Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown: The Key to Bigger Arms

Reverse grip tricep pushdown is one of the bodybuilding exercises that every routine should be completed without. Few triceps workouts offer the full three-head stimulation and the additional ab, pectoral, and lat trap that reverse-grip tricep pushdown provides.

Modifying the grip to reverse-grip tricep pushdown will target specific areas that comprise the triceps. Learn the details about the reverse-grip tricep pushdown, how to execute it with perfect form, and how to incorporate it into your routine by reading this comprehensive tutorial on performing reverse-grip tricep pushdown.

The Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown

The reverse-grip tricep pushdown is among the best exercises to help develop the triceps.

While not as well-known, however, reverse-grip tricep pushdown can be very efficient.

We will go over everything you must know about the reverse-grip tricep pushdown.

Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown: Working Muscles

Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown Working Muscles

Primary Muscle Group

Based on its name, it’s little surprise that the reverse-grip tricep pushdown principally concentrates on the triceps.

The scientific name of the muscle is tricep brachii (Latin meaning “three-headed arms muscles”). The triceps’ medial, lateral, and long heads work together when you raise your arm.

However, using the reverse-grip tricep pushdown is designed to work on the medial part of the triceps much more than the traditional pushdown.

Secondary Muscle Group

While it’s an exercise for isolation, it also helps strengthen your triceps. The reverse-grip tricep pushdown engages the lat muscles (latissimus dorsi) as well as the abs (rectus abdominis) and the obliques (exterior Obliques) as well as the pecs (pectoralis major and minor pectoralis) and trapezius (trapezius).

They help stabilize the upper part of the body during the exercise movement.

Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown: Benefits

Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown Benefits

#1 Strength And Size Gains

The motion of pushing down is loved by weightlifters since it has been proven to increase the strength and size of your triceps.

But, many people do not consider the reverse-grip tricep pushdown. This technique helps strengthen the medial tricep head, situated below the more prominent long and lateral heads.

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This exercise is great for bodybuilders, athletes, or anyone who wants to increase arm strength.

When you’re throwing an object or lifting weights and other large objects, or simply want to improve the look of your arms, using the reverse-grip tricep pushdown is the one for you.

#2 Triceps Isolation

The reverse-grip tricep pushdown can be described as an exercise for isolation instead of a compound movement.

Isolation exercises are beneficial as they help rectify any strength or muscle imbalances that you may have in your body.

If, for instance, your chest is stronger than your arms, you could use the reverse-grip tricep pushdown to correct the difference.

This will increase your physical appearance and performance during compound exercises such as the press at an incline or that fly with dumbbells.

#3 Convenience

Certain tricep exercises require costly equipment, which is only available in a gym.

Although the reverse-grip tricep pushdown utilizes cables, all you require is a band of resistance to complete this exercise.

With a sturdy bar or hook to attach the resistance band to enhance the strength of your triceps regardless of the location, you’re in.

Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown: Instructions


  • If you are standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, you can face an incline device (with the straight bars or handles attached) and your band of resistance. Ensure that the handles or attachments you are using are positioned at chest level.
  • Take the handles or the bar with your palms up.
  • Make sure your chest is up and your shoulder blades are aligned and bent slightly to begin the exercise.


  1. While your elbows are tucked tightly to your sides, tighten your triceps until you can bring the handle or attachment to the point that you have your arms fully stretched.
  2. Pause at the top of the exercise and press your triceps firmly.
  3. Release the weight slowly and return to the beginning position. Repeat!


When you grip the hand with the underhand, it is possible that you won’t be capable of lifting as much weight. Therefore, it is recommended to complete 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions of the reverse-grip tricep pushdown.

Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown: Mistakes

Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown Mistakes

#1 Excessive Elbow Movement

Many people let their elbows swing back and forth throughout the exercise. Although you can technically lift more weight by using momentum, you’re actually working your lats to finish the workout.

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To focus on your triceps, ensure your elbows are tucked to your chest. This will allow you to achieve maximal contraction of your triceps.

#2 Elbows Flaring Out

Another common incorrect technique for the reverse-grip tricep pushdown is flaring elbows. When elbows are flared out to the side, the shoulder and chest muscles are activated.

Although there’s nothing wrong with exercising the muscles, you’re trying to strengthen the triceps.

If you’re looking to strengthen the muscle effectively, make sure your elbows aren’t flaring out to maintain the correct shape.

#3 Rounding The Back

Many individuals tend to assuage their backs and shoulders when performing the reverse-grip tricep pushdown, particularly when lifting the weight of a heavy object. This back posture that is rounded happens when lifters attempt to leverage the weight or resistance.

If you cannot lift the weight with the correct form, you’re lifting too the weight. Keep the back in a straight line and keep your chest up to avoid this issue.

Reducing the weight and practicing proper form!

Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown: Variations

#1 Alternating Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdowns

Alternating reverse-grip tricep pushdown may also be performed unidirectionally.

Use the handle attachments to create pulley systems or grab the resistance band, keeping the shape the same as the traditional rear grip.

Alternating reverse grip pushdown will help you improve the balance between your arms and enhance the mind-muscle connection.

#2 Overhand Tricep Pushdown

After doing some reverse-grip tricep pushdown, take the liberty of changing the technique and attempting the variation with the hand pushdown.

The form and the shape remain the same, excluding the grip. Instead, grasp the bar or handles with your palms facing downwards.

Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown: Alternatives

If you liked the reverse-grip tricep pushdown, take a look at these other exercises for triceps that will help you improve your triceps exercise:

#1 Skull Crushers

Lay down on a bench that is flat or on the floor with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Place the dumbbells on your head with your palms facing each other and press your core.

While your elbows are in a fixed posture, then hinge your elbows to gradually lower the dumbbells to just below your ears.

Then, contract your triceps and raise your arms to straight positions on the highest point. Repeat!

#2 Alternating Triceps Kickbacks

Maintaining your back straight, keep your waist straight to ensure your spine aligns with the floor. Grab the upper part of the handle with one hand, keeping your palm facing the inside.

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The kettlebell should be placed close to your chest. Your arm should be bent so that your elbow is at 90 degrees angle by bringing your forearm into the 90-degree angle.

While your elbow is in a straight position, tighten your triceps and pull the kettlebell in front of you till your elbow is completely extended. Press your triceps to the highest point of the rep, and return to your starting position.

Continue to alternate arms, and then repeat!

#3 Overhead Triceps Extension

Make sure you are in a stable standing position. With your elbows snugly in a while, your arms are close behind your body, and then slowly reduce the load until forearms and elbows create an angle of 90 degrees.

Make sure your upper arms remain still and let your forearms move freely. Then, you can use your triceps muscles to push the dumbbells upwards in controlled movements until they reach the beginning position.

Last Words

The reverse-grip tricep pushdown is an easy exercise to do, and it is possible to begin incorporating it into your workouts immediately. You can save them until the end of your exercise to be able to really work them out without having to think about the impact it has on other movements.

Maintain a lightweight and pay attention to form…if you do this, you’ll notice improvements quickly. It’s that easy! Make sure to utilize the concept of progressive overload when you train!


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

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