5 Pushdown Variations for Horseshoe Triceps

The triceps pushdown is a staple of almost every bodybuilding routine. Beginners and advanced trainees alike can benefit from this foundational exercise, which isolates the triceps for targeted development. There are a number of pushdown variations that, while similar, each have a distinct "feel" and target the 3 heads of the tricep (lateral head, medial head, long head) in a slightly different way. Here are 5 of my favorites:

Band Triceps Pushdown

The band variation is a great warm-up for any heavy presses or to use while traveling or at home.

Triceps Pushdown with Rope

The rope variation allows for extended range of motion at the bottom of the movement by pulling the rope apart.

Triceps Pushdown with V-Bar

The V-Bar variation should allow you to move some heavier weight.

Triceps Pushdown with Straight Bar

The straight bar variation (with an overhand grip) places emphasis on the lateral (outer) head of the tricep.

Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdown with Straight Bar

The reverse (underhand) grip places more stress on the medial head of the triceps.

Coaching Cues

  1. Step far enough away from the cable so that you can tilt your body forward at a slight angle to allow a full range of motion.
  2. Keep your elbows at your sides and close to your body. Don't "swing" them up and down to assist in the movement or attempt to extend the range of motion.
  3. Fully extend your arms and hold a "squeeze" at the bottom of the movement.

Programming

Implement these triceps pushdown variations in the following ways:

  1. During your warm-up, prior to any heavy pressing (bench press, overhead press, etc.) using light weight (or a band) and high reps (15-30 reps).
  2. Within your regularly scheduled tricep workout using a moderately heavy weight and moderate reps (8-12 reps).
  3. As a giant set of 100 reps to finish your tricep/chest/shoulder workout (1 set of 20 reps of each variation).