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    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

    Using an overhand hold, face the tricep pushdown cable machine and grasp the horizontal cable bar or rope attachment, depending on the model at your gym. Adjust the bar or rope grips to about chest level.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

    To start, use the pin-and-place adjustment and set a low weight. Different versions of the machine may include other weighting mechanisms.

    1. Brace your abdominals.
    2. Tuck your elbows at your sides and position your feet slightly apart.1
    3. 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.1
    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.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

    Benefits of Tricep Pushdowns

    The long, lateral, and medial heads make up the three parts of the triceps brachii muscle, which is situated behind the upper arm.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 also benefit your overall strength and endurance by engaging your core, back, and shoulders.1 The move is adaptable to your strength and level, as you can increase the weight as you go.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

    Prevents Injury

    Overuse injuries from repetitive activities such as throwing, swimming, and hammering are a risk factor for the triceps muscles. Repetitive stress injuries of the triceps can be prevented by training the triceps, including with tricep pushdowns.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

    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

    One method to make your arms appear toned is to strengthen your tricep muscles. Toning these muscles is noticeable because the triceps are situated toward the rear of the upper arm. This can be important to some people, especially bodybuilders.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

    Other Variations of Tricep Pushdowns

    There are ways to increase the difficulty of tricep pulldowns as your fitness level increases. 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.

    Resistance Band Tricep Pulldowns

    If you aren’t part of a gym or if your gym doesn’t have a pushdown machine, try using a resistance band to do the workout at home or while traveling. You’ll also need something sturdy above your head, like a metal bar, rod, or hook.

    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.

    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. Additionally, it may be helpful if you have a weaker side overall or if one arm is healing after an injury.

    Grip Bar Modifications

    If your gym has the cable and pulley machine used in this exercise, it probably also has a selection 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

    You can add variety to your tricep pushdown exercise by using the rope attachment. It introduces more exertion on the triceps if you pause at the bottom of the move.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

    Barbell Skull Crushers

    Skull crushers, also known as triceps extensions, engage the same muscles as tricep pushdowns, however, they employ dumbbells instead of a cable pulley system.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

    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.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

    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.

    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.Tricep Pushdowns: Are You Doing Them Properly?

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