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Is Tricep Extension Push Or Pull

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Is Tricep Extension Push Or Pull


Is Tricep Extension Push Or Pull: Tricep extensions are a fundamental exercise in the world of strength training, but the question often arises are they a “push” or a “pull” exercise. Understanding the classification of exercises is crucial for designing effective workout routines and targeting specific muscle groups. In the case of tricep extensions, they are unequivocally categorized as “push” exercises. This classification is rooted in the nature of the movement itself. During a tricep extension, you initiate the exercise with your elbows bent, and then you actively extend your arms, pushing the resistance away from your body. 

This motion mimics the action of pushing something away, which aligns perfectly with the definition of a “push” exercise in strength training terminology. Tricep extensions are renowned for their ability to target and strengthen the triceps brachii muscles, crucial for numerous upper body activities. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this classification and delve into the benefits of incorporating tricep extensions into your workout routine. Understanding whether an exercise is categorized as a “push” or a “pull” is fundamental in the realm of strength training, as it workout planning, muscle targeting, and overall exercise effectiveness. Tricep extensions, unquestionably, fall under the classification of “push” exercises. 

This categorization is rooted in the fundamental nature of the exercise – the active extension of the arms, pushing a resistance away from the body. The motion of tricep extensions perfectly aligns with the definition of a “push” exercise, engaging the triceps brachii muscles to perform the extension of the forearm at the elbow joint. Recognizing tricep extensions as “push” exercises has far-reaching implications for fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike. It not only allows for the efficient targeting and strengthening of the triceps but also supports balanced muscle development and functional strength. This classification aids in injury prevention by ensuring that muscles are correctly engaged during exercises, minimizing the risk of strain or imbalances. 

Is Tricep Extension Push Or Pull

What is the difference between tricep pushdown and extension?

Pushdowns focus on the lateral head which is the muscle you can see when you’re looking at your triceps from the side. This movement is safer on the elbow joint than tricep extensions because they are held in a less extended position.

Movement Pattern

Tricep Pushdown: In a tricep pushdown, you use a cable machine with a straight or curved bar attachment. The movement involves extending your elbows from a flexed position, pushing the bar downward until your arms are fully extended.

Tricep Extension: Tricep extensions encompass a broader category of exercises that typically involve extending the elbow joint with resistance. These can include exercises like skull crushers, overhead tricep extensions, or lying tricep extensions. Unlike pushdowns, which primarily move in a downward direction, tricep extensions can have varying angles and paths of motion.

Muscle Engagement

Tricep Pushdown: Tricep pushdowns predominantly target the lateral head of the triceps, which is the muscle you can see when looking at your triceps from the side. It emphasizes the development of the outer part of the triceps.

Tricep Extension: Tricep extensions, depending on the specific variation, can engage various parts of the triceps, including the lateral, medial, and long heads. The choice of extension exercise can influence which part of the triceps is emphasized.

Safety and Joint Stress

Tricep Pushdown: Tricep pushdowns are generally considered safer on the elbow joint compared to some tricep extension exercises. This is because the elbow is held in a less extended position during pushdowns, reducing the potential for excessive joint stress.

Are tricep kickbacks push or pull?

Examples of this include: Chest press (push) and back row (pull) Squat (push) and deadlift (pull) Triceps kickback (push) and biceps curl (pull).

Tricep kickbacks are typically categorized as “push” exercises in the context of strength training. In a tricep kickback, you start with your elbow bent at 90 degrees and then extend your forearm, pushing the weight (usually a dumbbell) away from your body until your arm is fully extended. This pushing motion aligns with the definition of “push” exercises, where you push a resistance away from your body. In contrast, “pull” exercises involve pulling a resistance toward your body or contracting muscles to bring two body parts closer together. Examples of “pull” exercises include biceps curls (where you’re pulling the weight toward your body) and back rows (where you’re pulling a weight toward your torso).

Understanding the distinction between “push” and “pull” exercises is crucial for effective workout planning and muscle targeting. Tricep kickbacks, as “push” exercises, primarily target and strengthen the triceps brachii, specifically the lateral head, contributing to overall triceps development.  Push exercises involve the action of pushing a resistance away from the body, typically by extending or straightening a joint. These exercises engage muscles responsible for extension or pushing movements.

