Reverse Triceps Pushdowns (How To & Alternatives)


Reverse Triceps Pushdowns

Triceps Pushdowns are hands down a first-ballot Hall of Fame arm exercise. Walk into any gym in the country right now and I can almost guarantee you you’ll find someone at the cable machine doing Triceps Pushdowns.

Reverse Triceps Pushdowns is a slight variation to the standard pushdown that gets the wrist extensors heavily involved.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Reverse Triceps Pushdowns including coaching points for doing them correctly. I’ll also give you a few alternatives in case you don’t have access to a cable machine.


How To Do Reverse Triceps Pushdowns


Equipment Needed

  • Cable Machine
  • Straight Bar Cable Attachment

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Step up a cable machine by sliding the pin all the way to the top of the beam.
  • Attach the rack attachment of your choice.
  • Grab the attachment with a supinated grip (palms up).
  • Pull the attachment down until your elbows are next to your sides (arms should still be bent).
  • Now, extend the arms down by flexing the triceps and driving the attachment toward the floor.
  • Squeeze the triceps at full extension for one second and then slowly allow the attachment to raise back to the starting position.
  • Keep elbows tucked into the sides throughout the movement.

Coaching Points

Do not swing and use momentum at the top of the movement in an attempt to use more weight. Stay in control of the weight at all times and use proper form.

You’ll use significantly less weight on Reverse Triceps Pushdowns than you will with regular Triceps Pushdowns. This is due to the wrist extensors being the limiting factor with this movement.


Muscles Worked


Reverse Triceps Pushdowns work all three heads of the Triceps muscle, but the medial head is emphasized the most:

  • Triceps Brachii lateral head
  • Triceps brachii long head
  • Triceps brachii medial head
  • Anconeus

They also heavily emphasize the wrist extensors of the forearm:

  • Extensor carpi radialis brevis
  • Extensor carpi ulnaris
  • Extensor carpi radialis longus

Reverse Triceps Pushdowns Alternatives


If you can’t do Reverse Triceps Pushdowns, for whatever reason, then here are a few alternatives that you may be able to use as a substitution.

Band Triceps Pushdowns

The closest alternative to Triceps Pushdown, including Reverse Triceps Pushdowns, with a cable machine is doing the same movement using a resistance band.

Simply loop a resistance band around the top of a squat rack and you can do Reverse Triceps Pushdowns. In my opinion, it’s worth paying a few bucks for a resistance band for your home gym if for nothing else than being able to do Band Triceps Pushdowns.

Reverse Wrist Curls

If you’re looking for another exercise to target your wrist extensors, then you might want to give Reverse Wrist Curls a try.

Grab a bar with an overhand grip and sit on a bench. Lay your forearms flat against the bench with your wrists hanging just off the edge. Flex and extend at the wrist while keeping your forearms connected to the bench to really isolate your wrist extensor muscles.


More Links and Info


Looking for more biceps, triceps and forearms exercises? Check out the Arm Farm in our Exercise Library. It has dozens of exercises dedicated to building bigger and stronger arms all with complete step-by-step instructions.

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Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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