cable triceps pressdown pushdown big arms

The best triceps exercise for big arms

Add serious size and strength to your triceps with the cable triceps pressdown to achieve your goal of building bigger and more defined arms!

In the pursuit of bigger arms it’s tempting to dedicate more gym time to your biceps, because they’re the muscles you see in the mirror. But the best way to add arm size is to focus on proper form when training your triceps, because building more muscle mass on the back of your upper arms will transform how you look in a short-sleeved t-shirt. Here’s how to do the classic cable triceps pressdown properly to make major gains.

cable triceps pressdown exercise

Start strong
Attach a double-rope handle to the high pulley of a cable machine. Now stand facing the machine and take hold of the ropes and grip them hard to fire up your triceps muscles. Now, lean forwards from your hips but keep your chest up and back straight to get into the start position. This creates a more natural angle for each pressdown, so you keep more tension on the triceps and reduce the stress on your shoulder, elbow and wrist joints.

Anchor your elbows
Before you start your set take a moment to “fix” your elbows to either side of your ribs. Much like when doing a biceps curl you don’t want your elbows to flare out to sides, nor move forwards or backwards, during a rep because this means momentum is getting in on the act and so reducing the workload on your triceps. If you can’t do a rep without your elbows moving the weight is too heavy so reduce the resistance and go again.

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Get a full flex
Press your hands down and take each rope handle to either side of your thighs then fully straighten your arms and flex your triceps hard. Pause for at least one second so that more muscle fibres are activated to hold this position, because the more fibres you recruit the greater gains you’ll make. Be careful not to round your shoulders or change your torso position at all as you press your hands down: the only parts of your body that should move are your forearms.

Control the return 
Slowly return your hands back up to the start position – around two seconds is a good target – to once more force as many muscle fibres as possible into action to move and manage the weight. Once back at the top, when your hands are closest to your chin, squeeze your biceps muscles hard. Doing this at the top, then flexing your triceps at the bottom, means the working muscles will move through a full range of motion for every rep, and that’s a big factor behind size and strength increases.

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