11 Most Effective Tricep Pushdown Alternative

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Written By Kathy Brewer

I am a certified personal trainer, and I take pride in helping people achieve their fitness goals through strength training, cardio, and nutrition. 





Triceps pushdowns are very simple exercises, and they are neither the only nor the best way to work your triceps.

Utilize these triceps pushdown alternatives to inject some variation into your triceps workout to maximize your muscle-building potential.

It is difficult to prove that triceps pushdown is well-known and commonly used in order to work out muscles that are at the back of your arm.

Mostly the reason for this is that it is easy to perform triceps pushdowns. You can see high pulley machines in almost all the gyms you go to. At the same time, you can perform a tricep pushdown with a lat pulldown machine. 

Doing triceps pushdowns using a straight bar, an EZ bar, a rope handle, or a V-shaped bar can add some variation compared to the standard one in your workout.

triceps pushdown

Tricep pushdowns may be performed with a reverse grip as well. But after a while, you will get bored of it and try to find alternative ways of doing it. That’s what we are here to discuss today. 

Therefore, you should stop insisting on continuing to perform triceps pushdowns as if your life depended on it. Make your triceps training more interesting by adding some of these additional sleeve-filling movements to your routine.

Basic Variations of Tricep Pushdown 

  1. Resistance Band Tricep Pushdown 
  2. Altering Tricep Pushdown 
  3. Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown 

Alternative Ways of Triceps Pushdown 

  1. Cable Overhead Extension
  2. Skull crusher
  3. Triceps kickback
  4. Standing barbell triceps kickbacks
  5. Parallel bar dips
  6. Bench dips
  7. Close grip bench press
  8. Diamond push-ups
  9. Bodyweight skull crusher
  10. Resistance band triceps pushdown
  11. Single arm cable triceps pushdown

Tricep Pushdown Variations 

The tricep pushdown can be done with a variety of different grip options to target different areas of the tricep muscle. Some variations of the tricep pushdown include using a rope attachment, a V-bar attachment, or even just a straight bar. 

You should try out different variations and find the one that gives you the best results. Here are a few of them – 

1. Resistance Band Tricep Pushdown 

This exercise can also be done with a resistance band rather than a cable system for further versatility. The cable pushdown is the most common kind of triceps exercise. However, the resistance band triceps pushdown offers an alternative form of resistance.

Resistance Band Tricep Pushdown

The resistance of the band grows in proportion to its length, whereas the resistance of a cable variation remains constant throughout its length.

Anyone who does a lot of traveling or who simply prefers to exercise in their own home may find that using a resistance band is a strategy that is both more affordable and more convenient.

2. Altering Tricep Pushdown

The triceps pushdown is a great exercise for athletes who want to eliminate muscle imbalances between stronger and weaker arms.

If you want to work on your triceps with one arm, reduce the weight and maintain the same form as when doing a triceps pushdown with two arms.

This single-arm triceps exercise is a great way to work the triceps muscles on both arms equally.

By maintaining good form and using a weight that is heavy enough to challenge the muscles, athletes can maximize the benefits of this exercise and improve their overall performance.

3. Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown 

Another fantastic variation to the usual tricep pushdown is the triceps pushdown with a reverse grip. In contrast to a standard grip, which has the palms facing downward, a reverse grip has the palms facing upward.

Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown

Because of the nature of this variant, you won’t be able to lift as much weight, but it is an excellent tool for assisting people who have trouble keeping their elbows tight and deliberately engaging the triceps muscle.

11 Best Tricep Pushdown Alternatives 

The tricep pushdown is a great exercise for targeting the triceps, but it’s not the only option. There are a variety of other exercises that can help you build strong, toned triceps.

Some of the most effective substitutes for the triceps pushdown incorporate actions that are very similar to those used in the original exercise but call for different exercise apparatuses.

Here are 11 of the best alternatives to the tricep pushdown:

1. Cable Overhead Extension

When you perform overhead triceps extensions, the posture of your upper arms allows for a large stretch of the triceps muscle as well as a wide range of motion to work within the muscle.

This exercise is fantastic for building triceps since it has a broader range of motion than most other triceps exercises, and it also increases shoulder mobility.

Cable Overhead Extension

You can work your triceps overhead with a low cable machine, one dumbbell or a barbell, or an EZ bar. You can carry it out while seated if that is more convenient for you.

It’s likely that you’ll appreciate the benefits of this hard workout if your shoulders are already in good health and quite mobile. On the other hand, if your shoulder muscles are tight or painful, this exercise is not the best choice for you.

How to perform it? 

  • You should fasten the double rope to a location on the cable system that is either directly above your head or just slightly below it.
  • Grab the grips that are overhead, pivot forward at the hips at an angle of roughly 45 degrees, and move forward away from the pulley by taking one or two steps ahead. Leaning your butt up against the pulley system is one way to get into position and utilize it to your advantage.
  • For the greatest amount of stability, assume a split stance by placing one foot in front of the other and stepping back slightly. Maintain a tense state in your core muscles.
  • Keep your elbows close to your head and hold them there.
  • As seen in the video that follows, spin your hands outward and extend your elbows forward while performing a triceps flex.
  • Repeat the movement until you feel a stretch in the triceps, then return to starting position.

