Learning how to do a tricep pull down sounds incredibly simple: you basically just pull a weight down using the muscles on the back of your arms. But as foolproof as it sounds, it’s important to make sure you’re doing the exercise with good form so you can get the most out of every rep (and avoid injury).
For a more detailed definition of the movement, a tricep pull down is where you extend your elbow while resisting a weight or resistance band, explains an ACSM-certified personal trainer. Cable triceps extensions The elbow will extend but not in a fully straight or locked position, he tells Bustle. It is most often done on a cable machine or using medium resistance bands attached to a rail or pole. In other words, it’s a move you can do in the gym as well as at home.
The tricep pull down is the largest muscle in the arm, so it’s important to work it into your exercise routine. Degremont says that focusing on the triceps helps improve upper-body functional movement and ensures bicep and tricep pull down strength stays balanced. Strong triceps are also helpful for other movements you might want to do while working out, like push-ups, burpees, and bench presses. Integrating some triceps work into your routine once or twice a week is recommended, and Degremont says this exercise is an amazing way to isolate muscle. Read on for all the tips you’ll need to master the triceps pull down.
How to Do a Tricep Pull Down?
Degremont recommends aiming for three sets of 15 repetitions with a medium weight. You’ll know you’ve found the perfect level of resistance if the last three to five reps are more difficult for you. Choose your weight setting, then follow this step-by-step guide.
– Stand near the cable machine and face it.
– Keep your feet hip-width apart.
– Reach out and grab the handles of the rope or bar hanging above your head. Use an overhand grip.
– Keep a slight bend in your knees, your core tight, your chest up and your back flat.
– Exhale as you slowly pull the handles toward your hips, keeping your elbows close to your body.
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– Once your arms are almost straight, inhale and return the handles to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.
To do this move with a resistance band, repeat these steps with a band firmly anchored above your head.
For an added challenge, aim for four to six reps using heavier resistance. Degremont also recommends confusing the muscles by changing the grip from an overhand grip to an underhand grip. This will make the tricep pull down feel a bit harder and will target your triceps in a new way.
What to avoid when doing triceps curls?
Again, this move may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s surprisingly easy to make mistakes doing it. One of the most common is popping or flaring your elbows as you tricep pull down, Degremont says. Another is to arch your lower back if you’re fighting the weight, which can strain your muscles and draw attention away from your triceps.
All of these mistakes are often made when the weight or resistance is too heavy to begin with, Degremont explains. Going lighter on the weight and really focusing on your form is the most important thing to consider for fitness and strength gains.
Also, remember those biceps: when training the triceps, it’s important to also train the biceps in the same session to create a balance between the two. antagonist muscles, she says. She can do this by adding bicep curls, incline rows, and dumbbell overhead presses. Finish the workout with some arm stretches to prevent soreness and enjoy your newfound strength.
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