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Different Versions of the Triceps Pushdown

Bodybuilding style training is fun. Not only for the results that it produces but because of the variety it allows. Whereas other forms of training require some sort of strict progression in order to progress, bodybuilding not only allows for variation, it is a requirement for success. In order to accomplish their dream physique, bodybuilders not only have to worry about the size of their muscles but equally important is the shape and symmetry of their muscle groups. They accomplish this by attacking the same muscle group from different angles throughout their routine. This is where the variety kicks in. This is a big reason why I enjoy bodybuilding style training, you can do the same exercise over and over again with a slightly different twist each time. Changing the angle of the exercise ensures that you are creating a new stimulation of the muscle fibers which in turns creates well-rounded size and shape. Changing angles can be done a few different ways such as changing your grip, the handle being used, and also your body position. Although different angles can and should be used for every exercise and muscle group I have chosen to discuss the triceps muscle in this article and specifically different ways to execute the triceps pushdown, an exercise that most people are familiar with. P.S. I chose to just number the variations because well, who really has names for each of these?

Variation #1

Can’t play video? Click here: Variation 1 video 1

Can’t play video? Click here: Variation 1 video 2

This variation using two different handles is probably the most common of the ones I will discuss. This is also the more conventional push-down. Meaning elbows tucked to the side, pivoting just at the elbow, squeezing at the bottom, controlled movement on the way up. Neither handle is better than the other. Remember, we want to use as many different handles as possible and if you’re lucky enough to be at a gym that has different kinds of handles try them all at this conventional angle.

Variation #2

Can’t play video? Click here: Variation 2

This variation is unilateral which allows you to focus on one arm at a time. As seen in the above video, no handle is needed as you simply grab the cable. In this variation you are going across your body and then down. I use my opposite hand to stabilize my working arm by placing it in my arm-pit allowing my working arm to rest on it.

Variation #3

Can’t play video? Click here: Variation 3

This variation is unique because the position of your palm will change. Instead of your palm facing the floor like in most pushdown variations in this one your palm will be facing up. You can think of it as simply a reverse grip. Other than the grip, this variation is very closely related to the “conventional” pushdown shown in the first variation. You can pin your elbow to your side and press straight down towards the floor. By changing your grip you will stimulate the triceps in a different way. As with most of these variations you can also change the angle by changing your own body position by standing a different way. Depending how you stand your elbow may not be pinned to your side but as long as you can control the movement you are fine. There have been many professional bodybuilders that have said they have found great success by standing and executing an exercise in the same way they pose on stage. Bottom line, don’t be afraid to try almost anything to create a different stimulus, and if it feels good then you have found success.

Variation #4

Can’t play video? Click here: Variation 4

This variation can be tough to master at first. It is different than the previous ones because you are going to stand a short distance from the cable machine and you are also not in the upright position. Watching the above video will be most helpful for you to understand how to stand but it may help you to think of the position you are in if you have ever done kneeling cable crunches. The position of your torso is very similar except you are standing. You will need to use a rope handle for the exercise. This is a great exercise to target the hard to reach long head of your triceps, the part that runs up towards your armpit. By developing this part of your triceps you will start to create that separation of your delt and triceps that everyone loves. At the top of the movement you should feel an awesome stretch in your triceps, and if you don’t then try and reposition yourself until you do.


These are four variations of the triceps pushdown that I like to use quite frequently in my routines. With these four variations you are hitting the triceps in almost every way possible in a pushdown exercise. The great thing about bodybuilding style training is that there are no rules so be sure to constantly look for and experiment new ways to do old things. If it feels good then you are not wrong.

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Arms! (Part 1 of 2)

Here it is!    

This is it. My first article writing about what most of you would call your favorite topic: BIG ARMS. Big arms are the holy grail of bodybuilding. Everyone admires big arms and everyone wants to know the secret to getting them. Let me start off by saying that to get any body part bigger in the gym you must eat and eat a lot. You must have a surplus in calories to gain size so increasing calories should always be the first step you take. The second thing you must do is simply work that particular body part more often. If you have an area that is lagging behind other body parts, training it once a week probably is not enough to see improvement. You can expect an article on training weak points soon, but for now, just remember if you want to improve something in the gym you must train it and train it often.

This two-part series will discuss the different hand placements and angles you must train to have the arms of your dreams. This is something that I’m sure most of you haven’t considered in the past so take notes, apply it, and reap the benefits.


A pronated grip means that the palm of your hand is facing down. This hand placement is a great way to target the triceps through pressing movements (triceps pushdowns, dips, etc.) You can also target the largely forgotten forearm extensors and brachialis muscles.  The extensor muscles are the muscles on top of your forearm when your palm is facing down. The brachialis muscle is the muscle that many people forget about and runs between the triceps and biceps. Training both muscles will greatly improve the size of your forearm and the aesthetic look of your forearm connecting to your upper arm. Using a pronated grip and performing reverse curls with a barbell or EZ bar target both muscles.


A supinated grip means that the palm of your hand is facing upwards. An old trick to remember which position is supinated is to remember that your hand will be in the correct position to hold a bowl of soup. This is the hand placement that is used when performing curls, no matter the piece of equipment being used to execute it. Use this grip with varying widths to hit different angles of the bicep (more on angles in future articles.) I have seen variations of triceps extensions using a supinated grip, but from my experiences, I see better results leaving the supinated grip to bicep work and leaving triceps work to the pronated and hammer grips.

Neutral (Hammer)

A neutral or hammer grip means that the palm of your hands are turned in facing each other. This is usually the strongest position your hands can be in, meaning that the most weight can be moved utilizing this grip. Because of this, hammer curls are a personal favorite of mine. The hammer grip is often underutilized when performing curls which is probably because you don’t get the pump in the peak of your biceps that you can using a supinated grip. The hammer grip will directly target the previously mentioned brachialis muscle. This grip is also used when performing triceps kickbacks. Kickbacks are not a great strength builder for the triceps, but if you focus on it, you will get an awesome squeeze and contraction at the top of the movement. Neutral grip is a great strength builder for triceps when used in pressing movements such as the neutral grip dumbbell press lying on a bench.

Do Them All

The purpose of this article was to make you aware of the three different grips you can use when working out. This is basic stuff that many people often overlook when putting together a routine. If you have an area of your arms that are lacking (i.e. forearms, triceps, biceps) chances are that you need to make sure you are incorporating all three of these grips in your routine. I personally try to incorporate each grip in every one of my arm workouts to ensure a balanced routine. Even if you don’t remember the exact benefits of each grip, do them all and everything will be covered. Try each grip using different equipment and angles. Keep different angles in mind and pay attention for the next part of this two part series which will cover the different arm angles you should use in your routine. But for now, give the different grips a shot and be sure to let me know what you think of each. Also, be sure to subscribe to this site and share this article so that we can help spread the big arm love.