Maybe you are already using the rope attachment for cables as a part of your training. However, the chances are that you are not using them to their utmost potential. Because of the unique positions you can twist and tweak your hands using a rope, compared to an EZ or straight bar, you can hit your triceps from more intricate angles. This is not to say that normal bars aren’t effective, but why stop at 80% muscle activation when you can hit 100%, just by knowing the ropes?
These are three techniques you can incorporate with the ropes and take advantage of contraction-enhancement.
1. It’s all in the wrist
First thing; use a weight that you can stay in control of the entire time. Using these three techniques can only be done with a weight that you can fully control. When performing rope pressdowns, twist your hands so that your knuckles are facing the floor. This pronation of the palms will put a lot more tension on the peak contraction portion of the movement.
This simple twist will drain the last energy from the tricep during the rep, stimulating muscle growth even further. This technique elevates the intensity, and this is why you need to use a weight you can control, even if that means dropping. Otherwise, you open yourself up to improper technique, which will not stimulate the triceps to that extent and could also lead to an injury.
2. Don’t just pull down, pull apart
Following the above pronation, try to pull the rope ends away from each other. This might occur naturally as you twist your wrist, but if not, make sure you are pulling them apart. The small bit of additional movement will emphasise the triceps with increased tension. You might need to lighten the load a little more, but remember, this is a far more effective way of stimulating growth than moving heavy weights that aren’t in control.
3. Hold it there
Flexing in the mirror after a set is a staple, it’s a great way to make us feel the pump and admire how good we look. Did you know that you can also flex in the middle of your set? Not only can you, but it is beneficial. Rather than jump straight back into the eccentric part of your lift, hold the weight for a small pause by squeezing the muscle. A small pause is usually used to rest the muscle but in this case, you are using it to add intensity and flood the muscle full of blood, giving a massive pump.
You’re probably thinking about where you can implement all these variations? You don’t need to come up with new movements, just a little imagination with already well-founded movements to make them more effective. Attach the ropes when performing these three movements.
1. Rope Press-down
The same movement as a bar pressdown, but instead use a rope. Make sure to keep your arms, and specifically your elbows, pinned to your side. Even though you are always stimulating all three heads of the tricep, this movement variation places greater stress on the lateral head of the triceps. This is a great start to using the methods described above, as this is probably the easiest way to learn how to manipulate your hand and wrist position.
2. Overhead Extension
The long head of the tricep connects to your shoulder blade, meaning that you should incorporate an overhead movement to fully stretch the muscle and achieve a stronger contraction. By moving your hands overhead, along with twisting your wrists, there will be a boat load more stress on the long head, and stimulating muscle growth.
3. Single-arm kick-back on cables
There is a lot more freedom when it comes to using unilateral movements, one of which is that there is no room for one arm dominating the other during the lift. First, as you reach the end of the ROM, twist your wrist back until it is at a 90-degree angle with the floor. After that, hold the contraction for a brief pause to turn up the burn in your lateral head. It is important to make sure that you do not start to row the cable rather than kick it back. Keep your elbow pinned to your side, and don’t let your arm begin to swing from the shoulder, to make sure you keep the tension on your tricep.
Now you have the movements and the variations with the ropes. Implement these into your tricep training to light a fire underneath your tricep growth.