15 Best Triceps Cable Exercises for Building Bigger Arms

You are at the right place if you are looking for the Best Triceps cable exercises for gaining muscle mass and toning your arms.

Don’t think just biceps that make for bigger, more defined arms. When it comes to arms, the greatest portion of the upper arm is the triceps.

You might not be able to see them, but the triceps actually make up around two-thirds of your upper arm! So, if you’re looking to fill out those sleeves, with well-developed arms, it’s important to activate all three tricep heads.

Strong arms are important for almost every upper body movement you do each day and your triceps are often the heavy lifters. Anytime you push something—whether it be a door, a stroller, a lawnmower, or a barbell—you’re using your triceps.

Strength is important and, for many people, so is having toned arms.

This Blog contains detailed descriptions of all major triceps cable exercises that focus on the triceps muscles, including the lateral head, the long head, and the medial head. See the diagram for the location of each of these triceps heads. The triceps cable exercises are divided into pushdown, extension, and kickback exercises.

Triceps Brachii Anatomy and It Functions

Triceps brachii, or simply triceps, are a three-headed muscle opposite of the biceps and are responsible for 2/3 of upper arm mass. Big triceps make the arms look big, which is contrary to the popularity of big biceps, which are smaller in comparison.

So it’s essential to focus on and work the three tricep head muscles for maximum gains. When we know about the anatomy of the triceps, then we can easily and effectively train with these triceps exercises.

The triceps is a large muscle on the back of the arm. It consists of 3 parts, the medial, lateral, and long head. It begins just below the socket of the shoulder blade and at two distinct areas of the humerus.

  • Long head: The largest part of the tricep that runs along the back of the upper arm.
  • Lateral head: The smallest of the three muscles that is located on the outside of the arm.
  • Medial head: Located right around the middle of the upper arm.

Advantages of Strong Triceps:

In fact, your strength isn’t measured by the size of your bicep but by the force in your tricep. If you want to push more weight, you need to build stronger triceps.

A strong tricep helps to create the balance needed for a strong bicep. And where you have balanced, strong muscles, you’re less likely to have injuries too. There are many other benefits of Strong triceps.

  • Strong triceps help with shoulder stability and improve your range of motion
  • Triceps main responsibilities are extending the elbow joint or simply straightening the arm. 
  • Strong triceps help keep your joints healthy, particularly your elbow joint.
  • Increase in overall arm strength, power and endurance.
  • Allows you to lift heavier during other lifts like bench presses and shoulder presses.
  • A big tricep is what makes your arm muscles look bigger and more defined, too!

Benefits of Triceps Cable Exercises

The cable triceps exercises offer an effective way to train the triceps, let’s have a look at some other benefits of triceps exercises with a cable machine.

  • Triceps cable exercises are more evenly distributed, and you have more of a constant load on your shoulder muscles throughout the whole range of motion.
  • The triceps cable exercises offer almost unmatched versatility because you can change up the load, angle, grip positioning and body positioning easily. With the ability to change all these variables, it’s less likely you’ll get bored by using the cable machine, as you’re mostly limited by your imagination on how you can use it.
  • The cable setup gives your muscles almost uninterrupted time under tension, and a huge pump — each of which can help optimize muscle growth.

Best Triceps Cable Workout

Here are the 15 best Triceps Cable Exercises that help you to build stronger and bigger triceps.

1. Triceps Pushdown

If you’re looking for straightforward cable machine tricep exercises to add to your routine, tricep pushdown is a great staple exercise to get you started.

Triceps Pushdown is also known as triceps Pressdown, is the best triceps exercise. The cable provides a uniform resistance throughout the movement, unlike barbell or dumbbell exercises, where the resistance varies during the lift.

Using the straight bar, a pronated grip (palms down) emphasizes the outer lateral head of the triceps, whereas a supinated grip (palms up) focuses effort on the inner long head.

An angled V-shaped bar switches the hands into a neutral grip (thumbs up), equally targeting all three triceps heads.

