If you enter the gym determined to get to work on your triceps, as we all do from time to time, the triceps press-down is likely to be one of the first exercises you plan on doing. It’s a simple isolation move that is as effective an exercise as anything else out there for targeting your triceps and building muscle on the back of your upper arms.

The triceps press-down is an exercise that requires the use of a cable machine, so it’s one that you’ll need to hit the gym to do (though you can perform an ersatz version of the move using a resistance band attached to something sturdy in your house). It’s also a move with many variations, some of which you’ll find on the following pages. But before you do that, here’s how to nail the form of the standard triceps press-down.

How To Do The Triceps Press-Down

Set the cable machine up with the bar at head height. Grab the bar and stand upright with your back straight and your elbows tucked in to your sides. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, or place one in front of the other if it helps you balance. Pull the cable down until the bar touches your thighs and pause to squeeze your triceps at the bottom of the move. Then slowly raise the bar back to the starting position. Make sure you don’t lean forwards to aid the press and don’t let your elbows leave your sides, otherwise you’ll lose some of the focus on the triceps.