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.

Cable exercises are a versatile and effective way to target tricep muscles, as they allow for a wide range of movement and provide constant tension on the muscle throughout the exercise.

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.

In this blog, we will discuss different tricep cable exercises, sample workout routines, and tips for proper form

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.

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 tricep is 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:

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.

There are many other benefits of strengthening the 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.

  • Isolation: Cable exercises allow for targeted isolation of the tricep muscles, which can lead to greater muscle activation and growth.
  • Constant tension: Cable exercises provide constant tension on the muscle throughout the exercise, which can lead to increased muscle fatigue and growth.
  • Versatility: Cable tricep exercises allow for a wide range of movement and the use of different attachments, which can add variety to your workout routine and target the tricep muscles from different angles.
  • Progression: Cable exercises can be easily adjusted by changing the weight and reps, making it easy to progress and increase the intensity of the workout.
  • Injury prevention: Cable exercises are typically low-impact, which can reduce the risk of injury to the joints. Additionally, proper form and technique can help prevent injury.
  • Improved physique: A well-defined and toned set of tricep muscles can help to create a more aesthetically pleasing physique
  • 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, triceps 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

How To Do

  1. Stand facing a high-pulley cable with a short straight bar attached to it.
  2. Slight bend your knees and feet should be about shoulder-width apart.
  3. Grasp the Short bar with a pronated grip (palm down) and hold the bar at chest level with your elbows tight against your sides.
  4. Keeping your elbows stationary, straighten your arms until they are fully extended.
  5. 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

How To Do

  1. Stand facing a high-pulley cable with a short straight bar attached to it.
  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 cable tricep kickbacks. Most people perform this exercise just using the cable, without any kind of handle or D handle attached to it.

It 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

How To Do

  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.  
Best Cable Tricep Exercises for Strong and Defined Arms

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

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.

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

How To Do

  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.
  4. You should feel a strong contraction in the backs of your arms.
  5. Hold the peak contraction for a full second. Slowly release the contraction while keeping your elbows still.
  6. Repeat steps 3-4 for as many sets as are desired.

Tips

  • Your elbow must remain fixed during the set.
  • 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

How To Do

  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. Inhale as you perform this movement and pause when your triceps are fully stretched.
  4. 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.
  • Keep your arms close to your head for maximum triceps engagement.
  • Use 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.

It 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

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.
  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

  • 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!

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

How To Do

  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.
  3. Your elbow should face up, and your arms should be at a 90° angle. This will be your starting position.
  4. Move the bar down until the bar reaches below your head. Keep your elbows tucked in.
  5. Press the bar up by squeezing your triceps and extend full at the top.
  6. 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.

It can be beneficial for fixing imbalances in the triceps or rehabilitating from injury.

Cable Tricep Extension put no pressure on the wrists, so they are an alternative for people with wrist strain or injury.

Incline Cable Triceps Extension

How To Do

  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.
  4. At the final point, prolong the peak contraction, withstood a short pause.
  5. Return to the starting position.

Tips

  • 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

How To Do

  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

How To Do

  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.
  7. 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

How To Do

  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).
  3. Keep your right bent and the upper portion of your thigh parallel to the floor.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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.

Tips

  • Standing upright with the spine straight is the standard position.

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

How To Do

  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.
  3. Your elbows should be bent with the forearms pointing towards the high pulley.
  4. 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.
  5. Hold onto this position for a count, isolating the triceps, and return back up to the start.

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

How To Do

  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.

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.

Tricep Workout Training Techniques

Training Volume (Sets And Reps)

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:

Sets

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

When a certain amount of volume stops being effective and your progress stalls, you can add sets to increase volume and use that as a driver of renewed progress. 

Reps

The best rep ranges and loads to work with.

  • 6-8 reps with heavy load
  • 8-15 reps with moderate load
  • 15-20+ with light load

The load should bring you to or near failure within the given rep ranges to be effective.

Cable tricep Workout routine for beginner

Here is a beginner cable tricep workout routine that can be done at the gym:

  1. Cable Rope Tricep Pushdown: 4 sets of 12 reps
  2. Cable Overhead Tricep Extension: 3 sets of 12 reps
  3. Cable Kickback: 3 sets of 12 reps

Rest for 30-60 seconds between sets.

Make sure to use a weight that is appropriate for your fitness level and to use proper form throughout the exercises.

Cable tricep Workout routine for intermediate

Here is an intermediate cable tricep workout routine that can be done at the gym:

  1. Cable Rope Tricep Pushdown: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
  2. Cable Tricep Pushdown (V-bar attachment): 4 sets of 12-15 reps
  3. Reverse Grip Cable Tricep pushdown: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
  4. Cable Overhead Tricep Extension: 4 sets of 12-15 rep

Tricep Cable Workout routine for advance

Here is an advanced cable tricep workout routine that can be done at the gym:

  1. Cable Rope Tricep Pushdown: 4 sets of 8-12 reps with heavy weight, drop set for the last set
  2. Cable Overhead Tricep Extension: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  3. Cable Kickback: 4 sets of 8-12 reps with heavy weight, drop
  4. Cable Tricep Pushdown (V-bar attachment): 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  5. Cable Tricep Extension (straight bar attachment): 4 sets of 8-12 reps set for the last set 

Note:

It’s a good idea to add a variety of exercises to your tricep workout routine to target the muscle from different angles and provide overall muscle growth.

Be smart: don’t limit yourself to cable tricep exercises. Get the benefits they offer and use other tricep exercises to supplement them when needed.

Cable workout can be easily incorporated into any training program and can be particularly effective when used alongside dumbbell, barbell, machines, and bodyweight to build the biggest, strongest arm possible.

Conclusion

Tricep cable exercises are a versatile and effective way to target the tricep muscles, leading to improved upper body strength, improved aesthetic physique, and a variety of other benefits.

Incorporating cable exercises into your workout routine can add variety, provide constant tension and isolation, and be easily adjusted to match your fitness level.

By following proper form and technique and warming up properly, you can reduce the risk of injury and achieve optimal results.

The sample workout routines provided can be a good starting point, but it’s important to switch up your routine every 6-8 weeks to keep your muscles guessing, and avoid hitting a plateau.

Remember to always listen to your body and adjust the weight, reps, and sets accordingly.

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.

How do you work your triceps with cables?

To work your triceps with cables, you can perform exercises such as tricep pushdowns, tricep pulldowns, tricep extensions, cable overhead tricep extensions, and cable kickbacks.

These exercises can be done by attaching a rope, straight bar, or V-bar to a cable machine and selecting a weight.

Proper form and technique should be used to target the tricep muscles.

Thanks for reading, enjoy your Triceps Cable Exercises!

STAY FIT, LIVE A HAPPY AND HEALTHY LIFE

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