Triceps Pushdown

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: Deltoid and forearm.

Execution Technique

  1. Stand facing a high-pulley cable with a short straight bar attached to it. Slight bend your knees and feet should be about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Grasp the Short bar with a pronated grip (palm down) and hold the bar at chest level with your elbows tight against your sides.
  3. Keeping your elbows stationary, straighten your arms until they are fully extended.
  4. Pause at full arm extension, flex your triceps, and slowly return the bar to the starting position.

Tips

  • You can do this exercise with a rope or EZ bar attachment.
  • Standing upright with the spine straight is the standard position.

2. Reverse-Grip Triceps Pushdown

Reverse-grip tricep pushdown is another great exercise for your cable tricep workout.

It is a variation of the straight bar tricep push down, in which an underhand grip focuses effort on the inner long head of the triceps.

Taking an underhand grip can minimize the involvement of the forearms and help to place less stress on the elbows. Must add these triceps Cable exercises in your triceps workout.

Reverse-Grip Triceps Pushdown

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: Deltoid and forearm.

Execution Technique

  1. Stand facing a high-pulley cable with a short straight bar attached to it. Slight bend your knees and feet should be about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Grasp the short bar with a supinated grip (Palm up) and hold the bar at chest level with your elbows tight against your sides.
  3. Keeping your elbows stationary, straighten your arms until they are fully extended.
  4. Pause at full arm extension, flex your triceps, and slowly return the bar to the starting position.

Tips

  • If you want to keep more tension in the triceps, don’t lock the elbows entirely.
  • Prevent your elbows from flaring out to maintain proper form.
  • Focus on keeping your back straight and your chest high.

3. Cable Triceps Kick Back

One of the good example of single-arm tricep cable exercise is the tricep kickback. Most people perform this exercise just using the cable, without any kind of handle or D handle attached to it.

The cable tricep dumbbell kickback is a versatile and effective exercise that builds strength and muscle in all three heads which make up the tricep muscle.

Using cables aims to maintain constant tension on target muscles important for muscle hypertrophy. This continuous resistance makes it a more beneficial method for muscle gain. Using cables can be both effective and easier for beginners.

Cable Triceps Kick Back

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: Rear deltoid

Execution Technique

  1. Attach a single grip rope handle to the lowest notch on the cable pulley system.
  2. Then, bend your knees, keep your back straight and grab the rope with your left hand.
  3. Now, with your upper arm parallel to the floor, extend at the elbow until your arm is straight back and fully extended.
  4. Flex the triceps hard for a second, then return to the starting position.
  5. Complete all reps on the left arm and then repeat on the right arm.

Tips

  • Make sure to warm up with lightweight before training heavy to protect your elbows from excessive stress.
  • Keep your body as still as possible, move only your forearms.  

4. Rope Triceps Extension

The rope tricep extension is a variation of the cable tricep extension. This exercise is used to build the muscles of the triceps.

Well-built triceps also have a lot of positive carryover into your pressing movements, such as bench press variations and shoulder press variations.

Rope Triceps Extension

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: forearm.

Execution Technique

  1. Keep feet shoulder-width apart, face a high pulley machine enabled with a rope attachment.
  2. Grasp the ends of the rope so that your palms are facing inward and your elbows are by your waist.
  3. Keeping your body stationary, exhale as you lower the rope by completely extending your arms until they are straight down by your sides.
  4. Hold for a moment and then inhale as you slowly return the rope to the starting position.

Tip

  • Use only your forearms as you raise and lower the rope.
  • Standing upright with the spine straight is the standard position.
  • Contract your triceps as you lower the rope.

5. Cable Standing High Cross Triceps Extension

If you’re looking for a way to get more creative with your tricep cable workout, why not try Cable Standing High Cross Triceps Extension?

Cable cross tricep extension comes in between a pushdown and a kickback, and it absolutely smokes your triceps.

It is a great exercise for those who are very tall and would otherwise struggle to get a sufficient triceps stretch.

