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The cable machine is one of the popular machines you can find in the gym. There are many different types of exercises you can do on the cable machine. But many people don’t go to the gym and they train at home with basic gym garage equipment. So you must have some alternative options with you.
Here in this article, I will share with you some of the best cable overhead tricep extensions which you can do at home with basic home equipment like dumbbells and barbells. Also, if you want to add some new tricep exercises in place of the cable overhead tricep extension, then this article is for you. So before getting started, let’s first discuss which muscles are worked during cable overhead extension.
Muscles Worked During Cable Overhead Tricep Extension
Cable overhead extension is the exercise that targets the tricep muscles, especially the long head. Along with that, some additional muscles like lats and forearms are also involved and as secondary muscles.
During overhead tricep extension, your triceps gets into an amazing stretch that engages the long head at its best. So when we choose any alternative exercises, then we must select those exercises which bring your triceps at a good stretch and engage the long head more. So by looking at these factors, I have selected some of the best alternatives for you. So let’s begin!
1. Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension (Single-hand)
This is a great exercise to hit those big inner muscles of your triceps. It’s good for those who have one side weaker than the other because you can train each part separately. So if you are at home and want to try some alternative to cable overhead tricep extension, then do consider this option.
How to do
1. Stand straight and take one dumbbell in your hands. Lift the dumbbells and hold them with your elbows extended.
2. From that position, start lowering the dumbbell until your triceps are fully stretched at the bottom.
3. Move the dumbbells up by bringing your hands up and extending your elbows fully at the top.
Your elbow should point up towards the ceiling. Go back up and repeat the movement. Breathe in when you go down and breathe out when you go up.
Don’t swing the weights. Use weights according to your strength to fully control every single rep. Don’t compromise your form to move heavyweights.
It’s always better to move your body in a full range of motion. It will make your muscles do the most work in each rep. Also, it will help you in improving mobility and range of motion.
2. Band Overhead Tricep Extension
Bands are good at creating constant tension on the muscles when performed correctly. The more you stretch the bands, more will be the resistance. So here, your triceps will be working the most during the end phase of the extension.
You can also stretch your long head during this exercise which will allow your long head to work more. So this is another great exercise similar to the cable overhead extension.
How to do
1. Take a resistance band and attach it to the top of the pillar or bar.
2. Hold the band from each hand and step a few steps forward and stand at a split stance. Bend slightly forward and keep your hands parallel to the floor.
3. Being your wrist behind the body while keeping your arms straight. Your triceps will be stretched and this will be your starting position.
4. Start moving your hands forward while keeping your straight and fully extending the elbows at the end.
5. Now slowly bring your wrists back to the starting position and stretch your triceps at the end.
3. Skull Crushers
This is another perfect exercise to train your long head because you can put your triceps in an extra stretch position at the bottom which will create more tension on the long head of the tricep.
How to do
1. Hold a barbell or an EZ bar and lay down on a bench. Hook your feet under the pegs of a bench for balance.
2. Tight your abs and keep your arms up with your elbows extended. This will be your starting
3. Start by bringing the bar down without dropping your elbows and fully stretch your triceps at the bottom.
4. Stop at the bottom and then bring the bar up with the help of your triceps and extend your elbows at the top.
You can go heavy on this exercise as it is a strength-building exercise. But don’t mess your form too much for the sake of lifting heavyweights. You can also do the same exercise with dumbbells.
4. Double-hand Tricep Extensions
This is similar to the single-hand overhead extensions. Here you will grab one dumbbell with both hands. Here you can lift more weights and is good at building strength.
How to do
1. Take one dumbbell and hold it with both of your hands. Take it back and behind the head and keep your elbows extended. This will be your starting position.
2. Start the exercise by lowering the dumbbell while keeping your elbows in. Stop until your triceps are fully
3. From the bottom position, push the dumbbells up with both your hands, extend the elbows at the top and then repeat the movement.
It’s ok if your elbows are going out but make sure it’s not going too far out. Everyone has a different level of flexibility so don’t go too far down if you are not comfortable with it. Don’t go too heavy as it can lead to injuries if you mess your form.
You can do this exercise either by standing or sitting. Remember that you engage more core when you stand.
5. Seated Barbell Tricep Extension
Another great alternative exercise you can do easily at home. You just need a barbell and bumper plates at home. Here, your triceps will get that extra stretch at the bottom which allows the long head to activate the most. It will also target the medial head when you completely lock your elbows at the top.
How to do
1. Sit on a seat and grab the bar with a close grip. Keep your back resting on the seat. You can also take the help of your workout partner to hand over the bar to you.
2. Keep your hands up with your elbows extended and this will be your starting position.
3. Slowly lower the barbell and stretch your triceps at the bottom. Breath in on the way down while keeping your back straight.
