Your triceps play a crucial role in the anatomy of your upper arm. They are a crucial functional muscle that assists with the flexion of your elbow and when toned and strong, they look wonderfully seductive. Combining compound exercises with isolation workouts like the tricep pushdown will have you in peak beast mode in no time when it comes to gaining bulk and strength.
The cable machine is used in the tricep pushdown to isolate the tris, with special attention paid to the lateral head. It is the perfect workout to incorporate into your upper body or arm day routine, along with some of the substitutes listed below.
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What is a Tricep Pushdown?
You can isolate and target the triceps with a tricep pushdown, a strength training movement. In order to adapt the workout to your goals, it is typically done with a cable machine and changeable weights. A straight bar, rope handles, an EZ-curl bar, or a V-bar are also options, depending on your preferences and what’s available. The triceps are employed, and they are moved through their complete range of motion, for the best results, by facing the machine and pressing the grips down with all activities focused on the elbow.
Advantages Of Performing Tricep Pushdowns
There are numerous advantages to including tricep pushdowns in your upper body or arm workout. The lateral head, which will give you excellent definition along the outside of your arm, is one benefit of doing this. They are also excellent for using your shoulders, back, and core as stabilizers.
Of course, performing tricep pushdowns will also aid in boosting the size of your upper body and giving you the coveted horseshoe-shaped triceps. Finally, you’ll notice an improvement in your wrist, shoulder, and elbow stability, which will help you do other workouts better.
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The Tricep Pushdown Works What Muscles?
The lateral head of the triceps receives the most activation during the tricep pushdown, which works all of the muscle heads in the tricep. As they serve as stabilizers while you work, your glutes, lats, abs, traps, and pecs will also get a secondary workout in addition to the tris.
How to Do a Tricep Pushdown
Although tricep pushdowns are a fairly straightforward workout, you can improve your results by making a few small adjustments to your form. It’s an excellent move to incorporate after stronger complex exercises as a triceps isolation workout. However, you should make an effort to prevent your other muscles from stealing tension. Keep your elbows pinned to your sides to prevent lat involvement while doing this. You may also keep your elbows tucked in by utilizing a broader grip while holding the bar underhand, ropes, or a V-bar.
In order to prevent your shoulders and chest from taking over, keep your chest out and outward, your shoulder blades tight, and your body slanted forward. Additionally, doing so will broaden your range of motion and optimize tension throughout it. Last but not least, keep your wrists parallel to your forearms as you press down to prevent them from flexing.
- With your chosen bar(s) or handles facing the cable machine and your feet a few steps apart, take an overhand hold. Either place one foot behind the other or place both feet together when standing.
- Lean slightly forward while lifting your chest and hunching at the hips.
- Keep your elbows locked at your sides after pulling the bar down until they are there. Your arms will be roughly 90 degrees bent.
- Push the weight down using only your elbow joint until your arms are straight and your triceps are completely tensed.
- Allow the bar/handles to rise once more while just moving at the elbows until your arms are parallel to your torso.
- Repeat for the reps and sets you’ve selected.
Tricep Pushdown Technique for Home Use
It’s less probable that you’ll have access to a cable machine if you’re exercising at home. A resistance band cable pushdown is a fantastic alternative that can be done at home with no equipment. The mechanics and technique are identical, but you’ll use resistance bands fastened very firmly to a hook, door frame, or other alternative anchor points above your head in place of the cable machine. To avoid it falling off in the middle of a draw and hitting you in the face, it must be carefully and firmly fastened.
Bar vs. Rope Tricep Pushdown
Which grip to use for tricep pushdowns—a straight bar, V-bar, EZ-curl bar, or ropes—is one of the most often asked questions. What you select will depend on what is offered, what is more, comfortable for you, and how flexible your wrists are. There are several restrictions with a straight bar, particularly if you have wrist problems. This is due to the fact that for a lot of people, flexing the wrist tends to create radial deviation, which makes holding a straight bar uncomfortable and may cause you to flare your elbows out. Therefore, using your hands in a more natural position while holding ropes or even a V-bar might improve your form.
Another advantage of using the rope is that studies have shown it to be marginally more successful at engaging the triceps, and you can get a small amount of extra activation at the bottom of the push as you naturally draw out. All handle types, nevertheless, can be used in your workout.
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Tricep Pushdown Alternatives
There are numerous different exercises that target your triceps, just like you can train any other area of your body. While some workouts are powerful compound actions that work the entire muscle, others are great isolation drills that let you concentrate on just one of the three heads. You can create a well-rounded routine for gaining bulk and strength by combining tricep pushdowns with a variety of these other exercises.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to occasionally switch things up to prevent boredom from too much repetition for both you and your triceps. Last but not least, remember to include some downtime to allow your body to relax and heal.
Lying Triceps Extensions
The lying tricep extension, commonly referred to as skull crushers, is a traditional triceps workout. The long head of the triceps is put through its whole range of motion, from contraction to extension, in this deadly exercise. When performing this exercise while reclining on a bench, you should keep your elbows close together while holding dumbbells or a barbell and lowering them to either side of your head. However, if you start with your arms straight up, there won’t be any tension at the peak of the exercise.
