Triceps Pushdown Exercises for Building Bigger Arms

The triceps pushdown exercise is a part of the workout regime of anybody who is looking for serious arm mass and strength.

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.

Press down is one of the best exercises for focusing on all three heads of the triceps muscles, including the lateral head, the long head, and the medial head.

The tricep push down goes by many names: tricep rope press down, the cable tricep pushdowns, and others. No matter what you call it, the cable push down is one of the best exercises for triceps development.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about how to perform the straight bar tricep pushdown correctly. You will also learn its benefits, how to avoid common mistakes, and what are the best variation of tricep pushdowns and how to do them. You will also learn some of the best alternatives of it.

Muscles Worked During the Triceps Pushdown

The triceps pushdown 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 cable triceps press down is your triceps.

There are a variety of secondary muscle groups that activates during cable tricep press down are forearms, abs, obliques, and traps (trapezius). These secondary muscles engage to stabilize and support the push down motion.

Benefits Of Triceps Cable Pushdowns Exercises

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

  • Triceps press down 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 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.
  • The triceps cable push down is an ideal exercise for all athletes, bodybuilders, or anyone attempting to build arm strength. Whether you are throwing a ball, lifting heavy objects at work, or simply want to boost the aesthetic appeal of your arms, this exercise can help you get stronger to accomplish your goals.

Straight Bar Triceps Pushdown

Straight bar cable tricep down is a great exercise to add to your routine if you are looking for a simple cable machine pushdown.

We will focus on the straight bar attachment variation of the traditional triceps pressdown, which is completed with a cable pulley system and a straight bar attachment. But we’ll talk more about pushdown variations below.

Unlike barbell or dumbbell exercises where the resistance varies during the lift, the cable provides a uniform resistance throughout the movement.

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

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

Triceps Pushdown

How To Do It properly

  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.

Tricep Pushdowns Variations

While the traditional triceps pushdown is a winner for sure, there are also a few other slight variations that are just as good, with many people even preferring them over the traditional pushdown.

Regardless, you know how we feel about having a balanced workout routine with a variety of exercises, so here are some other great triceps push down exercises, each with their own little benefit.  You can also do a modified version of the move at home or on the go with a resistance band.

Here are the 5 best Cable Triceps Push down exercises variations that help you to build stronger and bigger triceps.

1. Reverse-Grip Triceps Pushdown

The reverse-grip pushdown is a variation of the straight bar pushdown in which the hands are positioned holding the bar with the palms facing up rather than down.

It works your entire triceps, but it focuses most of the tension in the middle of the triceps, which goes from the middle of the triceps down to the elbow joint.

Taking an underhand grip can minimize the involvement of the forearms and help to place less stress on the elbows. You need to add these cable exercises to your cable pressdown exercises.

Reverse-Grip Triceps Pushdown

How To Do

  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.

2. Rope Triceps Push down

The rope tricep push down is like the cable tricep pressdown, but with a rope instead of a short bar. The rope handle may activate triceps to a greater degree than a straight bar.

It is easy to learn and perform, making it a favorite for both beginners and advanced lifters.

Rope Triceps Extension

How To Do

  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.

3. One-Arm Reverse-Grip Triceps Pushdown

When doing a cable tricep pushdown, 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.

Push-downs are excellent regardless of the variation used, but the reverse grip may allow you to emphasize more of the medial tricep head.

Cable one-arm reverse-grip triceps push-down

How To Do

  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.

4. Triceps Pushdown with V- Bar

This is one of the best two-arm cable rope tricep push downs you can do during your arm workout.

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.

Triceps Pushdown V- Bar

How To Do

  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.

4. Resistance Band Tricep Pushdown

The bands are a great way to keep joint healthy, as they are low impact when it comes to your elbows and shoulders. Tricep resistance band pushdown is the best triceps press down exercise that you can do at home.

It is also very easy to add or remove the amount of tension just by changing hand position, making these a beneficial option in a number of regards.

Resistance Band Tricep Pushdown

How To Do

  1. Place a resistance band around a hook above your head.
  2. Grab the resistance band with both hands (palms facing in) just below chest height.
  3. Keep your elbows tight into your side and drive your hands down towards your waist. Lock your arms out and rotate your hands slightly outward as you do.
  4. Hold for a second and then bring your hands back up to just below chest height.

Common Mistakes to Avoid During Tricep Pushdowns

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

Wrist Positioning

You don’t need to move your wrists in any direction if your elbows are extended. A wrist position that is neutral is preferred and recommended.

Incomplete range of Motion

It is important to fully extend your elbows at the bottom. Feel the deep stretch at the top and the hard contraction at the bottom.

Not Focusing On All Three Heads

It is essential to train all three parts of the triceps if you want to see overall arm progress. Developing all three heads will make your arm look more symmetrical, attractive and even. Try different cable attachments.

Elbow Flaring Out

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

Excessive Elbow Movement

Many people adopt a looser posture, allowing their elbows to swing back and forth 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 cause injury and make your muscles sore.

Straining your Back

Always remember that this is a tricep workout and not a back training one. Make sure you do not overextend your back while pushing down the weights.

Training Volume (Sets and Reps)

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey. The tricep muscle and strength can be built in a variety of set and rep ranges.

When programming triceps pushdown into training programs, remember the training goals and programming recommendations.

Sets for Tricep Training

  • Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
  • Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
  • Advanced: ~20 sets per week.

Reps for Tricep Training

  • 3 to 5 reps for power
  • less than 6 reps for strength
  • 6 to 12 reps for hypertrophy
  • 12 to 20+ reps for endurance

Beginners should do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. As you become more comfortable with the exercise, try different set and rep combinations and tempos to challenge your muscles.

Tricep Cable Pushdown Alternates

If you enjoyed the cable tricep push down, check out these alternative tricep exercises to improve your upper body training:

1. Bench Dip

The bench dip exercise is one of the most basic and best workouts for building the triceps and bigger arms. The feet-elevated bench dip is one of the popular tricep bodyweight exercises for building the triceps, chest, and shoulders.

Elevating the feet brings more chest and shoulder into the movement, and also allows for extra weight on the hips.

2. 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.

Overhead extension exercises are 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.

3. Cable Overhead Triceps Extension

Cable tricep extensions are another great exercise for your cable arm workout.

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.

Why You Need to Train Your Triceps

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.

Apart from the aesthetic benefits of having a solid set of triceps, there are important functional benefits too.

  • 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.


These triceps cable rope pushdown exercises are recommended for anyone who wants to build triceps muscles and gain strength.

Not only does it allow for targeted muscle development, but it also provides overall triceps and arm development. It is easy to do and does not require a lot of scientific information.

If done consistently, the results will speak by themselves.

Thanks for reading, enjoy!


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