Newly published research compared two favourite tricep exercises performed on a cable machine: overhead tricep extensions vs cable pushdowns. And it turns out one can build 40% more muscle than the other.

The research was conducted by Ritsumeikan University and the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya. Here is how the research was conducted.

Overhead Tricep Extensions vs Cable Pushdowns – Which Builds More Muscle?

A total of 21 participants (14 men and 7 women around 23 years old) were used for the research. Before the tests began, their one-rep maxes were tested for each exercise and their arm mass was measured using an MRI.

Participants would perform overhead triceps extensions on one arm and triceps cable pushdown on the other arm. There would be a total of 5 sets of 10 reps of each exercise after a short warm-up. The participants did this twice a week, on non-consecutive days, for 12 weeks. Each week, the weight increased for each exercise.

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After 12 weeks, participants’ arm mass was measured again using an MRI. Everybody grew stronger with both exercises, but overhead triceps extensions built 40% more muscle growth and size compared to the triceps cable pushdown.

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According to the findings of the result, one possible explanation for the difference in muscle building is that the long head of the triceps (triceps brachii) is lengthened more during the overhead extension.

Another reason for the findings is the decrease of blood flow to the triceps during the overhead extensions might have increased the “metabolic stress within the muscle and promoted hypertrophy.”

How To Do The Overhead Tricep Extension on Cable Machine

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The arm contains several muscles, which are responsible for the movement of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. Here are some of the major muscles in the arm:

  1. Biceps Brachii: This muscle is located in the front of the upper arm and is responsible for flexing the elbow and rotating the forearm.
  2. Triceps Brachii: This muscle is located in the back of the upper arm and is responsible for extending the elbow.
  3. Brachialis: This muscle is located deep to the biceps brachii and is responsible for flexing the elbow.
  4. Brachioradialis: This muscle is located in the forearm and is responsible for flexing the forearm at the elbow.
  5. Pronator Teres: This muscle is located in the forearm and is responsible for pronating the forearm (turning the palm downwards).
  6. Supinator: This muscle is located in the forearm and is responsible for supinating the forearm (turning the palm upwards).

There are many other muscles in the arm, but these are some of the major ones that are responsible for arm movement.

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There are many benefits to having strong and bigger arms, including:

  1. Increased functional strength: Strong arms are essential for many daily activities, such as carrying groceries, lifting heavy objects, and performing household tasks. Having strong arms can make these activities easier and reduce the risk of injury.
  2. Improved athletic performance: Many sports require strong arms, including weightlifting, boxing, and baseball. Having bigger and stronger arms can improve performance in these activities and give athletes a competitive edge.
  3. Improved overall physique: Strong and well-defined arms can improve overall physical appearance and body symmetry.
  4. Increased metabolic rate: Building muscle mass, including in the arms, can increase the body’s metabolic rate, helping to burn more calories and lose weight.
  5. Improved bone density: Resistance training, such as lifting weights to build arm strength, can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  6. Increased confidence: Having strong and bigger arms can improve self-confidence and self-esteem, which can positively impact many areas of life, including personal relationships and career success.

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Overall, having strong and bigger arms can provide many physical, psychological, and health benefits, and can improve overall quality of life.

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