Stop Doing Tricep Pushdowns Like This!


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Today I’m going to show you the right way
to do a tricep pushdown so that your triceps are getting a majority of the work. You see, there’s another version – a popular
version – the way people do tricep pushdowns, and they actually turn them into, what I call,
a jackhammer pushdown. They lean over the top, they get their elbows
flared out, and then they start jackhammering away. Just like this. That ain’t going to cut it. Why? Because as I said, we’re actually not really
training the triceps all that much there. Yeah, you might be loading the weight up on
the stack a lot more than you would on a regular pushdown, but does that mean that you’re getting
more work done on the triceps? The answer is a definite no. So here’s the right way to do it. I’m going to explain why we tend to do the
other version. The right way is that we want to get your
elbows into your sides, and your hands away from your body, okay? Now, away from the body is doing a couple
things that might actually make you feel less likely to want to do this. It’s making the weight heavier because the
further out we can make this rope from the area that’s hinging here – this fulcrum
point – that’s going to make the weight a little bit heavier, as opposed to whether
my hands were in, close to my body. You can try this yourself, but just taking
the rope, keeping the arm against your chest, your hand against your chest, elbow in, and
push down. I can at least move this weight stack that’s
up there right now. If I take my hand and put it out, though,
from the same position, and I try to push I can’t really budge this stack. That’s because the weight effectively got
heavier on the tricep, but who cares what it says there? It’s what it feels like here when you’re trying
to build it. So why do we do this then? What’s the jackhammer all about? Some of us start off with good intentions. We start off here, and we press, and then
as we get tired we start leaning, and leaning, and leaning, and elbows start flaring, and
flaring, and flaring, and before we know we’re doing the dreaded jackhammer pushdown. That’s because we’re getting so much more
help from the muscles that really weren’t intended to participate in the first place. The chest and the shoulders start taking over
and doing all the work. If you look at the exercise a little bit more
carefully. You come here like this, elbows are flared. I’m leaning over the top. The first thing I’ve done is, I’ve created
a hell of a leverage right here for my body, on top of this, to push down from here. I am all over this thing. As opposed to here, relying on the muscles
to actually create that leverage. The second thing is: in this position, when
I start pushing down, what does it resemble to you? If you look closely you can see the activation
of the chest. You can see the activation of the shoulders. This is no different than a dip. Just because my hands are a little bit wider
apart I’m still doing a dipping motion. As a matter of fact, if you do this exercise
I’m showing you here, this is a straight bar dip. This is an actual exercise. That is literally recreating the motion, and
the movement at the elbow of what this exercise does. But the ironic thing, and the capper to all
this, is when I do the jackhammer pushdown, and I come down, I actually don’t even get
– most of us – don’t even get full extension at the elbow. You can see there’s still more room to go. Extension at the elbow is what the triceps
do. The final point – because there is another
point – is that the longhead of the tricep is now in front of the body and we know, in
order to fully contract it, we have to get extension of the arm back, behind the body. So let’s revisit the real way to do it. Don’t keep the hands in. get them out. Lighten the weight stack if you have to. Stick your chest out and now press down. Now we’ve got a tricep exercise. Now we’ve got the right way to do this exercise,
regardless of what the weight stack says. I can tell you right now, there’s a mini-fire
going on in my triceps. Now, how far up do you bring it? You want to bring it just about to chest level,
but the more important thing is what’s going on with the elbows. If the elbows start migrating up, now we start
cheating from the other side. Now we’ve got to cheat from the top down and
we don’t want that because we can get the lats cheating, and we can get the abs cheating. We don’t want either of those. So you keep it right here, about the level
of the chest, and we press down from there. You can see all the way to the back, the tricep,
all the way to the longhead, is doing the work. Guys, I hope you’ve found this video helpful. Remember, this one came from our 23 Exercise
Fails video. Not because we’re trying to poke fun of the
exercise. It’s because it’s recognizable. We see people doing it. We’ve done it ourselves. It’s not the way you want to do the exercise. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a program
that lays it all out, it’s not just about the exercises, but it’s always about how you
do them; head to ATHLEANX.com. Get one of our programs. Use the program selector in the link below
this video to find the one that’s most suited to the goals that you’re looking to achieve
right now. In the meantime, if you liked this video leave
your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know what you want me to cover in a
future video and I’ll do my best to do that for you in the days and weeks ahead. All right, guys. See you soon.

100 Replies to “Stop Doing Tricep Pushdowns Like This!

  1. The “proper way” shown puts a lot of stress on the elbow in the beginning of the exercise. You can feel it if you’re prone to having a problem there. I do them one hand at a time and I’m somewhere in between the right way shown here and the wrong way. I keep my elbow tucked in to my side but my arm closer to my torso. I can definitely feel it in my triceps as much as I want to. For me triceps are just about the easiest muscle to just get a crazy pump or a burn just in the triceps and nowhere else.