Cable Standing High Cross Triceps Extension

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: Deltoid, forearm.

Execution Technique

  1. Place both pulleys to the highest position on a cable station.
  2. Grab the end of the right cable with your left hand and the end of the left cable with your right hand.
  3. Flex your triceps forcefully until your elbows are completely locked out. You should feel a strong contraction in the backs of your arms.
  4. Hold the peak contraction for a full second. Slowly release the contraction while keeping your elbows still.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 for as many sets as are desired.

Tips

  • Your elbow must remain fixed during the set. Keep your upper arm as still as possible, only allowing your forearm to move.
  • Squeeze the tricep hard at the top of the exercise to get that extra pump!
  • Keep the rep timing slow and controlled.

6. Cable overhead triceps extension

The overhead rope tricep extension is a variation of the rope tricep extension and an exercise used to build the muscles of the triceps.

Overhead tricep extension variations are especially good at targeting the long head of the triceps. The denser your long head muscle is, the overall larger the triceps appear.

Cable overhead triceps extension

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: Deltoid, Forearm.

Execution Technique

  1. Attach a rope to the bottom pulley of the cable machine and face away from the pulley.
  2. Hold the rope with both hands with palms facing each other (neutral grip), extend your arms until your hands are directly above your head.
  3. Your elbows should be in close to your head and the arms should be perpendicular to the floor with the knuckles pointing to the ceiling.
  4. Slowly lower the rope behind your head as you hold the upper arms stationary. Inhale as you perform this movement and pause when your triceps are fully stretched.
  5. Slowly return to starting position and repeat the desired number of sets and reps.

Tips

  • Never load up to where you cannot maintain a stable body position. This is an isolation exercise that does not require maximum loads.
  • Keep your arms close to your head for maximum triceps engagement.
  • Perform the exercise using a slow and controlled movement from start to finish.

7. Cable One-Arm Reverse-Grip Triceps Push-down

When doing a tricep workout with a cable machine, there are plenty of single-arm exercises you can add to correct potential imbalances.

The cable one-arm reverse-grip tricep push-down is an isolation exercise that builds muscle and strength in all three tricep heads. Now, push-downs are excellent regardless of the variation used, but the reverse grip may allow you to emphasize more of the outer tricep head.

Cable one-arm reverse-grip triceps push-down

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: forearm.

Execution Technique

  1. Stand near the cable apparatus and grasp the single-grip attachment, with an underhand grip.
  2. Keeping your elbows at your body’s sides, press the weight downward, while exhaling throughout the movement. If desired, you may self-spot with your free hand.
  3. Slowly allow the weight to rise until your forearms are parallel to the ground, inhaling throughout the negative motion.
  4. Repeat steps 3-4 for as many sets as are desired.

Tips

  • Your elbow must remain fixed during the set. Keep your upper arm as still as possible, only allowing your forearm to move.
  • Squeeze the tricep hard at the top of the exercise to get that extra pump!
  • Keep the rep timing slow and controlled.

8. Cable Lying Triceps Extension

Cable Lying Triceps Extension is a perfect variation of regular skull crushers done with the bar. This cable version will create constant tension on your triceps and will help you in improving your mind and muscle connection.

Cable Lying Triceps Extension
Cable Lying Triceps Extension

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: forearm.

Execution Technique

  1. Attach a bar at the lower end of the cable machine and place a bench in front of the cable machine.
  2. Lay down on the bench and hold a bar with on overhand grip. Your elbow should face up, and your arms should be at a 90° angle. This will be your starting position.
  3. Move the bar down until the bar reaches below your head. Keep your elbows tucked in.
  4. Press the bar up by squeezing your triceps and extend full at the top.
  5. Do not lock your elbows out, and repeat for desired reps.

Tips

  • This exercise should be done slowly and carefully under good control.
  • You can also do this with ropes. That will target your lateral head more than the long head.

9. Incline Cable Triceps Extension

One of the best exercises for drawing and pumping triceps is the extension of the hands due to the Tricep Overhead Extensions, which involves all the beams.