4. Stop at the bottom and then use your triceps to bring the weights up. Bring it back to the starting position and extend the elbows at the top.
You can use the EZ bar for this exercise as it is more wrist-friendly as compared to the straight bar. Also, it is advisable to have a spotter at the back who can always support you whenever you need help.
6. TRX Tricep Extension
This is one of the most effective TRX exercises for your triceps. This is the TRX version of skull crushers. This will engage your core and other stabilizer muscles which makes it a perfect bodyweight exercise. So if you don’t have TRX suspension at home, then go and buy one and start doing this exercise.
How to do
1. Attach a TRX Suspension at the top and hold each end of the TRX.
2. Now move your legs back and lean forward while holding the handles. Keep your arms straight in front and this will be your starting position.
3. Start the exercise by lowering your body such that your forearms move back. Your elbows should not move much.
4. Pause at the top when your triceps are fully stretched and then use your tricep muscle to push yourself back to the starting position.
Remember to breathe in on the way down and breath out on the way up. Also, keep your knees extended and core engaged.
Tips For Beginners
If you are a beginner, then don’t go too down or in other words, reduce the range of motion. Stop when your elbows are flexed at a 90° angle.
7. Lying Single Arm Tricep Extension
This is a great unilateral exercise you can add in place of cable overhead extension. Here, you need to focus on the correct form and technique and use a lighter weight in this exercise. You can do this exercise at home on the floor by keeping your knees folded.
How to do
1 Lay on the bench by holding a dumbbell in one hand. Your feet should be on the floor.
2. Now raise your left arm and place the other hand on the left elbow to keep your arms stable. This will be your starting position.
3. Start the exercise by moving your left leg down without moving your elbow. Stop at the bottom when the dumbbell is just above your chest.
4. From the bottom position, push the dumbbell with the help of your arm and then extend your elbow at the top.
5. Now switch and repeat the same movement from the other hand.
Always remember to breathe in on the way down and breath out while you move the dumbbell up. Also, don’t use heavy dumbbells here as this is an isolation exercise where you should focus on proper form and technique rather than swinging with heavy dumbbells.
Many of these alternative exercises require you to have some equipment. If you want to do a workout at home or if for any reason you can’t go to the gym, then these are the equipment I would recommend you should consider buying. You can do many exercises if you have this basic equipment with you.
`1. Adjustable Dumbbells
Having adjustable dumbbells can be very helpful in performing workouts at home. You can do so many exercises with dumbbells. One of the important things to consider before buying dumbbells is whether you can increase or decrease the weight of the dumbbells.
Having adjustable dumbbells is very beneficial as you can increase the weight of the dumbbells as you progress. Bowflex is a very popular equipment company and they have good quality products. Their dumbbells and bench press machines are very popular.
You can check out their dumbbells by clicking here
2. Adjustable Bench
An adjustable bench is another basic and most important piece of equipment you should have in your home gym garage. You can do so many exercises like incline, decline, or flat bench presses. You can adjust the bench angle to hit different parts of the chest.
You can also buy an adjustable bench from Bowflex by clicking here.
3. Dip Bar
If you don’t have a dip bar at home, then you can buy it from sports royals as they have very quality dip bars available. There are so many other products they have. You can check out their dip bars here.
Instead of a dip bar, you can also buy a power tower where you can do so many exercises including pull-ups, dips, hanging leg raises, chin-ups, and much more. So if you are planning to work at home or already working out in your home garage, then you must have a power tower. You can check sports royals power towers here
4. Home Gym Machine
If you want one machine that allows you to do all different kinds of exercises, then Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE is the best. It is a very popular machine and has so many good reviews. Their quality is also good. However, if you don’t work out at home too often, then you might not need it. This product is for those who usually work out at home and want to build their own home gym. Click here to know more about their product
So we discussed some of the best alternatives to cable overhead tricep extension. All of these exercises can be done at home and you don’t need to be dependent on a cable machine to do this exercise. Similar to this there are many other alternative exercises out there that you can find on our website. So I would highly recommend you to check those out.
Also, remember that you also train other heads of the triceps by combining the best exercises according to your strength and goals. You can read some more useful articles which will help you in designing your workout program. Here is the list-
- 10 Best Tricep Exercises To Target The Medial Head
- 12 Best Long head Tricep Exercises For Big And Strong Arms
- 12 Best Alternative to Dips for Chest and Triceps
If you found this article helpful, then please do share it with your friends. Also if you have any questions or suggestions, then do mention that in the comment section below. I like to read all of your comments and will reply to them.
Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He has worked as a personal trainer in gyms and is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com. He is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.