Tricep pushdowns, bench press, shoulder press, leg press, and push-ups are all examples of push exercises. In these movements, you’re pushing a resistance away from your body or extending a joint.  Pull exercises involve the action of pulling a resistance toward the body or contracting muscles to bring two body parts closer together. These exercises engage muscles responsible for pulling or contracting movements. Biceps curls, back rows, pull-ups, and lat pull-downs are examples of pull exercises. In these movements, you’re pulling a resistance toward your body or contracting specific muscle groups.

Which tricep extension is best?

Single-Arm Overhead Cable Triceps Extension

The single-arm variation of the overhead triceps extension is an extremely valuable tool for shoulder health and triceps development. Because it’s unilateral, you’ll use less weight. But you’ll also have a more precise set-up and individualized range of motion.

Unilateral Training: The single-arm variation allows you to work each arm independently, addressing any strength imbalances between your right and left sides. This can help ensure balanced triceps development.

Precision and Range of Motion: With a single-arm setup, you can focus on each arm’s precise range of motion and form. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who may have mobility or flexibility issues in one arm, as you can tailor the movement to each arm’s needs.

Shoulder Health: The overhead position of this exercise can also contribute to shoulder stability and health. By engaging the triceps in this manner, you help support and protect the shoulder joint.

Variety: Incorporating single-arm exercises like this can add variety to your triceps workout routine. Changing up your exercises can prevent plateaus and keep your workouts engaging.

Intensity: While you may use less weight with the single-arm variation, the intensity of the exercise can be quite high due to the need for stabilization and control. This can result in effective triceps activation and growth.

Do tricep pushdowns work all heads?

Tricep pushdowns target the medial and lateral heads of the triceps. With proper form and regular practice, tricep pushdowns can tone the muscles on the back of your arms and increase stabilization around your shoulder joint.

Lateral and Medial Head: Tricep pushdowns, whether using a straight bar, V-bar, or rope attachment, primarily engage the lateral and medial heads of the triceps.

Long Head: Exercises that involve overhead extension, such as overhead tricep extensions or skull crushers, can put more emphasis on the long head of the triceps.

Isolation: Tricep pushdowns are isolation exercises that allow you to specifically target the triceps without involving other muscle groups excessively. This makes them effective for triceps development.

Safety: Tricep pushdowns are generally considered a safe exercise for the triceps, as they minimize stress on the elbow joint while providing a high degree of triceps activation.

Variety: You can vary the attachments used with the cable machine (e.g., straight bar, V-bar, rope) to slightly change the emphasis within the triceps during pushdowns, adding variety to your triceps workouts.

Are triceps stronger than biceps?

The biceps and triceps are crucial for pushing and pulling functions. The biceps is thought to be the stronger of the two, but the triceps is the larger muscle. The two muscles need each other in order to function properly. These muscles can experience similar injuries and recover with similar treatments.

Muscle Size: The triceps are indeed larger than the biceps in terms of overall muscle mass. The triceps consist of three heads, while the biceps have two heads. However, size alone doesn’t necessarily dictate strength.

Functional Roles: The biceps and triceps have different functional roles. The biceps are primarily responsible for flexing the elbow joint (bending the arm), while the triceps are responsible for extending the elbow joint (straightening the arm). Both muscles play crucial roles in everyday movements.

Relative Strength: The strength of the biceps and triceps can vary from person to person and is influenced by factors such as genetics and training. Some individuals may have stronger biceps, while others may have stronger triceps.

Balance: Achieving a balance of strength between the biceps and triceps is important for overall upper body strength and function. Imbalances can lead to joint issues or injuries.

Synergy: The biceps and triceps work synergistically in many upper body exercises. For example, during a pull-up, the biceps are active during the pulling phase, while the triceps are engaged when lowering the body (the eccentric phase). In exercises like bench presses, both muscle groups are involved.

Injury and Recovery: The biceps and triceps can both experience similar types of injuries, such as strains or tears, and require similar treatments and rehabilitation strategies for recovery.

How many tricep exercises should I do?

Two exercises are probably enough to work all three heads of your triceps. A good combination is a pressing exercise (like the bench press) which works your lateral tricep heads and an overhead tricep extension (like the lying tricep extension) which works your long and medial tricep heads.

Goals: If your primary goal is to build significant tricep strength and size, you might benefit from including more tricep exercises or variations in your routine.

Variety: Introducing variety by rotating different tricep exercises can help prevent plateaus and keep your workouts engaging. This can be particularly useful if you’ve been doing the same exercises for an extended period.

Recovery: Adequate recovery is essential for muscle growth. If you find that your triceps need more time to recover between workouts, you may want to limit the number of exercises in each session.

