The Tricep Pressdown — Part of a Great “Off-Day” Workout!

pressdownThe Tricep Pressdown is one of my favorite exercises to toss into an off day or “free” day workout. If you’ve checked out my sample workouts, you probably already know that I’m in the gym at least 3-5 times a week. More often than not it’s 3 days a week just because of work obligations which happen to get in the way of my daily routine. I’m always big on making sure that I hit compound exercises if I can only get in 3 days. Compound exercises are the core of any strength training routine and they should never be neglected.

At the same time, I’m often a glutton for punishment and on my off days, I do pretty much whatever I want and focus on isolation exercises just to keep my workout routines interesting. As I’ve pointed out before, the best workout is the one that actually gets you into the gym. If you aren’t interested in what you are doing, you will not make it a priority to go back, even if it’s only 3 days a week.

Ok — off my soapbox. The Tricep pressdown is one of my favorite triceps exercise because it not only works your triceps muscles (the back of your arm) but it really makes you focus on maintaining a very good balance through your entire body while you execute the exercise. Sure you can just slap on tons of weight and lean your body towards the cable machine as you do it, but in reality, that’s not going to benefit you. Below is how you do a true concentrated pressdown without assistance from your entire body along the way.

The Proper Way to do a Pressdown:

  • Select the weight you will use at the machine.
  • Make sure you firmly grasp the pressdown bar or rope — either one is fine for this exercise.
  • Hold your elbows in, close to your sides.
  • Maintain a tense stance, but give your body a little bit of wiggle room.
  • Make sure you are standing up straight and do NOT lean into the exercise.
  • Press the entire bar down until your arms are firmly in front of you.
  • Bring the bar back up to starting position very SLOWLY.
  • Just a quick pointer — I usually do this exercise until fatigue. Doing sets of 3×8 is fine, but I like to burn my triceps out.
  • Rinse and repeat until you are finished.

It’s important that on the way back up you make sure you focus on concentrating the triceps movement slowly so you execute the maximum resistance in the triceps muscles. If you just let the bar fly back up to starting position, you not only put yourself at risk for injury, but you will also be cheating yourself out of the best part of the exercise. Below is a brief video of how to do the Pressdown with proper form.

Your Turn:

Now that you’ve both read and seen how to perform the tricep pressdown , it’s up to you to get out there and incorporate it into your workout. While it’s one of many tricep exercises that will help you build solid muscle to your arms, it’s by far one of the more beneficial tricep exercises you can perform. As always, make sure you have a sound nutrition program that you have yourself setup with as well as a good supplementation plan laid out if you can’t cook all your protein that you need to eat in a day.


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