Single-arm tricep pushdowns are an excellent exercise for targeting the back of the upper arm (known as the tricep).
To perform them, you’ll need a cable machine. They can be done with or without attachments.
Are you looking to build stronger, more defined arms? Well, you’re in luck because today I’m going to walk you through how to perform single arm tricep pushdowns – one of the best isolation exercises for getting pumped triceps.
Now I know what you’re thinking…isolation exercises are boring! But don’t tune out just yet. I’m going to show you how to spice up your single arm pushdowns to maximize results and have a little fun too. Trust me, your triceps will be feeling the burn in no time.
Step 1: Choose Your Pulldown Machine
First things first, you need to find a good cable pulldown machine. Here are your options:
- Cable pulldown machine: This is the traditional setup you’ll find in most gyms. It has a weight stack and an adjustable pulley. Make sure the pulley is set low enough to target your triceps.
- Single arm pulldown machine: A dedicated single arm pulldown machine allows you to work each arm independently. If your gym has one, definitely take advantage!
- Resistance bands: You can get a killer tricep workout using just a sturdy resistance band anchored in a low position. Super portable too!
I recommend starting with a cable machine if possible, but bands work in a pinch. Just make sure you’re seated so you can maintain good posture.
Step 2: Choose Your Grip
Now it’s time to choose your grip. This will impact which head of your triceps gets targeted:
- Straight bar: Hits the lateral and medial heads
- Rope attachment: Focuses more on the lateral head
- V-bar or angled bar: Zeroes in on the medial head
I like to mix it up regularly to fully develop all three heads. But feel free to focus on your weak points too! For example, the rope is great if you want to improve tricep definition along the back of your arm.
Step 3: Set Up With Proper Form
You’re almost ready to start pushin’ that weight! But first, dial in your form:
- Stand upright with your feet hip width apart
- Engage your core
- Keep your elbow pinned near your side as you extend your arm
- Maintain a slight bend in the elbow – don’t straighten fully
- Keep your wrist neutral – don’t flex it during the motion
- Avoid shoulder / neck tension by relaxing your upper body
- Limit momentum by controlling the movement through the full range of motion
Really focus on feeling those triceps activate! Doing the exercise properly is so much more important than what you lift. Leave your ego at the door people.
Step 4: Start Cranking Out Reps!
Now comes the fun part – time to start reppin’! Here are some tips:
- Choose a weight where you fail between 8-12 reps.
- Perform 2-4 sets with 60-90 seconds rest between.
- Wanna kick things up a notch? Try drop sets! Quickly reduce the weight after failure and bang out a few extra reps.
- Or add a couple of partial reps at the end of a set to fully exhaust those triceps. Just don’t compromise form!
- Can’t get enough? Do a killer trifecta of pushdowns, skullcrushers, and tricep dips.
- Finish your workout with a nice tricep stretch like the corner stretch or seated overhead reach.
Play around with different techniques like drops sets, partials, and supersets to shock those triceps into growth! Changing it up will help you bust through plateaus.
Step 5: Focus on Your Mind-Muscle Connection
Here’s an insider tip: the key to better results is tapping into your mind-muscle connection.
What does that mean? Well, it’s all about visualizing and fully feeling the target muscle working.
As you perform tricep pushdowns, really concentrate on squeezing and contracting your triceps. Close your eyes if it helps. The more you can mentally activate those muscles, the more they’ll respond and grow!
It takes practice, but it’s a game-changer once you get the hang of it. That mind-muscle connection makes every rep count.
Mistakes to Avoid
Alright, we’re almost done! But before you go crush some single arm pushdowns, here are a few mistakes to avoid:
- Using momentum vs controlled form
- Over-arching your back or straining your neck
- Moving your elbow away from your side
- Fully straightening / locking out elbows
- Using your shoulders vs isolating triceps
- Going too heavy with bad form
Just focus on quality reps with good technique and you’ll be golden!
Now Go Pump Up Those Triceps!
There you have it friends – everything you need to know to master the single arm tricep pushdown. I gave you the exercise breakdown, pro tips, and common mistakes. Now all that’s left to do is put this info into action!
Here’s a quick recap:
- Choose your pulldown machine
- Pick a grip that targets your weak points
- Dial in your form before adding weight
- Focus on quality over quantity of reps
- Vary your intensity techniques like drop sets
- Avoid common mistakes like over-arching
Follow these guidelines and your triceps will be bursting out of your sleeves in no time! What are you waiting for? Go grab a single arm pulldown machine and start reppin’ out for bigger, stronger tri’s.
Let me know how the pushdowns go! I’m always here to provide motivation, answer questions, or give your triceps a virtual high five. Now stop reading and start lifting – your dream arms are waiting!