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Training Your Triceps: Best Press-Down Variation For Athletic Performance?

Posted by Kostas Kroustaloudis on

Training Your Triceps: Best Press-Down Variation For Athletic Performance?

What’s up Gronk Fitness!

Do YOU utilize the Triceps Pushdown exercise to build bigger and stronger arms?

It’s definitely a great exercise but there are just so many alternative variations you can do with this exercise alone that one might find it difficult to choose the right one for their goals.

So, without further ado, let’s answer a few burning questions that are on most lifters’ minds!

Is The Triceps Pushdown The BEST Triceps Builder?

The answer is both yes and no. That’s because the triceps consist of three heads (tri-ceps); the long head, the medial head and the lateral head (horseshoe). Whenever you perform an exercise with your elbows in front of your torso, such as the triceps pushdown, you will be recruiting mostly your medial and lateral heads of the triceps. So, is the triceps pushdown the perform movement for your triceps? It is, as far as your lateral and medial triceps heads are concerned.

But the long head of the triceps is actually the stronger and bigger one of the three and it actually requires a different kind of elbow positioning in order to achieve 100% activation. Your elbows need to be raised above your head and some prime examples of that would be the Skullcrusher or the Overhead Triceps Extension. So, if you can pair these exercises together with some kind of triceps pushdown, your triceps training will be on point!

Which Pressdown Attachment Is Optimal For Athletic Performance?

Let’s see what our options are first!

Triceps Rope Attachment: You’d think this is the best overall option but you would be mistaken. In fact, most people opt for this attachment, thinking that they get more range of motion out of the exercise.

In reality however, the only thing the rope attachment does, is limit the weight you can press because you actually have to pull the rope apart in addition to pressing it down. This pulling-apart motion is not generated by the triceps though. It’s mostly a rear delt/upper back activation that enables you to do that. So overall, this is the worst attachment you can use if your goal is athletic performance and functional training.

EZ-Bar Attachment: An overall solid option, especially for those of us who have a bit of wrist discomfort when using the straight bar attachment. It allows for full range of motion without limiting the weight you can press.

Alternatively, you could use an underhand grip on this bar and turn the press-down into a pull-down but this is not recommended in most cases. If you are really having trouble “feeling” your triceps work during the movement, then yea, go for it. Otherwise, stick with the overhand grip, as it will allow you to press more weight with greater leverage.

V-Bar Attachment: An amazing choice indeed. The V-Bar is very similar to the EZ-Bar but it’s a bit more angled-down which is usually preferable by most lifters.

Before choosing an attachment though, you have to understand that the triceps do not rotate the forearm, they merely extend it. Therefore, whether you use a straight bar or an angled bar makes no difference as far as triceps activation is concerned.

The only difference would be in your degree of comfort, especially regarding your wrists and elbows.

Strength Bands: This is the Gronk-recommended way of training and for good reason.

Contrary to cables, dumbbells and barbells, Strength Bands do NOT put any unnecessary strain on joints. They merely force the MUSCLES to work, plus, they help build the elasticity and strength of the connective tissue surrounding your muscles.

However, all this, highly depends on YOUR goals. If your goal is purely muscle size and strength, perhaps you would be better of using a traditional pulley system with the V-Bar or EZ-Bar attachments. If on the other hand, athletic performance and functional training is your goal, stick with the strength band training.

It’s Time To Train!

There you go! We have provided all the information you need and now you can make an INFORMED decision in regards to your training. Read the blog as many times as you need and don’t feel bad if you have to experiment with different options, grips and bars. Experimenting is a part of life. This is exactly how you will learn what’s ideal for YOUR body, YOUR training and YOUR goals.

And as always…get your mind right!


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