Training Split: Consider your overall training split and how tricep exercises fit into your routine. If you have a dedicated triceps day or an upper body day, you might have more flexibility to include multiple exercises.

Time Constraints: Your available workout time may also influence the number of exercises you can do. If you have limited time, focusing on two effective tricep exercises can provide a productive workout.

Should you go heavy on the triceps?

“You must always remember to train your triceps heavily if you want to see maximum growth. Heavy exercises like the close grip bench press, lying ez bar extension and even weighted dips are all candidates to help pack on some size on your triceps while fitting the bill of the heavy movement required to get the job done.

Progressive Overload: Heavy resistance training, where you gradually increase the weight or resistance, is a fundamental principle for muscle growth. This progressive overload challenges the triceps and encourages them to adapt and grow over time.

Compound Movements: Exercises like the close grip bench press and weighted dips are compound movements that engage multiple muscle groups, including the triceps. These exercises can be effective for building overall upper body strength and tricep size.

Proper Form: When lifting heavy weights, maintaining proper form is crucial to prevent injury. Ensure that you have a solid foundation in terms of technique and stability before attempting heavy tricep exercises.

Individualization: The definition of “heavy” can vary from person to person based on individual strength levels. It’s essential to choose a weight that challenges you while allowing you to complete the prescribed number of repetitions with good form.

Variation: While heavy training is beneficial, it’s also important to include a variety of tricep exercises in your routine. Different exercises target various parts of the triceps and can provide a more well-rounded approach to muscle development.

Recovery: Heavy training places significant stress on your muscles and joints. Be mindful of adequate rest and recovery between heavy tricep workouts to allow for muscle repair and growth.

How many sets per week to grow triceps?

If you count your back exercises as biceps work, they can handle quite a lot of volume. However, if you’re training them directly with exercises like biceps curls, preacher curls, incline curls, and lying biceps curls, you can do well with as few as 8 sets per week. Triceps: 6–12 sets per week.

Training Experience: Beginners may benefit from starting with the lower end of the range (around 6 sets per week) and gradually increasing volume as they progress. More experienced lifters may require higher volumes to continue making gains.

Intensity: The intensity of your triceps workouts also plays a role. If you’re lifting heavy weights with fewer repetitions, you might perform fewer sets. On the other hand, if you’re doing higher-repetition, lower-weight sets, you may do more sets to achieve the desired training effect.

Recovery: Pay attention to how your triceps respond to training and whether they require more or less volume for recovery and growth. Overtraining can lead to decreased progress and potential injury, so listen to your body.

Exercise Selection: The choice of triceps exercises can impact the number of sets needed. Compound movements like bench presses and close grip bench presses can engage the triceps along with other muscle groups, potentially requiring fewer dedicated triceps sets.

Progressive Overload: Regardless of the number of sets, consistently increasing the weight or resistance over time (progressive overload) is essential for triceps growth.

Balanced Training: Ensure that your overall training program includes a balance of exercises for all muscle groups, as imbalances can affect your progress.

Is Tricep Extension Push Or Pull


The classification of tricep extensions as “push” exercises is well-founded and rooted in the nature of the movement itself. Tricep extensions involve actively extending the elbow joint, pushing the resistance away from the body, which aligns perfectly with the definition of “push” exercises in the realm of strength training. This classification not only helps in workout planning but also aids in understanding the precise engagement of the triceps during these exercises. Recognizing tricep extensions as “push” exercises has several benefits. It allows for effective targeting of the triceps brachii muscles, crucial for various upper body activities.

It supports balanced muscle development, enhances functional strength, and minimizes the risk of injury by ensuring that the correct muscle groups are engaged during movements. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast, understanding the classification of tricep extensions as “push” exercises empowers you to incorporate them effectively into your workout routine, promoting overall triceps strength and contributing to your fitness goals. Understanding the classification of tricep extensions as “push” exercises is not only essential for workout planning but also for optimizing tricep training.

This distinction allows individuals to recognize the targeted muscle group and the specific motion involved. Tricep extensions are characterized by the action of pushing the resistance away from the body, engaging the triceps to extend the elbow joint.The practical implications of this classification are significant. It helps individuals create balanced workout routines, emphasizing the importance of including both “push” and “pull” exercises for overall muscle development. For tricep-specific training, identifying tricep extensions as “push” exercises directs focus to the triceps brachii muscles, which are vital for various upper body movements.

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