10 Best Tricep Exercises With Cables For Strong And Defined Arms

Published by Roshan S Pillai on

Tricep exercises with cables

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You might be familiar with various tricep exercises done by using free weights like dumbbells and barbells. But what about cables? Here in this article, you will find the best and most effective cable exercises for triceps which you can do very easily on a cable machine.

Cable machines are easily available in almost every gym. You can do a variety of exercises on this machine. So let’s talk about some powerful tricep exercises without wasting your time.

Cable Exercises for Triceps

1. Triceps Pushdown

This is the most common exercise you will find people doing in the gym. This will be a great exercise to kickstart your tricep workout.

Targeted Muscles- Lateral head of the tricep

How to do

1. Attach a bar at the upper end of the cable machine and hold it with both hands are slightly less than the shoulder width.

2. Lean slightly forward and keep your elbows closer to the waist. This will be your starting position.

3. With your shoulders pinged back, start pushing the weights down and completely extend your elbows right at the bottom. Your chest should be up as you move.

4. Slowly return to the starting position without rolling your shoulders forward.

You don’t have to add too much weight which puts you in an improper form. Your form and technique are key during this exercise.

2. Cable Overhead Tricep Extension ( low pulley)

This exercise will completely stretch your triceps. If you want bigger triceps, then this exercise will help you with that.

Targeted muscles- Long head of the triceps

How to do

1. Attach a rope at the bottom of the cable machine. Hold each end of a rope and twist your body such that your back is facing the machine.

2. Take your hands back such that your triceps are facing the ear and keep your arms straight up. Your stance can be staggered or together. For beginners, the staggered stance is preferred.

3. Start moving your hands down by flexing your elbows. Reach the bottom and stretch your triceps.

4. Now pull the weights up without moving your elbows and extend your elbow at the top.

Your hands should go out naturally as you go back, but make sure it’s not going too far out. Furthermore, your elbow should not come forward as you move the ropes upward.

3. One-Arm Tricep Pushdown

This exercise will completely isolate your triceps and will give you the best pump after performing the exercise. You can do this at the end of the work out after heavy compound tricep exercises or at the beginning of the workout.

Targeted Muscles – Medial and long head of the triceps

How to do

1. Attach a cable at the upper end of the cable machine and grab it with a supinated (underhand) grip.

2. Lean slightly forward and keep your elbows closer to the waist. This will be your starting position.

3. Start pushing the cables down and completely extend your elbows at the bottom. Your chest should be up as you move. Don’t bend your lower back.

4. Pause at the bottom for 1 second and then slowly return to the starting position.

You should not use heavy weight during this exercise because it can lead to a wrist injury. If you are a beginner then stick with the regular price pushdowns as the supinated grip will be uncomfortable in the beginning.

Also, many people lack mobility in their wrists when they are beginners. So you can do this variation instead of the exercise shown above

4. Cable Lying Triceps Extension

This is a perfect variation of regular skull crushers done with the bar. This cable version will create constant tension on your triceps and will help you in improving your mind and muscle connection.

Targeted Muscles – All the head of the triceps

How to do

1. Attach a bar at the lower end of the cable machine and place a bench in front of the cable machine.

2. Lay down on the bench and hold a bar with on overhand grip. Your elbow should face up and your arms should be at a 90° angle. This will be your starting position.

3. Move the bar down until the bar reaches below your head. Keep your elbows tucked in.

4. Press the bar up by squeezing your triceps and extend full at the top.

You can also do this with ropes. That will target your lateral head more than the long head. Play with different types of modalities available to always shock the muscles to grow.

5. Cable Horizontal Tricep Extension

Many of you might have not tried this before as its not so popular exercise. I would like you to try this one out and I bet you will love it.

Targeted muscles- all head of the triceps

How to do

1. Attach a handle at a pulley which is at about your chest height. Stand in between the cable machine while holding the handle.

