Machine Seated Pushdown

Start Position
End Position

Starting position:

  1. Adjust the seat height accordingly so that you can you extend elbows effectively.
  2. From a seated position, grab the handles with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and bent elbows.
  3. Sit straight up with feet flat on the floor.

Downward movement/concentric phase:

  1. Extend elbows, pushing the handles downward.
  2. Maintain good posture, looking straight ahead and sitting straight up throughout the entire movement.

Upward movement/eccentric phase:

    1. In a controlled fashion, allow the elbows to bend, returning the handles back to starting position.
Do not hold your breath. Exhale during the concentric/phase phase and inhale during the eccentric/lowering phase.


Exercise Data

  • Primary Muscles: Triceps brachii
  • Synergists: Anconeus
  • Stabilizers: Deltoids
  • Type: Strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance
  • Mechanics: Elbow extension
  • Equipment: Triceps pushdown machine
  • Lever: 1st class lever
  • Level: Beginner to advanced
  • FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Machine Seated Pushdown

    What Is A Triceps Machine Seated Pushdown?

    Seated triceps pushdowns on a machine involve the primary elbow extensor, the triceps brachii. This exercise is performed seated and mimics the movement of a traditional dip exercise, without having to lift your body weight.

    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 seated triceps pushdown machine is to strengthen the triceps while promoting hypertrophy (increases in size) of triceps.

    Why Do A Triceps Machine Seated Pushdown?

    Seated triceps pushdowns on a machine provide a variation in exercises that activate the triceps brachii. This exercise allows the lifter to perform the movement executed in dips while isolating elbow extension more effectively, minimizing the activation of muscle groups that would otherwise be substantially involved (e.g. pectorals, rotator cuff, abdominals).

    The positioning of the arms places emphasis on the lateral and medial heads of the triceps with elbow extension. The lateral head of the triceps makes up the top and outer portions of the “horseshoe”. Building the medial and lateral heads of the triceps complements overall aesthetics of the triceps muscle.

    Performing elbow extensions on machines allows novice lifters to learn and develop triceps activation and strength. Intermediate and advanced lifters can benefit from implementing machine triceps pushdowns into their regimen as machines can provide a variation in angle, grip and resistance. This machine, in particular, can also aid in the performance of traditional dip exercises.

    Although it is primarily an exercise for aesthetics, machine triceps pushdowns also serve as an auxiliary exercise that can increase strength involved in other multi-joint exercises.

    Overall, seated triceps pushdowns on a machine strengthen and increase the size of the triceps brachii. They also serve as an auxiliary exercise that can increase strength involved in other multi-joint exercises.

    Anatomy Of A Triceps Machine Seated 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 Machine Seated Pushdown


    How To Improve Your Triceps Machine Seated 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.

    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 Machine Seated Pushdowns

    Returning the weight to starting position too quickly can threaten joint and tendon integrity. Performing the eccentric portion of the lift ballistically (e.g. dropping the weight on the way down) can result in triceps tendon, shoulder and/or elbow injuries.

    It is important to note that exercise machines, in general, may not accommodate ergonomically to the varying heights, torso lengths and limb lengths of individuals. Adjust the seat height accordingly and ensure that you do not place your joints in any compromising positions against the weighted resistance.

    Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Triceps Machine Seated 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.

    Although rare, triceps tendon rupture and/or injury may occur if warm-up is not sufficient and/or if intensity (load) is increased inappropriately.