Tricep Pushdown

  • Alternative Names: Cable tricep pushdown, straight bar tricep pushdown, tricep pushdown machine
  • Type: Strength
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Equipment: Cable machine (pushdown machine), straight bar attachment
  • Muscles Targeted: Triceps, shoulders, back, core
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Average Number of Sets: 3-4 with 8-10 reps each
  • Variations: Cable rope, reverse grip, v bar, banded, and single arm tricep pushdowns
  • Alternative: Bent over two-arm dumbbell tricep extension

The tricep pushdown, according to many gym trainers, is one of the most effective upper-body exercises for developing your triceps. It improves the muscle mass and strength of your upper arms by engaging the long, medial, and lateral heads of your triceps.


  • Builds your triceps and develops the skill required for performing advanced pressing movements like the shoulder press and bench press.
  • You can also do it using a resistance band in the comfort of your home.

How to do a Tricep Pushdown

Attach a straight bar to a high-pulley machine (with 25-50 lb weight plates stacked in it) and grab it using a shoulder-width, overhand grip. Stand straight and bring the upper arms near your body so that they are perpendicular to the ground. Make sure the forearms are pointing towards the pulley. Pull the bar down towards your thighs by fully extending the arms. Hold this position for about one to two seconds before bringing the bar up to the initial position.

Cable Tricep Pushdown Tips

  • Keep your upper arms static and close to your torso throughout the movement.
  • Do not tilt your shoulder blades forward while extending the elbows.
  • Avoid locking your elbows out completely to keep more tension in your triceps.


  1. Tricep Rope Pushdown: Is similar to the basic version except that you do it by holding the rope attachment using a neutral grip.
  2. Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown: Is done by grabbing the bar attachment with your palms facing up.
  3. V Bar Tricep Pushdown: Involves holding a v-bar attachment with a pronated grip and pushing it down towards your thighs.
  4. Banded Tricep Pushdown: Is performed with resistance bands instead of the high pulley cable.
  5. Single Arm Tricep Pushdown: Involves grabbing the handle with a single hand using an underhand grip.

Alternative Exercise

Bent Over Two-Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extension

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