in athletics, aesthetics, and important life perform. In different phrases, everybody goes to profit from having stronger triceps and the triceps pushdown is an effective way to get that executed.  

Strength Athletes/Powerlifters: Above, we mentioned how strengthening the triceps goes to extend your pushing energy. This is of utmost significance in case you take part in a sport the place lifting heavy issues is the whole purpose. Some of those sports activities embrace powerlifting, Strongman, and Crossfit athletes. While heavy compound actions make up the majority of their coaching, taking time to handle this crucial motion will immediately enhance their efficiency. 

Bodybuilders/Aesthetics: The triceps pushdown is an especially versatile motion making it a should for any group of individuals, together with bodybuilders and aesthetic lifters. Again, one other good thing about triceps pushdowns we noticed above was for muscle progress. This may very well be essential for anybody, particularly those that practice to boost their aesthetics.  

Functional Fitness Or Basic Fitness: Anyone who simply desires to have the ability to transfer naturally with goal and energy. You don’t want to face on stage or break any bench press data to need sturdy triceps. Pushing is among the most simple and basic actions there may be making it very important for each particular person to have the flexibility to do it. Pushing a door open, an attacker, a procuring cart, and even to assist catch your self from a fall. Quite merely, having sturdy triceps will simply make life simpler.

How To Perform The Triceps Pushdown

The triceps pushdown is a comparatively straightforward train to carry out if in case you have the proper tools. The conventional triceps pushdown is accomplished with a cable pulley system and a straight bar attachment, so that is the variation we are going to deal with. However, we are going to speak about completely different pushdown variations under. That being stated, in case you can connect a straight bar to a cable pulley, you’re good to go. 

how to do triceps pushdown

Attach the fitting bar to the pulley system and lift the cable to the very best setting. This is to make sure the bar will dangle excessive sufficient in order that you’ll have stress for the whole vary of movement. If the bar is just too low, there shall be slack on the prime of the motion, which can relieve the strain on the muscle.  
Next, rise up near the pulley to make the cable as vertical as doable. This will be certain that the triceps are being remoted. If you stand farther away from the pulley, you’ll get an excessive amount of activation within the lats, which should hearth to maintain your elbows from being pulled ahead.
Grab the bar along with your palms unfold evenly throughout the bar utilizing an overhand grip with each palms. You ought to seize the bar shoulder-width aside in order that your arms are parallel with one another when your elbows are subsequent to the physique.
Now pull the bar down in order that the highest of your arms align along with your physique and your elbows are hugged near your torso. The bar ought to be barely about an inch or so in entrance of your shoulders.
Form just a little little bit of knee flexion in order that your knees aren’t locked. You are NOT doing squats or something near that. All you need is just a little bounce in your knee. Next, your torso can have a slight lean ahead to maneuver your shoulders nearer to the bar. 
As you get able to execute the train, brace your core so to maintain agency bracing. You will then deliver the straight bar all the way in which down till your elbows are totally prolonged, and the bar is near your thighs.
Give your triceps just a little squeeze on the backside and let the bar up in a gradual and managed method. Repeat for the specified quantity of reps. 


Not Keeping Elbow Stationary: Be positive to maintain your elbows stationary! This is the primary mistake throughout the triceps pushdown. A trainee can have the tendency to to maneuver the elbow forwards and backwards to assist garnish momentum to push the bar down. Don’t do this. 
Leaning Too Far Over The Bar: Another large mistake is trainees leaning too far over the bar. The lifter will recover from the bar, flare their elbows, and begin doing a quasi straight bar dip. Stay again along with your elbows subsequent to the physique always.
Curling The Upper Back: Similar to above, one other widespread mistake is curling the again or dropping the shoulders. This is pretty just like above because the trainees are attempting to have interaction their shoulders to push fairly than depend on their triceps power. Again, a slight lean is okay. Curling over isn’t.
Not Keeping Wrists Straight: The final main mistake seen with individuals doing the triceps pushdown is letting their wrist prolong backward. KEEP YOUR WRIST STRAIGHT!!! Over time, extreme stress from over extending will construct in your wrist joint and forearm flexors. This will consequence (emphasis on “will”) in irritation and discomfort.  Further, you gained’t have the ability to totally prolong your elbows on the backside along with your wrist bent backward. Full extension is essential for reaching optimum vary of movement.   

Triceps Pushdown Variations

While the unique triceps pushdown is a winner for positive, there are additionally a couple of different slight variations which can be simply pretty much as good, with many individuals even preferring them over the normal pushdown. Regardless, you understand how we really feel about having a wholesome dose of selection in your exercise, so are another superior triceps pushdowns, every with its personal little profit. 

1. V-Handle Triceps Pushdown

tricep pushdown v-bar

The V-handle triceps pushdown is carried out in the identical method as the normal pushdown, besides you employ a V-handle as a substitute of a straight bar. What this does is place your palms at an angle in order that they’re dealing with barely inward. Doing so solves one of many widespread errors of the triceps pushdown which is hyper-extension of the wrist.

Because the palms are at an angle, the pressure isn’t pushing straight up on the wrists. Instead, the meat beneath the pinky rests on the tip of the deal with, supplying you with a stable basis to push from. Further, your forearms can have slight exterior rotation, permitting a tiny little bit of elbow flare. 

