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Triceps Pushdown

The triceps extension to the high pulley is a strength training exercise that helps develop the triceps. Even if it is mainly an isolation exercise, it is no less effective than basic polyarticular exercises such as dips or tight bench presses. Extensions to the high pulley have the advantage of maintaining constant tension throughout the movement, unlike dumbbell exercises.

It is generally used in finishing exercises but it can be very suitable as a warm-up in an arms program but also for beginners thanks to a relative technique easy to learn.

The triceps are made up of 3 bundles (internal, lateral, and external) and allows the extension of the forearm on the arm.

Stand in front of the pulley standing, feet apart from the width of the pelvis and back straight. Bend your knees slightly and grab the bar attached to the pulley, hands overhand. Extend your arms keeping your elbows tight against the bust until fully extended, then raise the load by moving only the forearms.

How To Make Triceps Pushdown

1- Starting position

  • Equip a high pulley with a straight bar and stand in front of it.
  • Catch the overhand bar (palms forward), with shoulder-width apart.
  • Spread your legs for better balance (shoulder width) and bend your knees slightly to cushion the movement that will be performed.
  • Stand up straight, look straight ahead, shoulders back, and pecs out.
  • Lower the forearms until they are parallel to the floor, then glue the elbows against the sides and keep them aligned with the body and still.

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2- Execution of the movement

Forearm extension
  • Contract the triceps and slowly lower your forearms to your maximum, arms straight down.
  • Only the forearms must move during the movement, the elbows must remain stationary.
  • Hold down for one second.
Return to starting position
  • Go back up very slowly and controlling to the starting position.
  • Stop when the elbows form a right angle and the forearms are parallel to the ground. Don’t go higher!

Then repeat the movement as many times as necessary.

Mistakes Not To Make

Whatever the bar used (short straight, short curved) and the grip, whether with a rope or a handle, an essential rule appears: keep the elbows as close to the body as possible and above all avoid any movement as much as possible from the latter.

If you move your elbows, you will reduce the work on your triceps, including involving your back. And as you know, your back is much more powerful than your triceps! This will, therefore, have two consequences:

  • the movement will target your arm muscles less well, so it will be much less effective in allowing optimum development of your triceps;
  • and in addition, as it will allow you to lift a lot heavier, you will put a lot more weight and therefore a lot more stress on the elbow joint. With, of course, unnecessary stress because it is not productive.

This is exactly what we want to avoid: increasing the working weight, increasing stress while reducing muscle work: the disadvantages!

So do your exercise well, don’t think about the load or the friends watching you in the gym, and of course focus on the voluntary contraction of your triceps.

But there are also other recommendations and other tips we can give you to avoid making the classic mistakes on this exercise:

  • first, avoid bouncing in the high position: it is easy to use the mechanical bounce that there is in the high position to facilitate the descent of the bar. Indeed, when we raise the bar, the tendons will store elastic energy which they can restore if we bounce the forearm on the arm before coming back down. This is another trick that allows you to lift heavier, but that is even more dangerous than the previous problem: in addition to allowing you to lift heavier, this places enormous stress on the articulation of the triceps at the elbow, and therefore a huge risk of tendonitis injury.
  • On the other hand, do not lock the joint in the low position, because as soon as you lock a joint, it is no longer the muscles that support the load, but your tendons and your cartilage. We can never say it enough, the joints are fragile so we must preserve them and this requires a controlled execution of each movement.
  • Avoid taking supine: even if it allows better insulation, it also puts a lot more tension on the tendons of the triceps. Avoid at all costs!

And as always with the triceps, the maximum warm-up is essential. Allow a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes to warm up the triceps and peripheral muscles before starting your exercise.

To conclude on the triceps extensions to the pulley:

  • keep the elbows in the axis without advancing them, or reversing them, or spreading them;
  • think of the voluntary contraction of your triceps;
  • avoid bouncing in the high position;
  • no locking of the joint in the low position;
  • never use the supine grip.

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1- Many variations can be made to this exercise in particular by varying the grips and using various pulling accessories: pronation grip, supination (the large internal will be more used), hammer grip,
use of the rope (which will rather solicit the large external).

2- To use the long portion of the triceps, you can use the extension rope behind your head.


  • Exhale slowly during the extension phase, until the arms are stretched.
  • Inhale during the ascent phase.
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