is, of course, one of the standard exercises for developing
the triceps. This variation puts very powerful
tension on the triceps. Not only do you have to
do the exercise but the direction of pull from the
high pulley means you also have to exert constant
tension in order to keep your arms down at your sides.
is a great double-trouble exercise that will set your
triceps on fire!
set an incline bench in front of a high pulley with
the bench facing away. You can use any attachment
with this - bar, rope, triangle bar, etc. Lay back
on the bench and reach back overhead and grab the
Bring the cable
down and in front to the start position you would normally
begin the pushdown exercise. Keeping your arms at your sides,
do the pushdown, coming around to the bottom. Squeeze the
triceps very hard at the bottom.
At the bottom,
try to push your shoulders down as though you are trying
to push the attachment down onto your thighs. This more
fully engages the long head of the triceps, which is also
partly responsible for shoulder adduction (which in English
means bringing the arms down towards your hips) along with
As you're doing
the exercise, let the cable come down on either the left
or right side of your neck...whichever is comfortable for
full set of reps, let the bar back up overhead and set it
back down. Now good luck trying to keep your arms down
by your sides...your triceps are going to be so pumped up
after that set!
For an extra
hit to the long head of the triceps, you can let the arms
come up a bit at the top of the movement. This turns the
top into a bit of a pullover movement, increasing the activation
of the long head of the triceps utliizing that shoulder
adduction that I mentioned above.
The first time
I did this exercise, it felt like somebody was jabbing knives
into my triceps (in a good way, of course :)...the effect
on the triceps is that strong.
Face Away Cable
Close Grip Presses
This exercise is done with the same setup
as the Incline Face Away Pushdown above. Because you'll
be doing a press, this version allows you to use more weight
than with the pushdown variation while getting the same
benefits of the angle of the bench, etc.
Use the bar attachment
for this exercise. Start the exercise with your arms extended
like you were in the bottom of the pushdown. Now bring the
bar up to your body, bending the elbows like you're doing
a close grip press. The bar should hit you in the lower
rib cage (this helps keep tension on and minimizes elbow
pain). Keep your elbows in close to your sides (for variety,
you can also try flaring them wide to the sides and see
what works better for you).
Push the bar
down and away from your body and squeeze the triceps hard.
The difference from the pushdown is that you're not coming
around in an arc away from your body...you're keeping that
bar nice and close to your body. This is what allows you
to use more resistance on the exercise.
of the close grip press works really well because it
keeps tension on through the entire range of motion,
even all the way to lockout, where the close-grip press
usually loses tension. The upwards pulling tension of the
cable means you have to use the triceps constantly in order
to keep the bar down.
this exercise, it can be helpful to use a length of chain
(or extra cable) to extend the reach of the cable. With
an extra 2 feet of chain, you can start the exercise from
a lower position so you don't have to pull the weight down
from overhead. Just use the cable and set the bar on the
bench. Before you sit on the bench, grab the handle, bring
it around in front of your body, then begin the movement.
It may take a
little experimentation to get the right length on the chain
but it's worth it because you can then use more weight on
can also be used as a burnout/finisher from the Incline
Face Away Pushdown. Once you've done as many reps as
you can on the pushdown, just finish up doing as many presses
as you can. Your triceps will be completely burnt out by
the end of that set!
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