Cable Tricep Kickbacks are one of the most underrated exercises for building the long head of the Triceps. Otherwise known as the Tricep Pushdown or cable rope triceps pushdown, lifters often mix the later named variation with the Tricep Press Down which is a slightly different exercise and focuses more on the lateral head of the triceps.
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Hi, I'm Psymon H, your online training partner and the man known for building natural physiques with minimal equipment. With over 40 years of training experience, call me "Mature Muscle."
In this Tricep exercise master class, I will show you how to perform the best version of Cable Tricep Kickbacks especially if you're focused on building bigger arms. I'll also take a look at the resistance band and dumbbell tricep kickback variations.
Items Needed: One Cable pulley system or a pulley cable machine. For this exercise, you have the option to use a rope attachment or just using the cable itself. I like using a rope attachment especially when the weight becomes heavier as it gives you more control over the weight.
The Setup: Everything starts with the setup. A common mistake is having the pulley set too high. Muscles do better when pulling or pushing at a 90-degree angle to the resistance. If the pulley is set too high, it offers very little resistance and makes it harder to fully contract the triceps by the time the arm travels behind the body.
To maintain constant tension throughout the movement, ideally, you want to have the pulley cable set about level with your triceps rather than higher than your triceps. We're going to work one arm at a time.
Cue 1: If you're using a rope attachment, pull it through so that it becomes one long rope. Either grab the rope or cable with a neural grip and step back from the station. For the perfect starting position, slightly hinge forward at the hips, bend your elbow and tuck your arm into your side. By tucking your arm in at your side, you will ensure larger muscle groups such as your lats don't get involved with the movement.
Cue 2: Tense your core and rest your free hand on your thigh. Without moving your torso, fully extend your arm behind the your back and squeeze the tricep.
Cue 3: Hold briefly before returning your arm to the start position.
You may want to play around with your hand grip to help intensify the movement even more. Try starting your cable tricep kickbacks in the same neutral position. As you extend to the top of the movement, you can rotate your wrist so it is in the pronated position at the end of the movement.
Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Cable Tricep Kickbacks:
1: Having the pulley too high. As stated earlier, you work your muscles better when they are pushing or pulling at 90-degrees to the weight. If the pulley is too high, you will have trouble contracting your triceps effectively.
2: Standing too high and flaring your elbows. The problem with standing too high and flaring your elbows during this exercise is that you may invite bigger and stronger muscles such as muscles in your upper back to dominate the movement.
3: Using momentum to move the weight. When you swing the weight up, it results in your triceps not getting 100% of the stress.
This kickback variation is worth mentioning because of the ascending tension that the bands offer you at the end of the movement where you contract the muscle. The cable variation differs and gives you more of an even tension throughout the movement.
The downside to the resistance band version is if your band is too heavy because it will be tough to fully extend and contract the muscle at the top of the movement. My advice, use a lighter band and move your starting position back to add more tension.
Items Needed: One resistance band and an upright anchor.
The Setup: The setup is the same as the cable tricep kickbacks in that the band must be set at tricep level. From a safety aspect, make sure that both the band and the upright anchor are secure under tension to avoid any unexpected accidents.
Cue 1: Grab the resistance band with a neutral grip and hold both sides of the band. Step back from the anchor until you feel enough tension in the band to be able to operate.
Cue 2: Hinge over at the hip. Tuck your elbow in to your side and bend your arm. Tense your core.
Cue 3: Fully extend so the arm travels behind you.
Cue 4: Briefly hold this position before returning to the start of the exercise.
I'm sure you've done your fair share of the Dumbbell Tricep Kickback, but how can we improve this exercise to make it almost as effective as the cable tricep kickbacks. The problem with the dumbbell tricep kickback is gravity.
If you get the angle wrong, it can take away from exercise. I've tried this exercise in almost every angle, and while I do like the kneeling angle shown in the picture below, the "face-down" angle beats them all.
While this angle closely mimics cable tricep kickbacks, this exercise excels in the freedom to rotate the wrist from supinated to the pronated position.
Items Needed: one flat bench and one pair of dumbbells.
Cue 1: Kneel at the end of your flat workout bench and lay chest down with your forehead resting on the bench. Have a dumbbell in each hand.
Cue 2: Bend at the elbows. Ensure the dumbbells are level with your head and tuck your arms into your sides.
Cue 3: Rotate your wrist in a supinated position.
Cue 4: As you extend from the elbow, rotate your wrist so they end up in a pronated position.
Cue 5: Squeeze your Triceps before returning them to the starting position.
While the cable tricep Kickbacks hits all three tricep heads, it mainly targets the long tricep head. As the long head makes up most of the triceps, you must include exercises that target this area.
The medial and lateral head originates on the humorous, whereas the long head attaches to the back of the shoulder. For this reason, you won't fully contract the long tricep head with a simple extension of the arm in front of you.
For the best contract of the long tricep head, you have to bring the insertion point on the Ulna closer to the back of the shoulder. One of the best ways to do this is by doing the cable tricep kickbacks because you are extending the shoulder joint by bringing your arm behind your back.
1: Tricep Kickbacks with Cable
2: Tricep Rope Kickback
3: Tricep Cable Push Backs
4: Tricep Kickbacks on Cables
5: Cable Tricep Kickback Single Arm
6: Single-Arm Cable Tricep Kickbacks
7: Tricep Cable Push Down
8: Tricep Cable Pushdowns
Thank you for reading our cable tricep kickbacks article.
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