Cable Cross-Over Tricep Extensions

These two tricep exercises are all about the contraction and improving the look of the muscle, not about directly building the muscle.

To perform these exercises, you're going to need a cable cross-over machine. In a pinch, you can also do these exercises one arm at a time on just a single high pulley. The two-arm versions will be more effective, especially for the second exercise.


Exercise #1 - Cable Cross-Over Lateral Extensions

This one is going to target the long head of the triceps, which runs directly down the back of the arm. It's the largest of the three heads of the tricep muscle (tri=three...cep=head) and it's also target #1 for women looking to tighten up that "batwing" area.

Naturally, if you've got a load of extra fat under your skin contributing to that flapping, no amount of direct tricep work is going to help - you need to work on getting rid of that first. But if fat is not the problem, this exercise CAN make a difference.

The long head of the tricep makes up the back half of that horseshoe shape, in addition to a good portion of the overall mass of the tricep itself.



Set up a fairly light weight on this one the first time you do it - you can always increase that later once you get an idea of how much you're able to work with.

Grab the LEFT pulley handle with your RIGHT hand then step over and grab the RIGHT pulley with your LEFT hand. The cables will be crossing up right in front of your face.

Your hands will be beside your head - this start position actually looks like a bicep pose.

Now, keeping your upper arms horizontal (parallel to the ground), extend outwards and a little bit behind you, bringing the handles wide and to the sides.

Try to imagine as you push those handles down and back that you've got a giant ball in your back that's pushing your torso forward as you're wrapping your arms around that ball.

Because not only are you trying to extend directly out to the sides, in this arm position that small bit of backwards tension also helps to involve the lateral head of the triceps (the other part of that horseshoe).

Repeat for 10 to 15 reps, squeezing the triceps HARD at the bottom of each rep.

To do this one on a single high-pulley, just grab the pulley with your right hand with your left side towards the stack. The exercise is performed exactly the same way.


Exercise #2 - Cable Cross-Over Arm-Twister Pushdowns

This exercise looks REALLY uncomfortable (it's not, so don't worry about it) but it's VERY effective for directly targeting the lateral head of the triceps - the one that gives WIDTH to the arms.

Guys, this is the one that makes the triceps look like they're popping out of your t-shirt sleeves. Ladies, this is the one that helps develop that cut that divides the cap of the shoulder muscles from the arm muscles.



Again, keep the weight on the light side the first time you do this one, until you get an idea of how much weight you can use with it.

Grab the right cable handle with your right hand and the left cable handle with your left hand.

Now comes the weird-looking're going to TWIST your body around 180 degrees so you're facing the other direction, while keeping your grip on the cable handles.

It almost looks like you're trying to twist your own arm here but what it does is give the pushdown exercise an almost 100% directly lateral (to the side) movement, which will really target that lateral head strongly.

To get the idea of this one, the video will come in VERY handy...don't want you twisting yourself into a pretzel!

So once you're twisted around, your arms will be bent, one in front, one behind. Now push down directly to the opposite sides.

Do 6 to 8 reps on this one side then twist yourself around in the OTHER direction so the other arm is behind and continue for another 6 to 8 reps. Make sure you're getting a good hard squeeze on the triceps of both arms at the bottom of these movements.

To perform this exercise with one cable stack, you'll need to do the two arms (one in front, one in back) separately. First, grab the right high pulley with right hand then spin 180 degrees to your left. This will put in position for the behind-the-back pushdown. To do the "in front" pushdown, stand with your left side to the pulley then reach across your body and grab it with your right hand. Then do a pushdown directly down and to the right, in front of your body.



Put these two exercises together and you've got a horseshoe-defining, batwing-stopping, arm-twisting tricep workout that'll get you those head-turning arms you want.

I would also recommend regular Tricep Pushdowns for targeting this area.



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