4 Cable Machine Exercises For Bigger Triceps

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Cable machine workouts can offer you impressive benefits and muscle gains but what are some tricep exercises you can do with cables?

The cable machine is a piece of fitness equipment where a steel frame holds weights and pulleys. Thanks to the cable going through these pulleys and attached to these weights you can do many types of strength training exercises for a wide variety of muscles.

You can definitely also work out your tricep muscles with cable machine alternatives like a barbell, dumbbells, and even resistance bands.

That being said the cable machine is a great way to work out your tricep muscles. One benefit is that cables can offer consistent resistance throughout an exercise.

For most of the exercises there are a few types of handles that are preferable. Even so, for most of these you can likely improvise and use other handles as well. For tricep exercises, this is not as essential compared to for example cable leg exercises which often need an ankle strap attachment.

These cable machine exercises engage your triceps in different ways. For optimal tricep growth and strength, it may be worth it to implement all of these in your workout routine.

Keep in mind that even though there are many benefits, your injury risk is generally also higher when you do exercises with more weight/resistance.

1. Cable tricep press downs

To do a tricep press down take the following steps:

  1. Use a straight bar handle and set up the cable machine so that the handle is at about your eye height. You can also use a variety of other handles.
  2. Grab the handle with an overhanded grip, take a step or two away from the cable machine, and stand up straight with your feet at more or less shoulder width and your face towards the machine.
  3. Tilt your upper body forward until it is at about a 45-degree angle to the ground while keeping your back straight. Bend your knees slightly. Hold your elbows right in front of your body. Your arms are folded as far as comfortable.
  4. Slowly stretch your arm as far as comfortable. Keep your body and upper arms in the same position throughout the movement.
  5. Move the bar back into the position in step 3 in a controlled motion.

You could also grab the bar with a supinated grip, your hand palms facing upward, but this would make the exercise a lot more challenging for your grip muscles. For a good tricep workout, you likely want to stick to the overhanded grip.

2. Cable machine overhead tricep extensions

To do a single hand overhead tricep extension take the following steps:

  1. Put the cable pulley right above head height and preferably use a double rope handle. You can also use other handles.
  2. Grab the double rope handle with your back towards the machine. Take a step back and tilt your body slightly forward while keeping your back straight. Point your upper arms upward as much as in one line with your body as possible. Let your forearms in one line with the cable.
  3. Slowly stretch your arms. Keep your body and upper arms in the same position throughout the movement.
  4. Fold your arms back into the position of step 2 in a controlled motion.

You can also do this cable tricep exercise with one hand at a time to avoid any muscle imbalances. Other handles like the straight bar and EZ bar are also options for this exercise.

3. Cable machine tricep kickbacks

To do a tricep kickback take the following steps:

  1. Put the cable pulley at about knee height and preferably use a single rope handle. You can also use a D-grip handle.
  2. Stand with your face toward the cable machine. Tilt your upper body forward until it is at about a 45-degree angle to the ground while keeping your back straight. Bend your knees slightly. You can hold the cable machine during the exercise for balance.
  3. Take the rope handle with one hand and bring back the upper arm of that side until it is at about a horizontal line. For now, do not exert any force on your lower arm except to grip the handle.
  4. Slowly stretch the arm with the handle. Keep your body and upper arm in the same position throughout the movement.
  5. Fold your arm back into the position of step 2 in a controlled motion.

In an exercise like the tricep kickback, the cable machine offers a benefit over free weights like a dumbbell. With a dumbbell kickback, your triceps are not under any pressure at the bottom of the movement.

On the other hand, with a cable machine you get consistent resistance throughout the exercise.

4. Lying cable tricep extensions

For the next cable machine tricep exercise you need a weight bench. Once you have that to do a lying tricep extension take the following steps:

  1. Put the cable pulley close to the ground and preferably use a straight bar handle. You can also use other handles. Put the weight bench right in front of the pulley facing it vertically.
  2. Lie on the bench with your head closest to the cable machine. Reach back to the straight bar handle and grab it with your hands at about shoulder width with your hand palms facing backward/upward.
  3. Move up your upper arms until they lean slightly more back than vertical.
  4. Slowly stretch your arms. Keep your body and upper arm in the same position throughout the movement.
  5. Fold your arms back into the position of step 2 in a controlled motion.

Because you are lying down on a weight bench it becomes harder to use the rest of your body during the exercise. This can lead to more tricep isolation and in turn more strength and muscle mass.

The theme of this list is the cable machine but you can also give the lying tricep extension a try with a barbell. Another name for the lying tricep extension is the skull crusher.

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Author:

Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.