Cable One Arm Pushdown

Start Position
End Position

Starting position:

  1. Adjust the pulley height to an over-head height.
  2. Facing the cable, grasp the D-handle attachment with a closed, pronated grip (palm facing down).
  3. Stand straight with feet flat on the floor in a stable stance, shoulder width apart and underneath your body.
  4. Face straight ahead and push the D-handle down, extending elbow until it is at a 90-degree angle. Keep working arm tucked at your side.

Downward movement/concentric phase:

  1. Extend elbow, pushing the handle downward to full elbow extension.
  2. Keep working arm tucked at side throughout the entire movement.
Do not hold your breath. Exhale during the concentric/phase phase and inhale during the eccentric/lowering phase.

Upward movement/eccentric phase:

    1. In a controlled fashion, allow the elbow to bend, returning the handle upward to the starting position.
    2. Complete a set with one arm then repeat with the opposite arm.


Exercise Data

  • Primary Muscles: Triceps brachii
  • Synergists: Anconeus
  • Stabilizers: Deltoids, Rotator cuff muscles
  • Type: Strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance
  • Mechanics: Elbow extension
  • Equipment: Cable crossover station and a D-handle attachment
  • Lever: 1st class lever
  • Level: Beginner to advanced
  • FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Cable One Arm Pushdown

    What Is A Triceps Cable One Arm Pushdown?

    A one-arm cable triceps pushdown is a resistance exercise, which involves the primary elbow extensor, the triceps brachii. This exercise is performed at a cable crossover station with a D-handle attachment, completing sets of repetitions one arm at a time. The concentric portion of the lift is elbow extension, which involves the lifting of the weight. The eccentric portion is elbow flexion, which involves the descent of the weight.

    The purpose of the one-arm cable triceps pushdown is to strengthen the triceps while promoting hypertrophy (increases in size) of triceps.

    Why Do Triceps Cable One Arm Pushdowns?

    One-arm cable triceps pushdowns provide a variation in exercises that activate the triceps brachii. This exercise allows the lifter to activate the triceps, focusing on one arm at a time. The pushdown motion with an overhand grip (palms facing down) targets the lateral and medial heads of the triceps. Performing this exercise with a supinated grip (palms facing upward) places greater emphasis on the medial head of the triceps.

    The lateral head of the triceps makes up the outer portion of the “horseshoe”. Activating the lateral and medial triceps heads improves the overall aesthetics of the triceps muscle.

    One-arm cable triceps pushdowns strengthen and increase the size of the triceps brachii. Performing exercises with a cable provides constant resistance throughout the entire range of motion. Cable triceps pushdowns also serve as an auxiliary exercise that can increase strength involved in other multi-joint exercises.

    Anatomy Of A Triceps Cable One Arm Pushdown

    The triceps brachii is located on the back of the upper arm, originating at the shoulder and inserting in the elbow joint. It consists of three heads, the long, medial and lateral head. The medial head lies beneath the long and lateral head. The long head origin is located at the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula (shoulder blade). The original of the lateral head is located at the posterior shaft of the humerus. The medial head origin is located at the radial groove of the posterior humeral shaft.

    The long and lateral heads make up the “horseshoe” portion of the triceps. All three heads merge, sharing insertion into the olecranon process of the ulna, located at the elbow joint.

    The triceps brachii extend the elbow joint. The long head assists in arm adduction.

    The anconeus is a short, triangular muscle located at the elbow joint. Its origin is located at the lateral epicondyle of the humerus, inserting at the lateral aspect of the olecranon process of the ulna.

    The positioning of the shoulders in a flexed position requires the deltoids and rotator cuff muscles to ensure stability of the joint capsule throughout the movement.

    Variations Of A Triceps Cable One Arm Pushdown

    Pronated grip, supinated grip.

    How To Improve Your Triceps Cable One Arm Pushdowns

    Focus on the concentric portion of the contraction, concentrating on “squeezing” at the end of the flexing portion.

    Emphasis on eccentric contractions, prolonging the eccentric portion of the contraction, may also be incorporated in a training program focused on increasing strength. This should be implemented accordingly and with adequate muscle recovery as eccentric contractions cause substantial damage to muscle tissue.
Strategically vary your grip (pronated, supinated), cable attachments (e.g. V-bar, rope) and elbow extension angles (e.g. cable overhead triceps extension, lying overhead triceps extension) when designing your triceps regimen. This will optimize the strength and hypertrophy adaptations made from the exercises over time.

    It’s important to note that your repetition and set volume will depend on your goals (e.g. strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance). It is also important to allow adequate recovery days in between triceps and chest training to allow muscles to repair.

    Common Mistakes When Doing Triceps Cable One Arm Pushdowns

    On the upward/eccentric phase, allowing the elbow to bend past 90 degrees takes the tension off of the triceps in between repetitions. Returning to starting position (with elbow bent at 90 degrees) allows the lifter to keep tension on their triceps throughout the entire exercise, optimizing triceps activation.

    Returning the weight too quickly to starting position can result in elbow, triceps and/or shoulder injury. Therefore, it is important to control the downward and upward phases of the exercise.

    Flaring your elbows out to the side can minimize triceps activation. Keep elbow tucked in to maximize triceps contraction.

    Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Triceps Cable One Arm Pushdowns

    If proper technique is not adhered to (e.g. dropping the weight quickly instead of controlling the descent on the eccentric portion of the lift, lifting a load too heavy for the lifter), the likelihood of injury increases.