Triceps Pushdown

Training Details Pushdown

  • Primary Muscle
  • Equipment
  • Level

Why you should do a Triceps Pushdown

First, stand in front of a cable machine to do Pushdowns. Attach a rope or shorter bar (straight or v) in the cable. The whole exercise is simply about pulling down the bar / rope by just moving your forearms. The elbows should be fixed to the side of your body at all times and the forearms should move up and down through a movement in the elbow joint.

However, there are a number of mistakes that people make when doing the exercise. The most common one is putting on too much weight. This leads to you leaning forward, over the cable, and thus flap out with your elbows sideways. The movement is no longer just a triceps exercise but also a shoulders and chest exercise similarly to when you do Dips. This is incorrect, you should not use your whole upper body but only your triceps in this exercise.

Therefore, stand just a short distance from the machine. Your elbows should lie just a little in front of your body and they should be still at that position during the entire movement, both forward and sideways. If you need to lift your elbows forward like a skier, you are too far away from the machine which will make you connect your Lats. However, if you feel like your triceps can “relax” when your hands are at the top, you are too close to the machine.

Once you have figured out the correct distance to the machine, grasp the bar with an overhand grip approximately shoulder-width apart. You should always have straight wrists if you train with a barbell. If you start to twist them too much forward during the exercise, you engage the forearms too much. If you train with a rope, you hold the rope so that your thumbs point up towards the ceiling.

Find the right position by having the correct inclination of the upper body and distance to the machine

Tilt slightly forward but not too much because then you will also engage shoulders and chest. Pull back the shoulder blades and slightly push your chest out while swaying a little bit. 

Now, start pushing the bar / rope down until your arms are fully extended. Keep your arms in this position to make contact with your triceps. Then slowly raise the bar / rope again until they reach chest height. Then repeat the downward movement again. Make sure your elbows are locked.

If you perform the exercise with  your upper body slightly tilted forward while your elbows are right in front of your body, you will achieve several good things:

1. Your triceps never rest through the exercise. If you are too close to the machine, they will not be strained in the top position, you eliminate this by standing a little further away.

2. You can perform a longer movement than if you are standing close to the machine with a completely straight back. In an incorrect position, your quads will impede the movement before your triceps reach maximum exertion. Solve this by backing up a bit and slightly lean forward.

3.The long head in the triceps is engaged when the arms are slightly in front of the body when they are fully extended. This is something we really want to achieve.

Guide for Pushdown

  • Lower the weight so that you only work the triceps; you do not want to engage other muscles.
  • Keep your elbows fixed throughout the movement, both forwards and sideways.
  • Find the correct distance from the machine so that your triceps are constantly in contact. They should not rest in the top position.
  • Lean forward slightly but not too much; keep this in mind when you get tired.
  • Make sure your wrists are straight if you are doing the exercise with a barbell.
  • Slowly lower the weight, jerk and do not stress
  • Hold on to the wight on the way back

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