Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

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The tricep pushdown is one of the best exercises for triceps development. While the versatile upper-body workout is usually done on a cable machine (a fixture at most gyms), you can also perform a version of the move at home or on the go using a resistance band.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

How to Do Tricep Pushdowns

Depending on the model at your gym, take hold of the horizontal cable bar or rope attachment while facing the tricep pushdown cable machine using an overhand grip.Adjust the bar or rope grips to about chest level.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

Start by setting a modest weight using the pin-and-place adjustment. Other weighing mechanisms might be included in different iterations of the machine.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

  1. Brace your abdominals.
  2. Tuck your elbows at your sides and position your feet slightly apart.
  3. Inhale. Push down until your elbows are fully extended but not yet in the straight, locked position. Keep your elbows close to your body and bend your knees slightly on the pushdown. Resist bending forward. Try to keep your back as straight as possible as you push down.
  4. As you exhale, return to the starting point using a controlled movement. Try not to crash the weights.

For novices, try to finish 4 sets of 8 repetitions. Increase the weight you use as resistance and the number of repetitions you perform as you get fitter.

Benefits of Tricep Pushdowns

The triceps brachii muscle is located at the rear of the upper arm and has three components: the long, lateral, and medial heads. If you want to build up your arms, working all three heads of your triceps is key, and the triceps pulldown does just that.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

Increases Strength

Tricep pushdowns improve your overall strength and endurance by using your shoulders, back, and core.By adding weight as you go, you may modify the workout to your strength and level.

Prevents Injury

The muscles that make up the triceps are vulnerable to overuse injury from repetitive activities like throwing, swimming, and hammering motions. Preventing repetitive stress injuries to the triceps can be achieved with triceps training, particularly with tricep pushdowns.

Improves Functional Fitness

Tricep strength is important in any movement that involves extending your forearms from the elbow.2 Think about closing your car trunk, throwing a ball for your dog, planting in your garden, or trying to crush one last paper bag into an over-filled recycling bin. These everyday tasks could not performed without help from your triceps. Keeping them strong helps you perform a wide variety of activities of daily living.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

Tones Arms

Strengthening the tricep muscles is one way to achieve a toned appearance in your arms. Because the triceps are located along the backside of the upper arm, toning these muscles is visible. This can be important to some people, especially bodybuilders.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

Other Variations of Tricep Pushdowns

As your level of fitness rises, there are methods to make tricep pulldowns harder.
In addition, you can do alternatives at home, which are helpful for between-gym workouts or those who don’t have convenient access to gym equipment.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

Resistance Band Tricep Pulldowns

Try performing the exercise at home or on the go with a resistance band if you don’t belong to a gym or if the equipment you use there doesn’t include a pushdown machine.
You’ll also need something sturdy above your head, like a metal bar, rod, or hook.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

Place the band around the secure point (at least at chin height, if not over your head). Grip the ends of the band and perform the pushdown exercise using the same form you would on a cable machine.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

One-Armed Tricep Pulldowns

Tricep pushdowns can be done one-handed or with both hands. A two-handed modification will work whether you’re on a machine or using a resistance band. Doing one arm at a time allows you to slow down and focus on correcting poor form. It can also be useful if one arm is recovering from an injury or you have one side that is generally weaker than the other.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

Grip Bar Modifications

The cable and pulley machine used in this workout is certainly available at your gym, along with a variety of grip attachments.You may see a straight bar, or ones with bends, such as the E-Z bar and V-angled bar. These are used in the same way, but you may find one more comfortable to use than another.3

Rope Pushdowns

Using the rope attachment will give your tricep pushdown exercise some variation. Pausing at the bottom of the exercise puts greater strain on the triceps.

Barbell Skull Crushers

The same muscles are worked in skull crushers, sometimes referred to as triceps extensions, however instead of using a cable pulley system, dumbbells are used.

Tricep Pushdowns: Common Mistakes

Tricep pushdowns work well, but to get the most out of the workout and avoid injury, you have to perform it correctly. Here are some typical errors people make and tips on how to prevent them.

Your Elbows Flare Out

Don’t allow your elbows to flare outward on the downward push. This negates the work on your triceps and places unwanted stress on your shoulders. Make sure your elbows stay close to your sides during the entire movement.

You’re Not Using Both Sides Equally

Check in to be sure you push down smoothly and evenly with both arms. If this is difficult, you might have some strength imbalance between your two sides. Do some one-armed tricep pushdowns on your weaker side to help equalize your abilities on both sides.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

You’re Using Your Back Too Much

You don’t want to bend over at the back and shoulders to force the weight down. That being said, to ensure your triceps are getting fully worked, it can be helpful to lean forward slightly and allow your knees to bend slightly as you push down. This position ensures you’re engaging all muscle components equally.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

Safety and Precautions

Be cautious with tricep pushdowns if you have an elbow injury or develop persistent elbow soreness. If you have certain medical conditions or are recovering from surgery, illness, or injury, check in with a healthcare professional before starting or changing your exercise routine.


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