Triceps extensions can be beneficial for fixing imbalances in the triceps or rehabilitating from injury. Tricep extensions put no pressure on the wrists, so they are an alternative for people with wrist strain or injury.

Incline Cable Triceps Extension

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: Arms

Execution Technique

  1. Attach the rope handle to the lower block, grasp it with your hands, sit on the bench with your back.
  2. Bend your hands in the elbows, so that the ends of the handle are located behind your head.
  3. Slowly straighten your arms, keeping your elbows in a fixed position. At the final point, prolong the peak contraction, withstood a short pause.
  4. Return to the starting position.

Tips

  • Concentrate on keeping your elbows stable.
  • Do not allow your elbows to flare out to the sides.
  • Slowly lower the weights and do not use momentum.

10. Cable High Pulley Overhead Extension

The overhead rope tricep extension is a variation of the rope tricep extension and an exercise used to build the muscles of the triceps.

Overhead tricep extension variations are especially good at targeting the long head of the triceps. The denser your long head muscle is, the overall larger the triceps appear.

Cable High Pulley Overhead Extension

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: Deltoid

Execution Technique

  1. Attach a rope to a cable stack as high as possible and assume a standing position.
  2. Utilize a split stance, grasp the rope overhead with a neutral grip (palms facing), and lean forward by hinging at the hips.
  3. Initiate the movement by extending the elbows and flexing the triceps.
  4. Pull the rope downward until the elbows are almost locked out, and then slowly lower under control back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions

Tips

  • Don’t allow the rope to pull you backwards or cause you to overarch throughout your lumbar spine.
  • You may need to tuck the chin slightly to allow the rope to travel overhead and not graze the back of your head.

11. One-arm Cable Overhead Extensions

You can use this exercise to target each side of the triceps separately. This will balance the strength of each arm and will give you asymmetrical look. This exercise can be done standing or seated.

One-arm Cable Overhead Extensions

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: Deltoid and forearm.

Execution Technique

  1. Attach a stirrup (handle) to a cable pulley that is a little lower than chest high. Grasp the stirrup with one hand and press it up, over your head.
  2. Turn away from the pulley, lean a little forward, stagger your feet for balance, and lower your hand behind your back.
  3. Your elbow should be raised high, the cable should be pulled taut, and you should be feeling a stretch in your triceps brachii.
  4. Keeping your elbow close to your head, exhale as you raise the stirrup over your head by extending your elbow.
  5. Inhale as you flex your elbow to lower the stirrup towards the starting position until you feel a mild stretch in your triceps brachii.
  6. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions. Repeat the exercise with your opposite arm.

Tips

  • Keep your body and upper arm still. Only your forearm should move.
  • Keep your elbow close to your head.

12. Cable Concentration Triceps Extension

The cable concentration triceps extension is a unilateral exercise (i.e. an exercise with which you train one side of your body at a time). As with all unilateral exercises, start with your weak side. To promote equal strength on both sides, do not perform more repetitions with your strong side.

Make sure that you kneel in such a place and position to ensure optimal resistance throughout the exercise’s full range of motion.

Cable Concentration Triceps Extension

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: Deltoid and forearm.

Execution Technique

  1. Attach a stirrup handle to a cable pulley and adjust the pulley up high.
  2. Kneeling on your left knee (with the left side of your body turned towards the machine), keep your right bent and the upper portion of your thigh parallel to the floor.
  3. With your right elbow and upper arm pressed against your inner thigh just above your knee, pull the cable down towards the floor in a slight arcing motion.
  4. Slowly to return to starting position. Repeat and switch arms.

Tips

  • If you want to keep more tension in the triceps, don’t lock the elbows entirely.
  • Keep your back straight and your upper arm fixed against the inside of your thigh.

13. Triceps Pushdown V- Bar

The cable V-bar pushdown is a great alternative for your triceps. The angled bar allows you to lift heavier weights than a straight bar or rope.

