How To Do Overhead Cable Tricep Extension Proper

The overhead Cable tricep extension is an isolation exercise that works the muscle on the back of the upper arm, known as the triceps.

Triceps brachii, or simply Triceps, is a three-headed muscle opposite of the biceps and is responsible for 2/3 of upper arm mass. It consists of 3 head : the medial, the lateral, and the long head.

Big Triceps make the arms look big, 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.

The Overhead Cable tricep pull is a versatile movement that targets your tricep muscles by repetitively flexing the elbow joint against resistance. To give your triceps a workout, try out the exercises below.

In this section, we will discuss the various ways of doing overhead cable tricep extension.

  • Single arm overhead cable tricep extension
  • Cable High Pulley Overhead Extension

Overhead Cable Extension Exercise Details

  • Also, Known As: Overhead cable pull, overhead rope press, overhead tricep pull
  • Main Muscles: Triceps
  • Exercise Type: Strength
  • Exercise Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Equipment Needed: Cable column, rope attachment

Muscles Worked During the Overhead Tricep Extension

The overhead tricep extension is an isolation exercise rather than a compound motion. This makes it a great exercise for targeting your triceps.

The primary muscle group worked by the tricep extension is your triceps.

There are a variety of secondary muscle groups that activates during overhead cable tricep pull are biceps, forearms, lats, abs (rectus abdominis), obliques, pecs, and traps (trapezius). These secondary muscles engage to stabilize and support the motion.

Do Overhead Tricep Extension With Proper Form

It is crucial to know the mistakes made by athletes and weight lifters while performing tricep extensions. It will help you gain a better perspective about your form.

Elbow Flaring Out

During a downward push, people tend to flare their elbows outwards. This can put unnecessary stress on the shoulder as well as the chest muscles.

Excessive Elbow Movement

Many people let their elbows sway back and forward during the movement. While you can technically lift more weight using this momentum, you are actually using your lats to complete the exercise.

Too Much Weight

Adding more weights than required might not be a good idea. Overdoing this exercise can strain your muscles, making them sore, and may cause injury.

Cable Overhead Triceps Extension

Cable overhead triceps extensions are another great exercise for your tricep cable extension workout.

Overhead Cable 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

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.


  • 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.

Cable Overhead Extension Variations

1. Cable High Pulley Overhead Extension

Cable High Pulley Overhead Extension is one of the best two-arm tricep cable extension exercises that you can do during your upper body workout.

This is the more advanced exercise works not only your triceps, but also your torso, legs, and shoulders in fixing your body in position.

Using the cable allows your triceps to be exercised under tension throughout the entire range of motion (ROM).

Cable High Pulley Overhead Extension

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


  • 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.

2. One Arm Cable Overhead Extensions

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

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 an asymmetrical look. This exercise can be done standing or seated.

One-arm Cable Overhead Extensions

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.


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

Overhead Cable Triceps Extension Alternatives

If the cable stack not be accessible to you. You may also be searching for an alternative of cable tricep extension, below you will find some suggestions.

1. Two Arm Dumbbell Extension

The seated dumbbell tricep extension is a variation of the tricep extension and an exercise used to isolate the muscles of the triceps. The dumbbell overhead triceps extension is an alternative to the cable overhead triceps extension.

It is particularly useful in targeting the long head of the triceps muscle. Having a larger and denser long head will give you an overall appearance of a larger tricep.

Two Arm Dumbbell Extension

2. Bench Dip

Bench dips are a bodyweight exercise designed to activate muscles in your arms, shoulders, and chest. They are also known as triceps dips. If you don’t have cables, this is a great bodyweight exercise to do at home.

Tricep dips are an exercise that you can use to build your arms at home, at the gym, or even on a park bench during your morning run.

Tricep Dip

3. One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension

The dumbbell overhead triceps extension is a single-joint exercise that targets the triceps while increasing stability throughout the core and the shoulder regions.

By using dumbbells instead of an EZ-bar for the overhead extension, you work each arm separately and ensure one stronger side isn’t carrying the weaker one. This lets you focus on perfect form in that one arm and allows for a greater range of motion.

One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension


Overhead triceps extensions are an important part of strength training and weight lifting.

The Below, How-to video tutorial shows you the proper way to do overhead triceps extensions with a cable machine.

Related Posts

7 Most Effective TRICEP CABLE EXERCISES For Building Bigger Arms

Leave a Comment