Cable Lying Triceps Extension

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Cable Lying Triceps Extension

The cable lying triceps extension (sometimes referred to as the French Cable Curl) uses cables to isolate and work the tricep muscles. In this post you will find complete step-by-step instructions on how to perform this excellent triceps exercise safely and effectively.

Exercise Instructions for Cable Lying Triceps Extension

STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Place a straight bench in front of the low pulley machine. Attach the short bar extension to the low pulley machine. Lie faceup on a bench lengthwise in the middle of a cable crossover apparatus. Your head is closest to the low-pulley cable. With an overhand grip, grab a straight bar handle attached to the low pulley and extend your arms straight over your head.

Cable Lying Triceps Extension

Cable Lying Triceps Extension

MOVEMENT (ACTION): Keeping your upper arms perpendicular to your torso, lower the bar to the top of your head. Extend your arms to lift the bar back up to full extension. Remember not to move your elbows! They should remain in the same place at all times.

Cable Lying Triceps Extension Tips & Tricks

  • Hold the short bar attached to the low pulley in an overhand grip (palms facing up) above eye level with your elbows straight.
  • Keeping your upper arms absolutely stationary and perpendicular to the floor (parallel to each other), lower the bar by bending your elbows, but without changing their position.
  • Do not allow your elbows to move out to the sides, or backwards with the bar.
  • Allow your elbows to flex to lower the bar in an arc to almost touch the top of your head (depending on the length of your arms).
  • Keep your lower back firmly pressed down on the bench.
  • Do not use too much weight as it will present you from maintaining proper arm position.
  • For even greater tension on the triceps do the lying 45-degree triceps extension. When your arms are angled backwards 45-degrees the triceps undergoes stronger tension. This results in a stronger, fuller contraction of the entire muscle.

Muscles Engaged in Cable Lying Triceps Extension

Only one major muscle is directly  involved in this exercise, the triceps brachii. The triceps has three separate sections known as the medial, lateral and long heads which fill the entire back side of the upper arm. The triceps is assisted by the anconeus. It is relatively small muscle located at the elbow joint that locks or fully extends the arm to achieve full contraction of the triceps.

  • Main muscles: triceps
  • Secondary muscles: anconeus
  • Antagonists: biceps, brachialis, brachioradialis

Similar Triceps Exercises

There are lots of other ways on which you can perform triceps extension. While lying, seated, or standing, grab an EZ-bar or a dumbbell with both hands (for bilateral work) or a dumbbell with one hand (for unilateral work) and perform the same type of movement as in the cable lying triceps extension.

Replacement Exercises

There are range of exercises targeting the triceps. The following four triceps exercises are ones we feel every physique-conscious guy should practice. In choosing these exercises, efficiency and effectiveness were the determinants.

Closing Thoughts

The lying triceps extension is an excellent exercise for hitting the long head of the triceps. It puts a great stretch on the triceps at the bottom of the movement when the barbell is down by your face. But as you get back up to the top, you lose pretty much all the resistance. If your arms are completely vertical, all you’re doing is holding up the weight.

Can you assume what is the main advantage of doing cable lying triceps extension? When you add cable resistance to the movement, you not only get the great stretch at the bottom, you also get resistance all the way to the top and it stays on at the top. This makes for a complete tricep movement with no rest for the triceps at any point in the range of motion.

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