Wondering which variation of the tricep push down is more effective for tricep growth? Here’s the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Should I Do Tricep Rope Pushdown Or Bar Pushdown?

The rope push down will activate the triceps more as the range of motion is increased. Heavier weight can be used to overload the triceps with the bar push down. This means that they are better for building more muscle. However, the rope is a more natural movement and doesn’t place as much strain on the wrists and elbows. Adding both into your training will yield the best results.

Tricep Rope Pushdown Muscles Worked

All three heads of the tricep are worked which makes the rope push down a great exercise. Start by placing the rope attachment on the cables and have it hanging slightly above your head. Grasp the rope on both sides with each hands.

If your gym has a longer rope attachment, consider using it as it will increase the range of motion and allow you to work your triceps even more.

Pull your elbows in tight by your sides. Push the rope down and towards your body. You should fully extend the arm to get the most possible stretch and even consider bending your wrist at the bottom of the movement to get an even further stretch.

Make sure to keep your elbows tucked into your sides stopping them from flaring out. Don’t bend over as this will allow the back and shoulders to take over, meaning that the triceps won’t be doing the work.

The tricep rope push down is very versatile and you can easily change the tricep head being worked by changing where you move the ropes and place your arms.

By spreading the ropes apart as much as possible on the way down, you will be hitting the outer tricep heads more.

If you don’t have a rope you can use resistance bands or a single cable.

Try out an overhead rope tricep extension that will target the long head of your triceps more. Put the cable in the lowest position, grab the rope and then turn around with the rope behind your head.

Keep your elbows as close together as possible. Your hands should be grasping the rope just behind your head. Squeeze your triceps and push the rope straight up.


The rope allows for a further range of motion as you can pull your hands down past your sides.

The rope variation will target all three heads of the tricep which is very beneficial. If you are in a crunch for time it’s a great movement to include.

Increasing the strength of the triceps will increase shoulder and elbow stability. Having strong triceps will also assist in bigger movements like the bench press and overhead press.

Since each arm is working on its own to pull each end of the rope down, it is a good exercise for strengthening both sides of the arm.

Another benefit of rope push downs is that variations of them can be done anywhere. Get a pair of resistance bands and you can even do them at home. Looking for more effective at home workouts? Check out this guide.


You can’t use as much weight as other attachments.

Tricep Bar Pushdown

The bar push down will allow you to move more weight than the rope variation. This allows you to overload the tricep muscles to a greater degree.

Place the straight bar in front of your head and grasp it. Bring your elbows down tight to your sides while keeping a tight grip on the bar. Your forearms should be straight.

Squeeze your triceps by bringing the bar down against your legs. Keep your elbows tight into your body so that the triceps are doing all the work. When the elbows flare out, the chest and shoulders take over the movement.

Your arms and back should remain straight while performing the exercise. Avoid leaning over the bar as this takes the triceps out of the movement.

Supinated Grip?

A supinated grip refers to an underhand grip on the straight bar. The movement is performed exactly the same, just with an underhand grip rather than an overhand.

What you’ll first notice is that it is a lot easier to keep your elbows pinned into your sides with an underhand grip. You can try it right now without and weight. This makes it easier to use correct form for the bar push down with an underhand grip.

You may even feel a better contraction on the triceps so try both grips and see which feels better for you.

Consider trying out the V bar push down for a variation that meets halfway between the rope and bar. It puts your grip in a semi-supinated position which is easier on your wrists than the straight bar.

The rope variation will still allow for more range of motion, but you can use heavier weight on the v bar. If you experience wrist pain on the straight bar or just want to switch things up, it’s a great variation to try.


More weight can be used for the bar push down which will break down more muscle fibers and lead to more tricep growth.


Many people will experience wrist pain when doing bar push downs. To prevent this, try to keep the wrists stationary throughout the movement. Do not let your hand bend forward or backwards while doing push downs.

Rope VS Bar

If one tricep is stronger than the other on the bar push down, it can take over the movement. In the rope variation, each arm has to do its own work, preventing muscle imbalances from occurring.

The rope also places less stress on the joints as it allows the wrists to be in a more neutral grip. The straight bar can lead to wrist pain as the weight gets heavier.

The rope will keep the tricep under tension for a longer period as there is further range of motion, but the bar variation can overload with more weight.

Why You Should Be Training Your Triceps

The triceps make up two-thirds of your arm, so if you want big arms you need to be training them. Most people only focus on biceps and wonder why their arms aren’t growing.

The triceps help stabilize your shoulder joint and act as an extensor of the elbow and shoulder. As your tricep strength increases, so does the strength and stability of your elbow and shoulder. This is good for injury prevention and increasing arm strength.

Stronger tricep increase lockout strength which is the end portion of moves such as the bench press and overhead press. Triceps are also a huge factor when it comes to the bench press. If you’re trying to increase your bench and grow your chest, you should be also strengthening your triceps.

More benefits found here.

Best Exercise For Tricep Growth?

We’ve covered the rope and bar push downs, but are they the best movement to build the triceps? The skull crusher takes the crown as it hits all three heads and isn’t as hard on the joints.

By bringing the bar all the way back behind the head, the triceps get a full stretch. It can be loaded up with heavy weight to overload the triceps.

However, there is not only one exercise that you do should be doing if you want to grow your triceps. You should be doing a variety of different exercises.

Leave any questions or comments below and I’ll get back to you!

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