There are many variations to this movement. For instance, you can use an E-Z bar attachment as well as a straight cable bar attachment for different variations of the exercise. Also, you can attach a rope to the pulley as well as use a reverse grip on the bar exercises.

Triceps Pushdown V- Bar

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: forearm.

Execution Technique

  1. Attach a V-Bar to a high pulley and grab with an overhand grip (palms facing down) at shoulder width.
  2. Standing upright with the torso straight and a very small inclination forward, bring the upper arms close to your body and perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Using the triceps, bring the bar down until it touches the front of your thighs and the arms are fully extended perpendicular to the floor.
  4. Pause at full arm extension, flex your triceps, and slowly return the V-bar to the starting position.

Tips

  • Standing upright with the spine straight is the standard position.
  • The upper arms should always remain stationary next to your torso and only the forearms should move.

14. Cable Kneeling Triceps Extension

This is one of the best two-arm cable tricep exercises that you can do during your arm workout.

The kneeling cable triceps extension is a single-joint exercise meant to isolate the triceps muscles using a high pulley on a cable stack and a bench.

It can also be performed in a tall-kneeling stance from a low pulley. It is most commonly used in muscle-building triceps or arm workouts.

Cable Kneeling Triceps Extension

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps.

Secondary: Deltoid, Forearm.

Execution Technique

  1. Place a bench sideways in front of a high pulley machine. Hold a straight bar attachment above your head with your palms facing down.
  2. Face away from the machine and kneel. Place the back of your upper arms on the bench. Your elbows should be bent with the forearms pointing towards the high pulley.
  3. While keeping your upper arms close to your head at all times with the elbows in, press the bar out in a semicircular motion until the elbows are locked, and your arms are parallel to the floor.
  4. Hold onto this position for a count, isolating the triceps and return back up to the start. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Tips

  • Keep your arms close to your head for maximum triceps engagement.
  • Perform the exercise using a slow and controlled movement from start to finish.

15. Cable Rear Drive

The cable rear drive is an exercise that builds muscle and strength in both the triceps and rear deltoids. Now, this is a very unconventional movement, but that doesn’t diminish its effectiveness. It’s kind of like two exercises in one which targets two different muscles.

When you go heavy with the cable rear-drive, numerous muscles in your legs and core are significantly activated to stabilize your body.

Cable-rear-drive

Muscles Worked

Primary: Triceps Brachii, Posterior Deltoid

Secondary: forearm.

Execution Technique

  1. Attach a rope to a shoulder height cable pulley. Then, stand, so the left side of your body is facing the cable pulley and grab the rope with your right hand.
  2. Now, take one step to the right, so there’s tension in the cable. Then, pull your elbow back and away from the pulley, so it’s facing in the opposite direction.
  3. Now, extend your forearm to the right, so your arm is straight while contracting your Tricep. Exhale during this portion of the exercise.
  4. Slowly bring your forearm back and allow your arm to return back to the starting position. Inhale during this portion of the exercise.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Tips

  • It’s best to use light to moderate weights for this exercise to minimize joint stress and to maintain good form.
  • Keep your body still. Only your arm should move.
  • Keep your upper arm horizontal. If your elbow drops, your latissimus dorsi will get involved.

Conclusion

For anyone, who is interested in building triceps muscles and gaining strength, these triceps cable exercises are highly recommended. It not only allows for targeted muscle development, but also provides overall triceps and upper body development. It is easy to do and requires no more scientific details. If done consistently, the results will speak by themselves.

Frequently Asked Question

Are cables better for triceps?

Yes, Cable exercises strengthen your tricep almost better as other tricep exercise. If you’re looking to increase the size or strength of your tricep muscles, consider adding cable tricep exercises to your routine.

What machine is good for triceps?

The cable station is an essential piece of equipment in most gyms and an effective way to work your triceps. It is a weight stack attached to a cable, with a straight handle or rope attached to the cable at the top.

Thanks for reading, enjoy your Triceps Cable Exercises!

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