The Triceps Cable Pressdown

How many times have you heard the phrase, “If you’re after big arms train the triceps hard?” More times than you can probably remember.

How many times have you heard someone say, “Train the triceps using the proper form/technique and you’ll see great results?” Not often.

That’s because form and technique usually take a back seat to intensity and load when it comes to strength training. Training the muscles should revolve around using an appropriate load that allows for form and technique to be maintained while stimulating muscle growth.

One of the most common exercises in the quest for large triceps is the Cable Pressdown. This exercise is a favourite of many people because of the continuous tension cables provide when training the triceps. The exercise is very simple to execute and it also leaves the lifter with a pleasant pumped feeling in the arms. Unfortunately, many people use improper technique while performing this movement.

Below are two pictures of the Triceps Cable Pressdown.

Which one demonstrates the correct form?

Picture 1

Picture 2

If you chose picture 1 you are correct. In picture 2 the upper back is hunched over. This places undue stress on the ligaments and is a result of using excessive weight. If the goal is to place the greatest possible emphasis on the triceps heads, the elbows must be kept in close to the body and the back straight.

To properly perform a Triceps Cable Pressdown, you want to maintain those elbows at the sides. Think of the elbow as a hinge swinging open on the descent and then closing for the upward portion of the movement. The body should be straight (the head in line with the torso). Bending forward a bit at the hips is fine if you want to create more leverage. This allows the triceps to take on more of the load as opposed to standing completely upright which makes the abdominals statically contract to a greater degree.

Training the triceps muscle isn’t so difficult if you know how to properly perform the movements. The load you lift now may not be much but, in the long run, investing in the time and effort to learn the proper form will pay off.

Written by Maki Riddington

Discuss, comment or ask a question

If you have a comment, question or would like to discuss anything raised in this article, please do so in the following discussion thread on the Wannabebig Forums – The Triceps Cable Pressdown – discussion thread.