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Most people want to have nicely sculpted arms. In order to do so, you must train your triceps along with your biceps. This post is concentrating on the triceps, the muscles located on the back of the arm. A great exercise for the triceps is the cable overhead tricep extension.

Below we’ll look deeper into cable overhead tricep extensions and we’ll cover the following:

  • Muscles involved in cable overhead tricep extensions
  • Benefits associated with cable overhead tricep extensions
  • How to do cable overhead tricep extensions properly
  • Common mistakes when performing cable overhead tricep extensions
  • Video on how to do overhead tricep extensions
  • Tricep exercises to complete your arm workout

The triceps make up a major part of your upper arm size. These muscles can’t be overlooked and must be trained in various ways. The tricep area can accumulate extra fatty tissue despite its small size. For that reason, arms having extra fat in this area are referred to as “batwings.” This look isn’t the most appealing, which is why you can’t neglect your triceps. The cable overhead tricep extension is a single-joint exercise that targets the triceps.

What Muscles Do Cable Overhead Tricep Extensions Work?

Primary muscles involved in cable overhead tricep extensions:

  • Triceps Brachii: The name triceps is because these muscles are composed of three muscle strands (the long, medial, and lateral heads). It specifically targets the long head of the tricep. The triceps are involved in forearm and elbow extension, helping extend or straighten the elbow. They also involve shoulder adduction and extension, helping pull the arms down. Additionally, the triceps help to stabilize the shoulder joint. Overhead tricep extensions target all three heads of the muscle, especially the long head.

Secondary muscles engaged:

  • Forearms: Located in the upper limbs between the elbows and the wrists. There are several muscles part of this area. They help pronate, flex, abduct, and adduct the hands.
  • Deltoids: These are the main shoulder muscles. The anterior deltoid flexes and medially rotates the arm, the lateral deltoid abducts the arm, and the posterior deltoid extends and laterally rotates the arm.
  • Rhomboids: These muscles are located in the upper back in between the scapula. They fix the scapula to the thoracic wall, retract the scapula, and rotate it to depress the glenoid cavity.
  • Core Muscles: The abdominal muscles together with the intrinsic back muscles, make up the core muscles. They support and move the trunk, keep the body stable and balanced, and protect the spine.

Benefits of Cable Overhead Triceps Extensions

  • Hypertrophy: Cable overhead triceps extensions sculpt and increase muscle size in the back of the arms.
  • Aesthetics: Working the triceps can help you get rid of the so-called “batwings” or “grandma-arms.”
  • Strength: Cable overhead triceps extensions activate all three heads of the triceps helping you become stronger. This translates into better sports performance and improved upper body strength to help you move heavier loads when doing other exercises, such as push-ups or chest presses, or engaging in daily activities.
  • Isolation: This exercise isolates the triceps, helping you to concentrate on that specific muscle.
  • Wrist Health: If you suffer from wrist pain or discomfort, the overhead triceps extension is ideal since your wrists maintain the same angle throughout the exercise. This avoids putting a lot of stress on your wrists.
  • Upper Body Flexibility: Cabled overhead tricep extensions help improve upper body flexibility in your upper body and stabilize your shoulders.
  • Diversity: Using the cables allows for variety, introducing a nice angle to stimulate change and great elongation of the muscles.
  • Simplicity: The cable overhead tricep extension exercise is simple. You just need cables or resistance bands.

How to Do Cable Overhead Tricep Extensions

  • Face the cable machine and place a rope attachment
  • Then, position the pulley at the top of the machine or down below shoulder height
  • Grab the rope with both hands, turn around, and face away from the machine
  • Position your feet in a staggered stance, position your upper body on a forward angle with your back straight, shoulders back, and core tight
  • Your starting position is bending the arms at the elbows while holding the rope
  • Exhale and extend your arms forward while holding the rope directly overhead
  • Fully extend your arms and hold for 1-2 seconds
  • Keep your upper arms fixed throughout the exercise and concentrate on your triceps
  • Inhale while you bend your arms back at the elbows and slowly lower the weight down
  • Bring the rope behind your head until you reach a 90-degree bend at the elbow or slightly further, returning to the starting position
  • Repeat
  • Perform 3 sets of 8-15 repetitions


Cable Overhead Tricep Extensions Mistakes

  • Rounding your back: Keep your back straight and engage your core. A straight back helps you maintain proper alignment and perform the exercise properly.
  • Flaring your elbows: You have to keep your elbows tucked in by your ears to perform the exercise properly. When you allow your elbows to flare out, you engage your biceps and shoulders to assist the flexion and extension. This no longer isolates your triceps.
  • Moving your arms up and down: Another mistake is to allow your arms to move up or down. This decreases the load on your triceps. Remember to keep your arms steady and biceps close to your ears.
  • Moving your head: Your head should remain in place and aligned over the midline of the chest with your chin off your chest. If you find yourself moving your head to complete the exercise, you may need to do other tricep exercises while you work on your upper back and shoulder mobility.
  • Performing short ranges of motion: You should perform the exercise with a full range of motion. Your arms should fully extend at the top and you should achieve at least a 90-degree bend at the elbow when you lower the weight. You cheat and don’t get all the benefits of the cable overhead tricep extension by shortening the motion of the exercise.

Cable Overhead Tricep Extension Video

Cable Overhead Tricep Extension

Tricep Workout

You can complete your tricep workout by performing the following exercises:

As you can see the cable overhead tricep extension is a wonderful tricep exercise. It offers tremendous benefits associated with hypertrophy, strength, endurance, and aesthetics. Now that you know how to properly perform cable overhead tricep extensions, you can avoid the most common mistakes and enjoy their benefits. Remember, whether you want to lose weight, tone your body, or gain strength or size, all muscles must be trained.

Lift, Burn more Fat, Get Stronger, and Live Healthier!

To a Fitter Healthier You,

Adriana Albritton

The Fitness Wellness Mentor

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