Low-Pulley Cable Triceps Overhead Press
The low-pulley cable triceps overhead press is a great isolation exercise that will target your triceps muscles, helping to build muscle and definition. Overhead rope press works the entire triceps, but it is especially good for strengthening the lateral head on the outer back part of your upper arm.
Low-Pulley Cable Triceps Overhead Press Exercise Instructions
STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Attach a rope to the bottom pulley of a cable station. Grip the rope with both hands using a neutral grip (palms facing each other). Turn your body away from the cable station (rope) so your back is facing it. Firmly grasp the rope attachment with your palms facing together and fully extend your arms until your hands are directly above your head pointing to the ceiling (your arms should be perpendicular to the floor with the knuckles aimed at the ceiling). Bend your knees slightly, your feet shoulder-width apart, and straighten up your torso. This is your correct starting (initial) position.
EXERCISE EXECUTION (MOVEMENT): Maintaining a straight and engaged body and ensuring that you bend only at your elbow and keep your upper arm as still as possible, slowly lower the cable back behind your body (head). Lower your forearms behind your head until they’re just below parallel to the floor – no farther. Return to the starting position by flexing your triceps and extending your arms. Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions.
Additional Tips & Key Points
The procedure of performing cable triceps overhead press is quite simple, but you need to remember a few important details.
- It is critical that your elbows point directly at the ceiling to maximize the stretch on the triceps muscles.
- Always keep your elbows close to your head and your upper arms stationary. Don’t let your elbows flare out to the sides.
- All the movement should come from your forearm and you should not lock your elbow at the top of the movement.
- Keep a slight bend in your arms when you reach the top position to make sure you keep the tension on your triceps muscle and off your elbow joints.
- When you are lowering the weight behind your body, ensure that you are controlling the weight, rather than the weight controlling you. If you can’t control the weight on the way down, then it is likely that the weight you are lifting is too heavy.
Muscles Engaged in Low-Pulley Cable Triceps Overhead Press
This variant works the long and lateral heads harder than the conventional cable triceps push-down.
- Main muscles: triceps brachii
- Secondary muscles: anconeus, deltoid
- Antagonists: brachialis, brachioradialis, biceps
There are lots of other ways on which you can perform this movement.
- This exercise can be performed seated on a plain bench, or one that has a back support.
- Also, simply do the seated version while perched on the exercise ball rather than on a bench. Just make sure you place the ball close enough to the low cable that you can maintain a near vertical line when you extend your arms, without the ball touching the cable station.
- You can also do the exercise with one arm (unilaterally) or using a bar (instead of the rope).
- You can also do this exercise by using a single dumbbell instead of using the rope.
- Seated dumbbell triceps press
- Cable rope overhead triceps extension (high-pulley overhead triceps extension)
Other replacement exercises for the low-pulley cable triceps overhead press can be found in our big triceps exercise database.
It is hard for many bodybuilders to feel their triceps working during free-weight exercises like lying E-Z bar triceps extension or seated dumbbell triceps press. That’s because in the top position, the weight is no longer providing resistance. A good remedy is to try the cable overhead triceps press, which provides continuous tension on the triceps, even in the finish position. Most bodybuilders use a rope attachment from the top pulley, leaning forward and doing their overhead triceps extensions from there (see this triceps exercise).
But performing this exercise with a rope attachment from the low pulley (or anywhere below shoulder height) is even more effective. That’s why is a good idea to incorporate the low-pulley cable triceps overhead press into your triceps training.
Then, when you perform overhead press (from the low-pulley), your arms are straight up with your elbows pointing toward the ceiling; the stretch on the triceps is maximized, as is the tension in the finish position. Although this exercise can be done standing, to improve the isolation effect it should be done seated.