Reverse Grip Tricep Extension: Benefits, Mistakes, Alternative & More

The tricep pushdown, while less common, is one of the greatest triceps workouts since it is challenging and extremely effective for building all 3 heads of the triceps.

This is due to the supinated grip employed in underhand pushdowns, which pushes you to maintain your elbows fixed to your sides, resulting in a greater tricep maximum contraction.

In this post, we’ll go over how to execute a reverse grip tricep extension with the best form, as well as the advantages of the exercise, some of the top alternatives, and technical problems and mistakes that might be limiting your reverse pushdown growth.

Exercise Details

  • Also known as: Underhand tricep extension / supinated pushdown
  • Exercise type: Strength 
  • Body type:  Arms, Triceps
  • Level: Beginner
  • Main targets: The lateral, medial, and long heads of the triceps
  • Secondary targets: Lats, abs, pecs, obliques, and traps.
  • Compound/Isolated: Isolated
  • Force Type: Pull
  • Equipment Needed: Cable machine and bar attachment

What Is A Reverse Tricep Extension

Reverse grip tricep pushdown is a wonderful tricep workout that will target your triceps differently because your hands are in a reverse grip position and your arms are extended downward while you standing upright.

By using an underhand grip, you may reduce the use of your forearms and reduce the strain on your elbows.

How To Do Reverse Grip Tricep Extension

  1. Connect the high pulley to its bar attachment or handles and make sure that they are hanging a chest height.
  2. Move back from the machine after grabbing the bar with a solid, underhand grasp.
  3. Engage your core and bend over a bit while maintaining your back neutral.
  4. Bend your triceps to press the bar down while maintaining your elbows locked to your sides.
  5. Continue pressing until your elbows are fully extended, then squeeze your triceps firmly for a while.
  6. Lower the contraction slowly but don’t let your elbows slide forward.
  7. Raise the bar to roughly chest height before doing your next rep.

Because you’ll be doing more repetitions, it’s better to do the reverse triceps extension at the end of your exercise.

Recommended sets and reps:

  • 3 to 4 sets
  • 8 to 15 reps 

Muscles Worked During Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdowns

 Let’s look at the primary and secondary muscles worked while you are doing the tricep pushdown:

This is an isolated workout that focuses mainly on the triceps, However, not all isolation movements are created equal.

The lateral, medial, and long heads make up the three heads that make up the triceps, yet depending on the motion, they each function somewhat differently,  it concentrates more on the medial head.

The back (traps and lats), shoulders, and even the core are among the many stabilizing muscles that are targeted, these muscles collaborate in an isometric mode.

Benefits Of Performing Reverse Grip Tricep Extension

Many people execute reverse grip tricep pushdowns without completely comprehending the advantages that may be obtained from the workout with appropriate focus and dedication.

Besides showcasing basic pushdown benefits this tutorial illustrates how the reverse grip tricep extension can be far more beneficial than the overhand grip extension as an alternative.

  • Decreased wrist pain:

As opposed to standard bar pushdowns, this exercise doesn’t drive your wrists into a pronated position, making it simpler to do. 

Another solid alternative is the EZ bar press-down, which can also be done with an underhand grip since EZ bars have semi-pronated grasps meaning that the wrists are never pulled into complete pronation.

  • Maintain consistent tension:

Numerous triceps workouts could be regarded as ineffective because of the rest breaks they incorporate into each rep. This often occurs when gravity eliminates the requirement for a muscular activity or when a joint supports all of the weight.

A few examples of these workouts include dumbbell triceps extensions performed while bending over and other skull-crusher variations.

In this cable-based overhand version, the triceps are continuously under stress for a longer period of time, which helps to work the muscle more intensely and stimulate development.

  • Great triceps isolation:

The reverse grip tricep extension is a great exercise for this because it prevents the long head from dominating the movement at the cost of the lateral and medial heads while the elbows are at your sides.

This is due to the fact that throughout a reverse tricep extension, your shoulders are in a straight posture, which prevents the long head from performing its secondary roles like shoulder extension.

Therefore, this exercise is excellent when it comes to strengthening the other two tricep muscles, even if overhead extensions are unquestionably effective at increasing triceps size.

  • Enhances Conditioning:

While compound workouts like the barbell row and deadlift offer nothing to enhance your muscular conditioning, they are good for increasing strength and muscle growth only.

The cable tricep extension, however, allows you to concentrate on a particular muscle group at a time because it is an isolation exercise. Your objective when completing the cable pushdown should be to fully fatigue your muscles by pumping blood and lactic acid into your triceps.

You can boost the conditioning of your triceps by performing more repetitions.

Reverse Grip Tricep Extension Alternative

Fortunately, there is a range of different triceps isolation exercises that may replicate or even improve the type of training stimulus, intensity, and duration under strain provided by the reverse cable triceps extension.

