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How To Do Triceps Pushdown: Step-by-Step Guide and Common Mistakes


Triceps pushdowns are an effective exercise to build bulkier arms and upper body strength.

Unlike other triceps exercises, this is an isolation exercise. Allowing you to strain your triceps to maximum efficiency.

It’s a robust exercise for your triceps that will help to build mass on the back of your upper arms.

Also, the form isn’t too difficult to master. If you are looking to sculpt your arms, then the triceps pushdown is something to incorporate in your arm workouts.

The triceps pushdown is usually done with a cable machine. There is a resistance band variation out there too which requires you to attach the band to an elevated structure. The resistance band version works the same way as the cable triceps pushdown.

This guide will cover the optimal form of triceps pushdown, common mistakes you need to avoid, and the benefits of incorporating this effective exercise into your regimen.

Let’s get started.

How To Do Triceps Pushdown

Triceps pushdown can be done with a rope attachment or a straight bar. But which is more effective?

In a study done by The American Council on Exercise, the rope pushdown is more effective than the straight bar pushdown. During the experiment, the rope variation stressed the triceps considerably more than its counterpart.

Therefore, if we are aiming for an optimal triceps pushdown form, then a rope attachment is the way to go.

Before you start, make sure you attach the rope to the high point of the cable machine.

  • Start by facing the cable machine.
  • Next, grab the rope attachment firmly.

Now comes the form.

  • Your feet should be hip-width apart.
  • Keep your core stiff to stabilize your spine.
  • Your shoulders should be pressed back and down.
  • Next, lower the rope down to your chest level.
  • Elbows should be in line with your chest, arms by your sides not touching your body, and your wrists should be aligned with your forearms.
  • This is your starting position.


  • Start the motion of the triceps pushdown by extending your elbows.
  • Push the rope downwards.
  • Make sure your wrists, arms, and shoulders maintain their alignment as mentioned above.
  • Fully extend your elbows while keeping your wrists in line with your forearms.
  • Pause for a slight moment as your elbows extend fully.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • The slower you go, the more you burn your triceps.
  • The key here is to make sure your elbows do not flare out.


This is what a proper repetition of a triceps pushdown should look like.


This is an isolation exercise, meaning only your triceps should be used. If you feel strain in your lats, it means your elbows are moving forward. Therefore, monitor your movement. As your elbows should stay stationary and neither move to the sides nor up and down.

Triceps Pushdown Muscles Worked


Triceps pushdown solely works on your triceps.

Your triceps are located in the back of your upper arms. They play a crucial role in overall upper body strength and aesthetics.

Triceps pushdown works all three heads of your triceps: the long, medial, and lateral heads. As mentioned above it is one of the most effective isolation exercises for the triceps. If you feel any other muscle group being worked, then your form needs to be improved.

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Common Mistakes Of Triceps Pushdown


While the form is easy to master, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Elbows Flaring Out

This can happen if you are using more weight than your triceps can withstand. It’s not straining your triceps properly as the momentum is displaced, making it counterproductive. If your elbows move to the sides, then chances are you are taking support from your shoulders or lats.

Start with a weight that your triceps can easily manage and move to perfect your form.

Curling Your Wrists

This is when you get to the bottom of the movement and then curl your wrists outwards. You might think that curling your wrists will give your triceps an extra burn, but in truth, it’s making no difference.

Curling your wrists does not help with fully extending your elbows. However, this does place unnecessary strain on your wrists which is uncalled for.

Arching Your Back

You should slightly lean forward. Bending over can cause the stress to transfer from your triceps to your back and shoulders.

Arching your back also uses unnecessary momentum taking the strain away from the triceps.

Benefits Of Triceps Pushdown



Triceps pushdown is perfect if you are looking to give your triceps a makeover. If you feel like your triceps are imbalanced or lack strength, then this exercise is the solution to your problems.

Increased Upper-Body Strength

Triceps pushdown helps strengthen your triceps which in turn increases your functional strength. Whether you’re a quarterback looking to throw farther or a boxer looking to punch harder, strong triceps can be a game-changer as they are often neglected.

Well-built triceps also help to stabilize your shoulder and elbow joints. This helps to increase lockout strength. Also, the triceps play a huge role in supporting your chest muscles.

So, strong triceps increase your overall strength and performance.

Bigger Arms

Biceps shouldn’t be your only focus when it comes to building bigger arms. Very few people know that triceps actually make up 55% of your upper arm. So, if you’re looking to build bigger arms, then your triceps need just as much importance as your biceps.

Key Takeaway

Triceps pushdown is a great isolation exercise for strengthening your triceps and sculpting your arms. This three-pronged muscle supports other major muscle groups like your chest. Also, they play a crucial role in functional strength.

Therefore, the next time you are doing an upper body exercise and are short on time, a triceps pushdown is the one exercise you can’t afford to miss out on.

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