What are Tricep Pushdowns?

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  • Written By: Matthew F.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 January 2020
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One of the staples of tricep workouts, tricep pushdowns work the core tricep muscle while putting limited stress on the rest of the arm. The tricep pushdown is most commonly done on a cable machine and is one of the most common exercises for any tricep workout. The workout can be done in a variety of different ways to work the range of the tricep muscle and can be done for toning, strengthening or overall fitness.

Cable tricep pushdowns are the most common variation of the exercise and are done on a weighted cable machine. A handle is put on the end of an elevated cable, hanging down to about shoulder height. The workout is done by standing in front of the cable and gripping the handle with both hands. With the arms bent at the elbows and the hands raised, the exercise is performed by pulling down the cord and handle with the triceps, keeping the arms and body stable and steady.

The triceps pushdown exercise can be done with a rope cord handle, using the hands with the palms facing each other. With the rope, the exerciser can perform the tricep pushdowns by pulling the rope outward at the bottom of the exercise to work the outside of the muscles. Other handles can keep the palms facing downward or keep the hands farther apart or close together, providing different degrees of difficulty and stresses on different parts of the muscle.


Tricep cable pushdowns are commonly done in sets of three, with around eight to 12 repetitions. Common weights can vary greatly depending on the strength of the exerciser, but the triceps pushdowns are best done to failure to build strength. Conversely, they are best done with more repetitions and lighter weights to promote shaping and toning of the muscle.

Cable tricep pushdowns should be done with the elbows pinned lightly to the side and the wrists straight. The wrists should not bend back during the tricep pushdowns and the hands should be squeezed hard during the exercise. At the end of the exercise, the shoulders should be dropped downward to help push the weight as far down as possible.

The weight during the tricep pushdowns should be controlled on the way up to help work the muscle in the other direction and remain steady. You should push down on the weight without momentum, going slowly enough to use only your muscles on the exercise.


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