One-Arm Push-Downs (Cable)

Performance Description
  1. Stand before the cable apparatus and grasp the desired attachment, which in this case is the single-grip attachment, with an overhand grip (i.e. thumbs facing one another). (See "Further Clarification" for various grip attachments.)
  2. Keeping your elbows at your body's sides, press the weight downward, while exhaling throughout the movement. If desired, you may spot with your free hand.
  3. Slowly allow the weight to rise until your forearms are parallel to the ground, inhaling throughout the negative motion.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 for as many sets as are desired.
Primary Muscle(s)
Triceps (Triceps Brachii: Lateral Head)
Triceps (Triceps Brachii: Long Head)
Triceps (Triceps Brachii: Medial Head)
Secondary Muscle(s)
Forearms (Anconeus)
Tertiary Muscle(s)
Abdominals (Rectus Abdominis)
Forearms (Flexor: Carpi Radialis)
Forearms (Flexor: Carpi Ulnaris)
Forearms (Flexor: Digitorum Superficialis)
Forearms (Flexor: Pollicis Longus)
Forearms (Palmaris Longus)
Obliques (External Oblique)
Further Clarification

There are several different grip attachments which can be used, each will direct focus to different parts of the muscle group.

The standard cable attachments that are used with this exercise are:

  • Straight Bar
  • Easy Curl Bar (E-Z curl bar)
  • Single Grip
  • Rope

As with most cable exercises, one-arm triceps push-downs are good for toning and isolating, and, furthermore, are especially good for beginners or placed at the latter part of the workout (for the triceps portion of the workout, at least). This being said, with enough weight, push-downs can serve as a mass building exercise. When performing push-downs with heavier weights it is acceptable and recommended to lean forward. Also, self-spotting with your free hand is an excellent way to really push yourself.

To most easily place more focus on the lateral head of the triceps, use the rope attachment. The rope attachment allows for the elbows to be turned to face outward at the bottom of the pressing motion; it is this characteristic of the rope attachment that enables the lateral head of the triceps to be better targeted. The single-grip attachment may be used to focus on the lateral head of the triceps as well, but it requires great control to turn the hand outward, especially when only one arm is being worked--which is, of course, the case with one-arm push-downs.

Things To Look Out For

Using a single arm at a time, one's balance can be easily thrown off. Be sure to keep the obliques tight to maintain proper balance.

Exercise Position(s)
Standing, Kneeling
Exercise Variations
Considered An Exercise In The Following Categories