2. Keep your arms parallel to the floor with your elbows flexed. This will be your starting position.

3. Move your hand to the side and extend completely at the end. Then slowly return back to the starting position while keeping your arms parallel to the floor.

You should never go heavy on this because its an isolation exercise that should be done with a proper form and technique. This will strengthen your elbows if done correctly. So add this once in a while as an accessory exercise.

6. Cable High Pulley Overhead Extension

Another great cable exercises to target your triceps. You can do this either a rope or a bar. This will kelp you to get that fuller look to your triceps.

Targeted muscles- long head of the triceps

How to do

1. Attach a pulley at the top of the cable machine and then hold each end of a rope. You can also use a straight bar for this exercise.

2. With your back facing the cable machine, step a few steps forward and stand at a split stance. Bend slightly forward and keep your hands parallel to the floor.

3. Start moving your hands forward while keeping your straight. Fully extend the elbow at the end.

4. Now slowly bring the ropes back to the starting position and stretch your triceps at the end.

You should not go too heavy as it can injure your neck. Also, keep your back straight and abs tight during the exercise.

7. Cable Triceps Kickback

You may have already tried triceps kickback with dumbbells, but this is a cable version of kickback which will completely crush your triceps. Do this as a finisher set of your workout.

Targeted Muscles – lateral head of the triceps

How to do

1. Attach a pulley at the lower end of the cable machine.

2. Hold the end of the pulley and stand at a shoulder-width stance.

3. Now bend down by taking your hips back and keep your arms parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight.

4. Start moving your wrist up by squeezing your triceps and fully extend your elbow at the top. Your arms should remain parallel to the floor.

5. Gradually return to the starting position and then repeat the exercise. Do the same with the other hand also.

8. Crossbody Cable Tricep Extension

This is a unique way to do tricep extensions. This will completely burn your triceps brachii muscles. This is also a great exercise for those who want to work on their upper portion of their triceps.

Targeted muscles – lateral head of the tricep

How to do

1. Attach both sides of the pulleys at the top end of the cable machine. Grab each end of the cables and stand in between the cable machine.

2. Keep your chest up and shoulders back and start moving the hands to the sides. Your shoulder should not move up or come forward.

3. Fully extend your elbows at the bottom and then return back slowly.

9. Reverse-Grip Cable Tricep Pushdown

This is a great variation of the regular triceps push down. The reverse grip will keep your shoulders at a proper position at the beginning of the exercise. You may find it difficult to do with a straight bar, so use an easy bar for this.

Targeted Muscles- Long and medial head of the tricep

How to do

1. Attach an easy bar at the upper end of the cable machine. Hold the end part of the bar and lean slightly forward.

2. Start pushing the weights down and completely extend your elbows at the bottom. Your chest should be up all the time.

3. Slowly return back to the starting position and stretch fully at the top.

The reverse or supinated grip creates makes it a little challenging than if done with an overhand grip. Also, it works your long head more than the lateral head which makes your triceps look round and big.

10. One-arm Cable Overhead Extensions

You can use this exercise to target each side of the triceps separately. This will balance the strength of each arm and will give you a symmetrical look.

Targeted muscles- long head of the triceps

How to do

1. Attach a handle at about your lower chest height. Hold the handle and twist your body such that your back is facing the machine.

2. Take your hands up such that your triceps are facing the ear and stand at a split stance. Also, bend slightly forward while keeping your chest up.

3. Now start moving your hands down by flexing your elbows. Reach the bottom and stretch your triceps.

4. Now pull the weights up without moving your elbows and extend your elbow at the top.

Final Thoughts

So these were some great cable exercises for triceps. But remember that cable exercises are meant for isolation and shaping your muscles.

You cannot ignore barbells and dumbbells as these are the basic modalities that should be used for the overall muscular development and building a solid base.

If you find this article helpful, then please share it with your friends who would like to know about these exercises.

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Roshan S Pillai

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 is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com, and has worked as a fitness coach in gyms and is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.

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