  2. This seems like common sense but i see a ton of people in the gym doing this exercise the wrong way, hunched over with the chest doing all the work

  3. Why are all these people trying to apply Chuck Norris facts to a mortal man named Jeff? Chuck is not pleased. There will be death and destruction.

  4. I like going heavy as fuck and pushing down high. I feel it in my lats, abs and triceps. It's a decent exercise. It's basically a compound movement at that point

  5. Thank you Athlean! I'm also so annoyed of all these stupid f*cks who think they're superman and prefer showing off the weight above avoiding an injury…

  6. @athlean-x do u recommend taking creatine while dieting n exercising n being overweight??? Or should i wait till i drop the weight first

  7. It’s honestly sad he has to make this fucking video, like how dumb do you gotta be to do tricep work like this 😒

  8. Tricep pushdown is the 1 exercise that I can't do with my right arm no matter how low the weight. The only way I can do this is compensating with my left arm bc this exercise makes my right tricep feel weird, like the muscle is fluttering or something. I must've had an injury at some point. I just work triceps in other ways like overhead push, overhead cable extension, diamond pushups, and various rows. Idk what it is about the pushdown

  9. I must be doing them wrong too because I feel like my upper back shoulders are getting a lot of the work out when I do push Downs

  10. Once those triceps get burning it's one of the most painful but rewarding feelings because when you see those horse shoes blow up and make your arms look twice as big, the female equivalent is a chic walking around with big tits.

  11. All pro bodybuilders do the method with elbows flared pretty sure they know what they’re doing as opposed to this guy with arms the size of my girlfriends

  12. I'd like to see some over weigh workout routines. For people who are not just building muscle but also want to drop weight. Routines are normally where alot of use lose heart. Routine loss.. Not knowing what a routine is. I'd live 3 routines to know by heart. And can have as go to.. And as I learn more I can advance my routines.

  13. Meanwhile. I watch your videos for both knowledge and correct posture. But the motivation and inspiration are equally present. L9ve your videos. If I could afford your programs.. I'd jump all into it. But for the now. Your YouTube channel is so very much important.. Thank you. Thank. You.

  14. Very interesting. My workout partner "cheats" on every movement. On Monday we did back and biceps. He says his biceps arent sore. I said " that's because you never actually lifted anything with them ".
    Most of his bicep lifts activated his back, chest, and shoulders more than his biceps.

  15. Awesome! Thanks I was really needing to hear this! I was wondering what the correct way to do this was because I did feel a lot of activity in my chest when loading heavier weight. Big ♡ from Sweden!

  16. I do this exercise on my knees so you don’t get any momentum through the legs. That was coming from a strength coach.

  17. Good vid
    I’m no pro, but I was always taught that form and isolation are pretty much the most important things when lifting weights
    not making sure everyone can see how much weight your lifting incorrectly

  18. Great video. Thanks for posting it I'll definitely be including this proper workout into my routine!

  19. Damn I used to always just stand up straight. When I lean, I start using shoulders… Doing it with a lean is harder to do it right. Hmm

  20. I looked this up sense a dude at the gym was doing the tricept pushdown differently than me so I wanted to make sure I was doing it right. Cause I didn't know if they were doing it right. Turns out I was doing it right. The other guy was leaning in.

  21. I followed Dorian Yates for a while on old YouTube videos like blood and bone. I’m glad I did because following the guidance of my friend and mentor lead me on a path of lifting correctness. I come here because you mimic the same versions of how lifts should be done. So, I know you aren’t full of shit.

    You also have a different insight that I otherwise didn’t get from my fitness enthusiast/friend/trainer.

    Needless to say. People should take in multiple sources of info. However, Jeff is consistently great at this.

  22. I knew I was doing something wrong as I was doing nearly the whole stack and barely feeling it on my triceps! Watched a bit of this vid, followed the advice and immediately my triceps have blown up like balloons after a couple of sets. The best weight training advice on you tube without a doubt – thank you.

  23. Thank you for your invaluable advice! It’s hard to ask people for advice when you are at the gym because nobody wants to be bothered when they are in the zone!

  24. you probably won't see this but ill try anyway. Why does my wrist hurt when I do this with the rope. it hurts near the bottom motion. Could someone explain what I'm doing wrong – I don't use heavy weight btw.

  25. It isn't weight increase it's increased tension. I see a lot of guys put too much weight on everything. I get it. I fought my own ego for years. Form over function + patience.

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