The triceps pushdown is one of the best exercises for triceps development. Variations include grip position and a rope handle instead of the horizontal bar. Done properly, this one really burns.
The triceps muscle at the rear of the upper arm comprises three heads and is a bigger muscle than the biceps at the front of the arm. Building big triceps is the key to bigger all-round arms if that’s your aim. Be cautious with this exercise if you have an elbow injury or if you develop persistent elbow soreness over time. ‘Light weights rule’ to start with.
Muscles worked: triceps brachii
Face the triceps pushdown machine and grasp the horizontal cable bar with an overhand grip. The bar should be at about chest level.
Tuck the elbows into the sides and position the feet comfortably, slightly apart.
To start with, set a low weight with the pin and plate adjustment and practise a few repetitions to see how the device works. Versions of this machine may include other weighting mechanisms.
Brace the abdominals. Push down on the handle bar until elbows are fully extended yet without snapping the elbows straight and by keeping the elbows close to the body on the way down.
Bend the knees slightly on the pushdown but stay as upright as possible with back straight. Don’t recruit the back and shoulder muscles by bending too far forward.
Allow the bar to return to the starting point under control, and try not to clash the weights. (I know . . . it hurts back there.)
Don’t allow the elbows to flare outward on the the downward push as this will negate the effect on the triceps and place unwanted stress on the shoulder.
Push down smoothly and evenly on both sides.
Don’t bend over at the back and shoulders in order to force the weight down; this is an arm exercise!
Do allow the knees to bend slightly on the pushdown.