You have most likely asked yourself “what are tricepsAnd how can I make them work? Well, they’re the muscles on the back of the upper arm, responsible for fully extending the elbow joint and flexing the arm toward the body. But instead of being a single muscle, they are made up of three ends: lateral, longAnd average class,
Your triceps are an important cluster, whether you want to avoid joint injury, do endless pull-up sets at the gym, or keep that overpacked grocery cart steady as you push it from the parking lot to your car. Huh. So, what triceps exercises can you do to strengthen this muscle group? While you can do a lot of tricep exercises with dumbbells, not everyone may feel comfortable with them or prefer to use them. Here, find 5 ways to use your gym’s cable machines to build tricep strength and give your arms a 360º tone-up.
#1 Triceps Pushdown
To kickstart your next triceps workout, set your goal lateral head With a tried-and-true exercise: the triceps pushdown. Whether you’re at the beginning of your fitness journey or not, triceps pushdowns are not only a great exercise to strengthen the triceps muscle group and target the lateral head but can also help protect the muscle from injury.
To perform this tricep exercise, you’ll need a cable machine set at a comfortable weight, standing a few feet apart. Here’s what to do:
- Do the cable machine face down with a straight spine and shoulders
- Keep your elbows at your side and grab the bar with both hands
- Hinging at the elbows, pull the bar down until your arms are fully extended
- Slowly allow the elbows to flex and lift the bar. repeat.
workout tip: If you feel you need to move your back, shoulders or hips to pull the bar down, that’s your cue to choose a lower weight. The more you can vary the motion in your arms, the better you’ll work your triceps.
#2 One-Handed Overhead Extensions
The Overhead Triceps Extension (Otherwise Known as the “Superwoman Extension”) Trains You long head one hand at a time. While a variation of this tricep exercise works both arms together, exercising the muscles individually can help isolate and correct muscle imbalances.
To start, you’ll need handle grips with the cable set up just below chest level. Here’s how to do a cable overhead triceps extension:
- Facing away from the machine, place the foot opposite the hand you started with in front of the other foot. Begin with your knees slightly bent and your body slightly leaned forward (like how a sprinter might start a run).
- Grasp the handle with one hand and raise your elbow to your ear, maintaining a 90-degree bend in your elbow.
- Pull the bar up to fully extend your forearm while keeping your active wrist still. Repeat, then switch to the other side.
#3 Lying Triceps Extension
This workout targets all three heads Tricep in one go. For tricep extensions, you’ll need a flat bench, a pulley set near the base of the machine, and a narrow overhand grip.
Place the bench a foot or so in front of the pulley, and begin this tricep workout:
- Lie on your back on a bench and plant your feet firmly on the ground at a 90-degree angle.
- Extend your arms straight above you and grasp the grip with both hands. The hand and wrist should be perpendicular to the rest of your body.
- Stabilize your upper arms, keeping elbows tucked in and bending at the elbows. The pulley should stop just above your forehead before starting the next rep.
#4 Reverse-Grip Pushdown
This exercise is similar to the triceps pushdown, but it targets the long and medial heads.
Start with a straight bar on a pulley machine, and begin:
- Facing the machine, grasp the ends of the bar with both hands and lean forward slightly.
- Pull the bar down in front of your chest, guiding the elbows against your torso. You should have a 90 degree angle at your elbow.
- Now, pull the bar down from the elbows until your arms reach full extension. repeat.
#5 One Arm Horizontal Tricep Extension
Finish off triceps day with an exercise that targets the lateral, long and medial heads in one stroke—Whereas Build elbow strength. This tricep extension workout is unique because it involves pulling the cable up and down.
Set your pulley at chest height, and begin:
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and face the cable machine on one side of your body. Grasp the handle with the hand farthest from the machine.
- Raise your arm to chest height, parallel to the floor. Bend the elbow so that your hand is at 90 degrees toward you.
- Now, take your upper arm back and allow your forearm to extend with it. In the final position, your entire arm should be completely straight and parallel to the floor.
- Repeat for several reps. Then, repeat on the other side.
Build strength and confidence with Choose Fitness
With each triceps exercise, you’ll be on your way to strengthening a muscle group and building stronger triceps. As you’re playing around with these cable tricep exercises, 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps each is a good jumping off point. That said, it never hurts to get workout recommendations tailored to you — and if you’re looking for guidance, that’s where we come.
On chuz fitness, our friendly fitness experts want to send you on your fitness adventure with advice and motivation to boost your confidence and meet your goals. Our community of fitness enthusiasts welcomes people at every stage of their fitness journey – to get started, “search for a location near you” to get startedgym near meonline and get started today.
Annie Chuze is the Vice President of Fitness at Fitness and oversees the Group Fitness and Team Training departments. He has had a career of 25+ years in club management, personal training, group exercise and coach training. Annie lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and son and enjoys hot yoga, snowboarding, and all things cool.
- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Muscle strength and balance are important for healthy joints. https://uihc.org/health-topics/muscle-strength-and-balance-are-important-healthy-joints
- Ace Fitness. Benefits of unilateral training. https://www.acefitness.org/resources/pros/expert-articles/7035/the-benefits-of-unilateral-training/
- Verywell Fit. How to do tricep pushdowns: Proper form, variations, and common mistakes. https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-do-the-triceps-pushdown-3498613
- NCBI. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Triceps Muscle, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536996/