Single Arm Tricep Pushdown: BEST For Arm Muscle Imbalance

With this exercise, the tricep muscle can be more effectively isolated, and more weight can be used as well.

I’m about to give you a comprehensive guide on how to do single arm tricep pushdown, a few variations to consider, targeted muscles, and hopefully, implement what you’ll learn.

Exercise Details

  • Also known as: Unilateral triceps pushdown
  • Exercise type: Strength 
  • Body type:  Arms, Triceps
  • Level: Beginner
  • Main targets: Triceps
  • Secondary targets: Core muscles
  • Compound/Isolated: Isolated
  • Force Type: Push
  • Equipment Needed: Cable machine with a high pulley attachment.

Related Post: How To Do Reverse  Grip Tricep Extensions (ULTIMATE GUIDE)

What Are Single Arm Tricep Pushdowns?

The single-arm triceps pushdown works similarly to the standard cable triceps pushdown, with the exception that you train each arm independently (one at a time) rather than bilaterally (both simultaneously).

But, you want to try this exercise because of its unique benefits such as:

  • Lift more weight overall than you can with some bilateral workouts, which might eventually lead to the development of additional muscle.
  • Strong mind-muscle connection: because you only need to concentrate on one arm at a time.
  • Correct muscular imbalances: this is due to the fact that both sides of your body must lift the same exact weight so that each arm cannot take over from the other.

How To Do Single Arm Tricep Pushdown In A Proper Form?

This exercise can be performed using a single handle or a rope attachment, here are the steps you can with a supported video demonstration:

  1. Take a supinated (palms facing up) hold with your right hand on one of the handles that attach to the high-cable pulley.
  2. Straighten yourself out in front of the weight stack. After your elbow and upper arm are locked into the side of your body, pull the handle down.
  3. To straighten your arm, lower the single handle to your side while contracting your triceps. Exhale during this phase.
  4. Return the handle to its initial position gradually by extending your arm.
  5. Repeat for 8-12 reps of 3-5 sets.
  6. Follow the same previous instructions with the opposite arm.

You may love this alternative triceps exercise using bands.

Exercise Tips:

  • An angle of less than 90 degrees should be formed between your upper arm and forearm.
  • For greater balance, you might maintain the other arm at your waist and put one leg in front of the other.
  • Only move your forearms and always maintain an upright standing position with your upper arms.
  • Squeeze your triceps at the bottom of the movement for 2 seconds to maximize the tension.

Muscle Worked During Single Arm Triceps Pushdown

Image Showing Muscle Worked During Single Arm Triceps Pushdown

The one-arm triceps pushdown focuses primarily on the triceps muscle. It specifically targets the lateral head of the triceps, the biggest of the triceps muscle’s three heads.

In order to maintain stability and balance during the movement, this exercise also works the core muscles.

Single Arm Tricep Pushdown Alternatives To Improve Size and Strength

1. Rope Triceps Pushdown

To target the triceps muscle for improved definition and stronger arms, implement the rope triceps pushdown into your workout program.

How To Perform Rope Triceps Pushdown?

  1. To begin, position yourself in front of a cable machine, tie a rope to the top pulley, and take an overhand grip.
  2. Pull the rope down towards your legs while keeping your back straight, and elbows closed to your sides.
  3. Press down the rope by contracting your triceps.
  4. Maintain this position for a count, then bend back your arm to the starting position.
  5. Continue for as many repetitions and sets as necessary.

2. Straight Bar Tricep Pushdown

Also called:

  • Straight bar pressdown
  • Straight bar cable pushdown

Reverse Grip Tricep Extension Image

A straight bar pushdown is just a version of a tricep pushdown with no bends or curves that uses a cable machine.

How to perform?

  1. Attach the straight bar handle to the high pulley
  2. Using an overhand grip, grasp the bar.
  3. Take a step backward and lean forward a little.
  4. Keep your elbows firmly fixed in a position while you extend your arms.
  5. Repeat for the appropriate amount of repetitions.

3. Single Arm Tricep Extension

Image for a Men Doing Single Arm Tricep Extension

The one-arm tricep extension is a simple free weights workout that concentrates on the muscles of the triceps.

This technique video makes learning good one-arm tricep extension form simple.

How to perform?

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hold a dumbbell vertically in your right hand and your right arm fully stretched above your head, and engage your core.
  2. Keep the elbow pointing forward while lowering the weight behind the neck.
  3. Pause for a moment, then return the dumbbell to the starting position by fully stretching the arm.
  4. Repeat for the other side.
  5. recommended sets and reps: 6-12 repetitions, 3-4 sets.

4. One-Arm Reverse-Grip Triceps Pushdown

One-arm reverse triceps push-downs are excellent for toning and isolating, and, like other cable exercises, they’re also great for newbies.

As a result, push-downs may be used as a muscle-building exercise when done with appropriate weight.

Picture for a Men Doing One Arm Reverse PushdownsHow to do?

  1. Attach a single handle to the high pulley cable machine and adjust the weight according to your fitness level.

  2. Face the machine, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arm stretched to the side, palm down.

  3. Inhale and push the handle down towards your thigh until your arm is completely stretched, keeping your elbow close to your body.

  4. Exhale and slowly return to the starting position, keeping your elbow close to your body the entire time.

  5. Repeat for desired reps and switch arms.

Pro Tip: The downward motion of this exercise does not require your wrist to be straight, a wrist rotation is fine.

People Also Ask

Are one-arm tricep pushdowns good?

Yes, one-arm tricep pushdown is an effective exercise that targets the tricep brachii as long as it’s performed correctly and mixed with a good workout routine.

Do tricep pushdowns work both heads?

Yes, tricep pushdowns are an exercise that can work both heads of the triceps muscle, however, the specific emphasis on each head can vary depending on the variation of the exercise and the technique used.

For instance, a tricep pushdown with a narrow grip focuses more on the medial head of the triceps whereas one with a wider grip put more emphasis on the lateral head.


I frequently incorporate single arm tricep pushdowns in my programming since they are such a great workout. But occasionally you also need a triceps pushdown alternative.

This exercise may not be an option for many of us who train at home, so, you can choose from many resistance band tricep exercises that require no equipment, or perhaps you just want to mix up the exercises you do for your upper arms.


  1. Tiwana MS, Sinkler MA, Bordoni B. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Triceps Muscle. [Updated 2021 Aug 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:
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