How to Do the Lying Triceps Cable Pressdown

THE CABLE TRICEPS PRESSDOWN is a go-to arm muscle builder, but you might find that it can leave you feeling unfulfilled. If you’ve used the exercise in your workouts and found your pump lacking, you’re not alone.

The most common problem, according to Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is that the even, upright stance most people use for pressdowns puts you into a position that makes it too easy to compensate by rolling the shoulders forward, particularly when fatigue hits toward the end of the set, or if the load is exceptionally heavier than the triceps can handle. This leads to your shoulders taking on a bit of the work—which is not what you want you’re seeking to torch your triceps with this isolation exercise.

There’s a simple pressdown fix, however, that will bring the focus back to only your triceps. You’ll need a flat bench, and a shift in orientation. “We’re going to lie on a bench and perform the same exercise, but create a totally different sort of stimulus to our triceps,” Samuel says.

How to Do the Lying Cable Pressdown

According to Samuel, moving to the horizontal position on the bench will allow you to control your shoulder position, which creates more stability for your shoulders and support for your back.

●Move a flat bench in front of the cable machine, and adjust the cable to a height where you can grasp the handle from your position on the bench.

●Lie back on the bench. Squeeze your glutes and abs to create tension.

●Squeeze your shoulder blades and drive them down into the bench to reinforce your position. This will make it easier for you to keep your arms parallel with your torso.

●Grip the rope handles in each hand. Extend your arms, only moving at the elbows. Pause at the top, then return to the starting position.

●Perform 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Since your back is on the bench with your shoulders engaged, you should be in the perfect position to press without any shoulder engagement. The key here is to keep your arms parallel to your torso, and moving only at the elbow joint. The focus here should be on form, so don’t be afraid to drop down to a lower weight if you feel yourself being pulled out of position.

The change in position also changes the most challenging element of the exercise, as the load becomes more difficult to manage toward the bottom of the movement as you fight to keep the weight from pulling your elbows up.

Jeff Tomko is a freelance fitness writer who has written for Muscle and Fitness, Men’s Fitness, and Men’s Health.

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