2. Skull Crusher

Skull crushers are an excellent triceps workout that can be used as a replacement for triceps pushdowns. They are performed in a supine position and are more accurately known as supine triceps extensions.

Skull Crusher

They got their name from the fact that it is fairly easy to hit yourself in the head with the barbell if you aren’t careful, which is how they got their name.

Avoiding this problem is as simple as not raising the bar above your head or switching to dumbbells. As a result of the dumbbell alteration, a greater range of motion is achieved, leading to more muscle activation and development.

How to perform it? 

  • While lying face down on a flat bench, grasp a barbell or an EZ Bar with an overhand grip and shoulder-width distance. Put both of your feet on the floor in a flat position, and brace your abs.
  • Pull the bar up to your chest until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. To put it another way, your upper arms should be held in a vertical position.
  • Bend your elbows and slowly lower the bar to your forehead while maintaining the position of your upper arms in the starting position. You have the option of stopping the bar half an inch above your head or softly touching it while doing the exercise. Maintain a straight wrist position and a tucked-in elbow position.
  • Extend only your elbows as you pull the bar back up to the starting position; do not move your shoulders or upper arms at any point during this movement. Perform the necessary amount of repetitions.

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3. Triceps Kickback

There is a common misconception that triceps kickbacks are a simple exercise to perform. This is due to the fact that in order to do them honestly, lighter weights are required.

Triceps Kickback

In spite of this, these are excellent substitutes for triceps pushdowns which offer the same benefits.

In addition, you can perform kickbacks with either dumbbells or cable machines, just like some of the other exercises on our list of alternatives to the triceps pushdown.

How to perform it?

  • Place your right leg forward and your left leg back, then grasp a dumbbell with your left hand and hold it in a neutral grip.
  • Then, grasp something with your right hand, bend your knees, and lean forward while maintaining a straight back.
  • So that your upper arm is parallel to the floor and your forearm is perpendicular to the floor, bend your left arm at a 90-degree angle.
  • Now, stretch your forearm behind you while you flex your triceps until your arm is parallel to the floor. Exhale during this segment of the workout.
  • Then, bend your left arm to a 90-degree angle once again.
  • Perform the required amount of repetitions with your left arm, then repeat with your right. Alternate your leg position.

4. Standing barbell triceps kickbacks

Almost every workout for the triceps involves extending the elbow. That’s not a bad thing at all, considering that the major role of the triceps is to extend the elbow. 

This workout feels strange and doesn’t do as much as other workouts, but it is a good way to focus on the long head of your triceps. This workout ignores the other two heads.

How to perform it? 

  • Maintain a shoulder-width distance between your feet when you stand. Pronate your palms and grab a barbell that is behind you using a palms-down or pronated grip. Hold your core tight.
  • Raise the bar away from the body while maintaining a straight arm position but without locking your elbows. You don’t need to worry about it going too far; simply lift it high.
  • Repeat the process with the bar lowered.
  • Perform this move with lighter weights and a high number of repetitions in order to get a good burn and a good pump.

5. Parallel bar dips

As part of their chest exercises, many weightlifters use dips in their routines.

Dips require a movement that is comparable to that of a decline bench press, and as a result, they engage the lower pecs, which are also referred to as the abdominals of the pectoralis major muscle.

In addition to being a beneficial exercise for the chest, dips are an extremely efficient way to build up the triceps. Dips are a great choice of exercise to perform if you want to work your triceps hard and with a lot of weight.

How to perform it? 

  • Step up on the platforms and hold the dip bars.
  • After that, make a little hop upward until your triceps are the only muscles keeping your body up.
  • Now, while keeping your arms tucked in and lowering yourself gently until your upper arms are just slightly below parallel to the floor, you should repeat step two. Lean your torso slightly forward throughout the movement and inhale during this section of the workout.
  • After that, use your triceps to pull your body back up until your arms are almost completely stretched from their starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

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6. Bench Dips

There is one drawback to doing parallel dips. You need to have the strength that allows you to lift your whole body weight with your hands.

It indicates that beginning exercisers and those who are overweight may have a difficult time performing parallel bar dips.

As a result of having some of the weight held by your legs, bench dips are somewhat simpler to perform. This workout might be taxing on your shoulders, which is a drawback to doing it. 

Be careful not to fold your wrists in extreme amounts and descend an excessive distance, since doing so will generate extra strain on your shoulders while raising the amount of activity that your triceps are responsible for.

How to perform it?

  • Locate a stable bench press and sit on the middle part of it.
  • Place both hands flat on the bench with the fingers pointed away from the body.
  • Then, extend your legs ahead of you.
  • Raise your butt from the bench and straighten your legs while maintaining your butt close to the bench.
  • Retract your shoulder and lean slightly back, then dip until your upper arm is just above parallel.
  • Then, exert upward force by squeezing your triceps.
  • Repeat

7. Close grip bench press

Bench presses with a close grip are used by powerlifters to strengthen their triceps and make it easier for them to push through difficult points when performing standard bench presses. 