To counter this, utilize an incline bench or move your arms slightly back at the shoulders to create more tension across the whole range of action. As your arms come to a 90-degree angle with your body, you can also utilize resistance bands that are fastened to the dumbbells to create that stress.
Weighted Upright Dips
Weighted upright dips are a great isolated exercise to incorporate into your program. Because you are in a more upright position, you can target the lateral and medial heads of the triceps. Additionally, it is simple to gradually overload with weight, which is one of the finest strategies to train type two muscle fibers. A suitable weight that you can hold between your knees or hang around your waist is required. A weighted upright dip’s biggest drawback is that, depending on your flexibility, it may result in sore shoulders. A close-grip bench press is a fantastic substitute in that situation.
Close Grip Bench Press
Large compound pressing exercises with heavy weights are one of the most effective ways to train your triceps, even if isolation workouts are great for focusing on specific muscle areas. Because the triceps are primarily type-two muscular fibers, which respond best to intense stimulation, it is simpler to gradually overload the weight for stronger, bigger muscles.
The closer your hands are together as you grip the bench press, the more your triceps will be activated, especially through the long head. But holding hands too closely might potentially cause shoulder or wrist pain. As a result, for the best of all worlds, the optimum spot for hand placement on the bar is just a little bit narrower than your shoulders.
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Tricep Rope Pushaways
This exercise often referred to as overhead cable extensions, is great for stretching the long head. It’s a fantastic single-joint exercise that, when paired with tricep pushdowns, creates a potent superset. You should concentrate on keeping your elbows tucked in tightly beside your ears while performing them. In order to emphasize the stretch, even more, you should also allow your elbows to go back slightly when you let the weight go, but be careful not to let them flare out.
Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown
On a biomechanical level, the triceps have no real effect on whether the forearm or hand pronates or supinates. Movement does not, however, take place in a vacuum because the body is a connected kinetic chain. As a result, if you have a tendency for your elbows to flare out like chicken wings, an underhand grip can help keep your elbows tucked in.
Additionally, it permits a slight additional extension of the arm at the shoulder for a stronger triceps contraction. The main drawback is that it can strain your wrists; in this situation, single handles would be a better option than a straight bar.
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Diamond Cutter Pushups
A diamond cutter pushup is a wonderful variation on a standard push-up to better target your triceps if you’re seeking bodyweight workouts for home or are new to working out. It forms a diamond shape by placing your hands close together under your torso. As a result, the triceps become more prominent and the chest becomes less important. There are certain drawbacks, though. If you can perform several of them, you won’t be receiving enough stimulus to result in muscular hypertrophy and growth.
The hand placement can be problematic if you have restricted wrist movement, and it doesn’t activate the long head as much as other alternate exercises. If the diamond hand placement does bother your wrists, a close-grip pushup can be an excellent substitute.
The cobra pushup is another effective pushup variation for working the triceps. The distinction is that in this instance you are scooping your chest and torso forward and up as you push, as opposed to pushing your body straight up. Your elbows will be behind your torso at the top of this shift when they are fully extended. The long head, which makes up the majority of the triceps’ mass, will contract most strongly here. Don’t worry if you need to go on your knees because this is a lot more difficult variety.
JM Blakely, a strength and conditioning coach, and world-record-holding athlete invented the JM Press in the beginning. It is essentially a combination of a close-grip bench press with a tricep extension (skull crusher). As a result, it is a large compound exercise that also targets the deltoids and pecs in addition to the triceps. You’ll be able to increase your muscular mass, strength, and bench press lockout. Powerlifters, weightlifters, CrossFitters, and general bodybuilders will all find it to be a great supplement. Work up to large weights gradually; otherwise, you run the danger of injuring your elbow tendons as it can put a lot of pressure on them.
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The dumbbell kickback is a simple workout that you may do to target your triceps. It’s a fairly adaptable move that may be performed two-handedly while tilted at the waist, bent with a hand braced on your knees, or one-handedly while using a bench. Keeping your upper arms parallel and tight to your body while your elbow is fully extended is one of the most important things to remember.
Additionally, you should avoid leveraging your momentum, flaring your elbows, and arching your back. Set yourself up facing forward on an inclined bench with the angle set at about 45 degrees if you want to improve your kickbacks. You will be able to perform the maneuver at its peak long head contraction thanks to this.
Incline Dumbbell Powerbombs
An incline dumbbell overhead press is another name for incline dumbbell powerbombs. The shoulder is in a flex position, which is perfect for striking the muscle’s lengthy head. Even better shoulder flexion is achieved by positioning your bench at a 45-degree angle as opposed to performing an extension while lying flat.
However, there is very little strain when your arm is straight up, similar to the laying triceps extensions. But this is simple to fix. Start by moving your arm back slightly so that it is more perpendicular to the floor than in line with your ears. This will guarantee tension across the whole range of motion, giving you the best workout possible.
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Best Triceps Workout
Check out this top triceps exercise, which is supported by science, if all of the options are a little overwhelming or you simply don’t feel like thinking. From the mind of ATHLEAN-X founder Jeff Cavaliere, he elevates every step to ensure the greatest outcomes. Since the triceps make up 60% of your upper arm bulk, you want them to appear large and powerful. There are only five effective exercises in this routine: the close-grip bench press, the tricep dips, the overhead cable extension, the tricep pushdowns, and the lying triceps extensions.