1. Barbell Reverse Grip Tricep Extension 

Also known as Reverse grip skull crushers.

While Barbell Reverse Grip Tricep Extension may cause pain for some people’s elbows, they are an excellent tricep workout because they urge you to maintain your elbows nestled in rather than turned out.

Also, this exercise works the same muscles as the reverse tricep kickback

You can reduce the chance of the bar punching your face by lowering the barbell behind your head rather than on your forehead.

2. Reverse Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Reverse Dumbbell Tricep Extension Image


Reverse grip dumbbell triceps extensions are very similar to overhead tricep extensions as an excellent muscle-building exercise that can be included in any resistance training program.

Allow your triceps to accomplish all of the liftings, don’t push the weight up by bending the legs or hips in order to get the most out of this exercise.

3. Dumbbell Tricep Kickback

For strong, shaped arms, tricep kickbacks with dumbbells are a wonderful workout to isolate your medial and lateral tricep heads and strengthen and tone them. the majority of people miss out on gains by lifting heavier than necessary during this exercise.

The tricep kickback with the correct form is critical for moving properly and with a complete range of motion.

4. Tricep Rope Pushdown

The rope pushdown is arguably the most well-known variant of the regular tricep pushdown for the same purpose of isolating the triceps brachii muscle.

Keep in mind that the biggest issue with the triceps pushdown is caused by the attachments employed during the exercise.

provide 4 Common Mistakes Of Reverse Tricep Extension including ( wrong elbow placement, Using momentum, and Not fully extending the arm)

Common Mistakes Of Reverse Tricep Extension

  • Incorrect elbow positioning: this is a common problem in a reverse tricep extension. When the elbows are excessively forward, it shifts the focus of the movement to the shoulders, while if they go too far back, there may be unnecessary pressure on the wrists during the workout.

  • Using momentum: Another typical mistake is depending on momentum to raise the weight instead of the triceps. This might shift the primary focus away from the triceps and lessen the exercise’s efficacy.

  • Partially extending the arms: To properly engage the triceps, the arm must be fully extended during the activity. If the arm is not completely extended, the triceps will not receive as much stimulation, limiting the effectiveness.

  • Too heavy or too lightweight: Making a wrong weight choice is another frequent mistake. An inadequate technique can result from using a weight that is excessively heavy, and an insufficiently challenging weight may fail to effectively engage the triceps. It’s crucial to pick a weight that pushes you but doesn’t compromise your form.

Underhand VS Overhand Tricep Extension

  • Grip: the grip is the key difference between underhand and overhand triceps extension. The underhand extension involves holding the grip underhand, while the overhand extension involves holding the grip overhand.
  • Muscle Activation: The two workouts target somewhat different muscle groups. While both workouts primarily target the triceps muscles, underhand triceps extensions train the triceps’ long head while overhand triceps extensions train the lateral head.
  • Range of Motion: The range of motion in both exercises varies. Underhand extensions include bringing the bar below your head, and overhand extensions involve bringing the bar down towards your forehead. Underhand extensions have a greater range of motion than overhand extensions, making them a more versatile exercise.

People Also Ask

Are reverse grip tricep extensions good?

Absolutely, reverse grip tricep extensions are a beneficial workout for the triceps. It can aid in strengthening and defining the arm since it concentrates on the lateral head of the triceps. To prevent injury, it’s critical to exercise with the right technique and weight while being guided by an athletic trainer.

What does underhand tricep extension work?

Underhand tricep extension primarily works the triceps brachii muscle located at the back of the upper arm. However, it also works the anconeus muscle in the elbow joint and engages the forearm muscles as stabilizers.

What grip is best for triceps extension?

The overhand grip (pronated grip) is the best grip for triceps extension. As it focuses on the long head of the triceps more, this grip enables better activation of the triceps muscles. Additionally, it helps to avoid putting too much tension on the wrists and forearms.

Wrapping Up

Now that you have everything you need about reverse grip tricep extension, you must guarantee that you are not half-assing your exercises.

And always concentrate on building a mind-muscle connection, and do the exercises with perfect form to bear maximum benefits.

If you have any questions, drop them in the comment section, I will be happy to answer all of them!


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  2. Kholinne, E., Zulkarnain, R. F., Sun, Y. C., Lim, S., Chun, J. M., & Jeon, I. H. (2018). The different role of each head of the triceps brachii muscle in elbow extension. Acta Orthopaedica et Traumatologica Turcica, 52(3), 201–205.
  3. Hussain J, Sundaraj K, Subramaniam ID, Lam CK. Muscle Fatigue in the Three Heads of Triceps Brachii During Intensity and Speed Variations of Triceps Push-Down Exercise. Front Physiol. 2020 Feb 21;11:112. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.00112. PMID: 32153422; PMCID: PMC7047337.
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