It is an excellent workout for developing the thickness as well as the strength of the triceps. In addition to this benefit, it places less strain on the shoulders than exercises that use parallel bars.

It is NOT recommended to utilize an extremely narrow grip. Your elbow and joints in your wrists are going to feel the effects of this a lot. Instead, you should space your hands about the breadth of your shoulders apart.

How to do Close Grip Bench Press? 

  • Lie on the bench with your feet on the ground. Grab the bar with an overhand grip that is slightly narrower than shoulder width. Your arms should be perpendicular and vertical. Have an observer verify this for you.
  • Strengthen your abdominals, draw your shoulders back and down, and raise the bar off the supports.
  • Bend your arms without moving your feet and lower the bar to your sternum. Pull your elbows in toward your sides and gently touch the bar down
  • Return the bar to arm’s length and repeat.

8. Diamond push-ups

You may develop great triceps with only your own weight. These push-ups are called so because your fingers make a diamond-like shape when you perform them. This makes the pecs work less and makes the triceps work harder.

If you have a healthy shoulder, this form of triceps pushdown is an excellent bodyweight alternative.

How to perform it?

  • First, assume a push-up stance with your butt slightly elevated.
  • Now, position your hands in a diamond configuration with your index fingers and thumbs touching.
  • Put your elbows slightly inward.
  • Then, while inhaling, lower yourself until your chest is almost touching your hands.
  • Exhaling, push yourself back up using your triceps.
  • Perform the necessary number of repetitions.

Tips to perform if effectively – 

  • If you find this variant too challenging, try it on your knees or by pushing off against a wall.
  • To keep the resistance on the targeted muscles and to protect your lower back, avoid arching your back during the exercise.
  • Ensure that your triceps are pushing during the workout, as the chest should only be a secondary mover.
  • The diamond push-up is one of the best workouts for gaining size and strength in the triceps and chest (Secondary) using only bodyweight.

9. Bodyweight skull crusher

Many experienced lifters believe that exercises that use bodyweight are most suited for novices. Bodyweight exercises are equally challenging and effective for growing muscle mass and strength as barbells, dumbbells, and even cable workouts.

Consider bodyweight skull crushers as an illustration. This alternative is extremely difficult and may be too much for advanced learners. 

How to perform it?

  • Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the platform.
  • For stability, brace your core and bring your shoulders back and down.
  • Maintaining a tight and straight body, bend your arms while keeping them tucked into the sides of your body.
  • Extend your arms and push yourself back up to the starting posture without lowering your hips or losing core tension.

10. Resistance band triceps pushdown

There is no need to panic if you are seeking an alternative to the triceps pushdown that does not involve using a pulley machine. A resistance band will not prevent you from getting good exercise, though.

In point of fact, many powerlifters like this variant over the cable version since it is often less taxing on the elbows. Who wouldn’t desire less discomfort in their elbows?

When performing this exercise, you should direct your attention toward completely extending your elbows since that is the position in which the muscle-building tension is at its peak.

How to perform this exercise?

  • It is recommended that you fasten a resistance band to an anchor that is high. Maintain your grip on the band so that it is nearly level with your chest. Your arms should be wrapped around your sides.
  • Extend your hands and move your hands near your thighs as you do so in order to straighten your elbows. Continue this motion until your elbows are in a straight position.
  • Repeat the motion while bending your arms until your forearms are at an angle that is slightly above that of the floor.

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11. Single arm cable triceps pushdown

Changing from bilateral (two-limbed) to unilateral (single-limbed) exercises is an effective strategy to add diversity to your exercise routines. 

You are better able to identify and address left-to-right muscle imbalances when you perform triceps pushdowns using only one arm because it forces you to concentrate closely on the activity at hand.

Try both overhand and underhand grips using a D-shaped handle to see which one you prefer most. 

How to perform it?

  • Attach a single grip attachment to the cable pulley’s topmost notch.
  • Then, face the pulley while grasping the handle with your left hand.
  • Now, flex your tricep to extend only your forearm downward. During this section of the exercise, exhale.
  • Then, return your forearm to a parallel position with the floor without moving your upper arm. During this section of the exercise, inhale.
  • Perform the necessary number of repetitions.
  • Perform the exercise with your right arm.

Tricep Pushdown Alternative – Final Words 

The reason why triceps pushdowns are a well-known exercise is that they work! It is hard to envision a weightlifter who hasn’t done this exercise, which is also well-liked by powerlifters and gym lovers throughout the world.

The essential equipment is available in all gyms, and triceps pushdown exercises are quite simple to learn. However, like with any workout, triceps pushdowns lose their effectiveness if performed too frequently.

As a result of their simplicity, these are included in the majority of triceps exercises, which may be limiting your developing triceps.

Eliminate pushdowns from your triceps routine and replace them with other exercises. By altering your workout, you may prevent progress freezes and maintain your muscles expanding.

Use these alternatives to triceps pushdowns to create larger, tougher triceps and avoid exercise ruts.

That’s all for today!

I hope you enjoyed this post on the tricep pushdown alternative. Be sure to check back soon for more great content from us. Have a great day!

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