Being so, this triceps variation will possible can help you transfer considerably extra weight than a straight bar. That being stated, in case you actually need to push a variety of weight, go for the V-handle triceps pushdown. 

2. Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdown

reverse grip triceps pushdown

The reverse grip triceps pushdown makes use of the identical setup as the normal setup, besides now you’ll use a supinated grip (underhand grip). The reverse grip will generate extra activation within the medial head because of the place of the hand. This motion is notoriously arduous to carry out, so whenever you begin, use lighter weight. And you’ll want to fully lockout on the backside of the motion. 

3. Rope Triceps Pushdown

rope triceps push down

Using a rope attachment is one other widespread variation that’s just like the V-handle with some minor variations. When you connect the rope, you may both grip on the backside the place the knobs are to relaxation your palms OR you may simply grip the center of the rope. The motion shall be carried out the identical both method. 

Standing along with your elbows subsequent to your physique, your arms will truly be pulled inwards barely. Therefore, whenever you begin to prolong your arms, you’re going to drag barely outwards. That being stated, your elbows nonetheless keep on the physique.  

Once you totally prolong your arms and your palms are close to your legs, you’re then going to offer your wrists just a little flick to additional prolong the arms and get a tiny bit bigger vary of movement. 

4. Single Arm Triceps Pushdown

single arm tricep pushdown

A bit of little bit of unilateral work by no means hurts anybody; the truth is, it may very well be simply what you’ll want to progress. 

In actuality, you may apply single arm work to any of the variations above, even the normal straight bar pushdown. Doing so lets you change up the stimulus in addition to establish any vital power deficits. While everybody will nearly all the time have some power variations between their left aspect and proper aspect limbs. However, in case you discover some vital deficiencies, you might must treatment them.

Regardless, combine in some unilateral coaching along with your triceps exercise simply to combine it up.

The Best Triceps Pushdown Alternatives

While the triceps pushdown and its variations ought to be sufficient, listed here are a couple of incredible options we love. 

1. Close Grip Bench Press

tricep pushdown alternative

It’s true. We love the shut grip bench press. It’s a superb compound motion that also manages to focus on the triceps. However, you may as well place fairly heavy masses in your muscle tissues, making the shut grip bench press optimum for genuine power coaching. The shut grip bench press can be an superior addition to a triceps exercise program that additionally consisted of the triceps pushdown.

Here are another nice bench press variations

2. Skull Crushers

tricep extension vs pushdown

Skull crushers are a traditional bodybuilder motion. Over the years, it’s even been the inspiration for one more pure power motion to coach the triceps; the rolling triceps extension. Regardless, cranium crushers have been such a dominant train within the weight room for therefore lengthy merely because of the truth they work.

They enable decently heavy masses whereas nearly completely isolating the triceps which equates to critical power AND hypertrophy good points.  

3. Overhead Rope Extensions

best tricep pushdown alternative

While you’re doing all of your triceps pushdown with a rope, go forward and simply spin round trigger now you’re going to do overhead rope extensions. Due to the overhead place, overhead rope extensions are going to successfully goal the lengthy head of the triceps.

You can even do tricep extensions with dumbbells.

How To Program Triceps Pushdowns

Triceps pushdowns are a single-joint isolation train to coach your triceps. This tells us a couple of issues; what days it may very well be skilled and the rep scheme.

Depending on how your program spit is designed, you’ve a couple of days which might be appropriate for coaching the triceps push down.

Any of today would work nice to plug the triceps pushdown in.

Being that it’s an isolation motion, you’ll normally be utilizing lighter masses with larger reps to carry out the triceps pushdown. For this, primarily use a great deal of round 70-80% 1RM with a rep vary of 8-12. If you need, you possibly can fiddle with heavier or lighter masses, however 8-12 is the candy spot. 

Triceps pushdowns additionally work rather well with varied specialty units. You can use them in circuit coaching, tremendous units, drop units, and so on.  

tricep pushdown variations


Triceps pushdowns is also used for pure power coaching, however we’d advocate utilizing the V-handle pushdown if you’re wanting to essentially use some heavier masses. Again, it is because it may be difficult to maintain the wrists straight when utilizing a straight bar. The V-handle eliminates this downside and is far simpler to make use of with heavier masses.

In truth, some power athletes will carry out EMOMs (each minute on the minute) utilizing close to maximal weights when performing the triceps pushdown. There are literally some ways to do EMOMS, however for example, you possibly can do that. Work as much as a near-maximal load that also lets you use good type. You would then do 10min EMOM, which suggests you merely carry out 1 rep each minute. These are robust however might add some critical power good points to your lifting.

Not positive how you can get stronger? This article will set you straight.

Triceps Pushdowns For Serious Triceps

If you’ve been on the lookout for a superb triceps train, we simply gave you one after which some extra. The triceps pushdown and its variations are a positive method so as to add critical mass and power to your triceps. Hell, you possibly can even attempt a few of the triceps options. Whatever you’re employed into your triceps exercise plan, you’ll be higher off in case you begin together with some triceps pushdowns in your very subsequent session!

Related Content: Best Barbell Tricep Exercises

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