Cable Tricep Kickbacks: Your Guide To Great Form And Rapid Gains

Are you tired of trying to sculpt your triceps with classic tricep exercises, but always getting stuck at the same level of progress? Maybe you’ve hit a plateau or are struggling with proper form. Whatever the reason, you don’t have to settle for mediocre triceps any longer! Cable tricep kickbacks are a popular and effective exercise that can help you break through that pesky plateau. As a personal trainer, I understand the frustration that comes with seeing little to no progress despite your efforts. That’s why I’m here to help guide you through proper form and execution of cable tricep kickbacks, so you can see the results you’ve been working hard for. In this blog post, I’ll share everything you need to know about cable tricep kickbacks – from the benefits, to proper form, to variations – so you can take your tricep game to the next level.

Cable Tricep Kickbacks Summary

  • Primary Muscles: Triceps Brachii
  • Secondary Muscles: None
  • Equipment: Cable Machine with Single D-Handle
  • Mechanics Type: Isolated
  • Force: Push
  • Utility: Auxiliary
Graphic image of a fit man performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Cable Tricep Kickbacks Instructions

  • Begin with a single handed handle connected to a cable pulley in a low position.
  • Grab the pulley with one hand and step back with the same leg. You can brace yourself with the opposite hand on your leg as shown.
  • Next, pull your tricep back with your arm bent so that it is slightly past our back. Leaning forward will give you a better range of motion.
  • Now, with your elbow and upper arm stationary extent you arm pulley the cable with your tricep.
  • After max extension bring your arm back to the bent position.
  • Repeat this isolation exercise for a complete set and then switch sides.

Video Tutorial

How To Do Tricep Kickbacks Properly - Using Both Cables & Dumbbells

Cable Tricep Kickbacks Muscles

Target (Agonist)


  • None

Dynamic Stabilizers

  • None


Antagonist Stabilizers

  • None
Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the cable tricep kickbacks exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Cable Tricep Kickbacks

Performing cable tricep kickbacks in a strength training or fitness routine is a great way to target the triceps brachii muscle. This exercise works the triceps brachii from both a dynamic and static perspective, providing a full range of motion to the muscle. Additionally, the cable tricep kickback helps to isolate the triceps brachii and allow for better muscle recruitment, allowing for more precise and effective targeting of this muscle. By performing cable tricep kickbacks, you can gain strength and definition in your triceps brachii, making them look and feel stronger.

Tips for Performing Cable Tricep Kickbacks

If you’re seeking to take the cable tricep kickbacks to the next level, then you’re at the right place. These tips will enable you to benefit fully from this first-class exercise and maximize its results. In addition to strengthening your tricpes muscles, increasing mobility, and also a lower possibility of injury can all be achieved with this exercise. It is time to get started and take a look at how these suggestions will help you.

  • Keep your elbows close to your body: Keeping your elbows close to your body during the exercise helps you isolate the tricep muscles and get the most out of your workout. This will help you build strength and tone your arms.
  • Maintain a steady tempo: Doing the exercise at a steady tempo will help you keep good form and maximize the effectiveness of your reps. This will help you get fit faster, as well as increase your endurance.
  • Use proper weight: Using too much weight can lead to bad form and even injury. Make sure you use a weight that is appropriate for your fitness level, so that you can get the most out of your workout and stay safe.

Benefits and Tips Video

Triceps Kickback Benefits

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

When conducting cable tricep kickbacks, keeping away from common errors can be the difference to getting the most out of the exercise and preventing injury. Additionally, achieving the most out of the exercise requires proper technique, and avoiding perform common mistakes can help you to perform the exercise better and obtain your desired results. But relax, it’s not as challenging as it might seem. By knowing the errors to avoid and taking the appropriate actions, you may complete the exercise securely and effectively. Let’s begin by avoiding these typical errors and add this exercise to your exercise regimen.

  • Not keeping the elbows in line with the shoulders: This mistake can lead to poor form and uneven strain on the muscles, which can lead to injury.
  • Bending the elbows too much: If the elbows are bent too much, the exercise will become more of a bicep curl than a tricep kickback and won’t target the correct muscles.
  • Using too heavy of a weight: Using too heavy of a weight can lead to poor form and can make the exercise much less effective, as well as increase the risk of injury.

Find More Cable Exercises Here

Variations and Complementary Exercises

There are several exercises that can be used as alternatives or complements to Cable Tricep Kickbacks. These exercises work the same muscles in different ways and can help to add variety to your workout. Here are a few variations, complementary, or alternative exercises to Cable Tricep Kickbacks:

Cable Tricep Pushdown

Graphic image of Cable Tricep Pushdown.

The Cable Tricep Pushdown is an effective exercise to target the triceps muscles. It is done by pulling down a cable attached to a high pulley with both hands. The motion of the exercise involves extending the arms and pushing down to the mid-thigh level. The Cable Tricep Pushdown is a great alternative or complementary exercise to Cable Tricep Kickbacks. Both exercises target the triceps muscles, but the Cable Tricep Pushdown focuses more on the long head of the triceps while the Cable Tricep Kickbacks primarily target the medial and lateral heads. Therefore, performing both exercises together can provide a more balanced workout for the triceps muscles.

Dumbbell Kickback

Graphic image of Dumbbell Kickback.

Dumbbell Kickback is a great complementary or alternative exercise for the Cable Tricep Kickback. It works the same muscle groups, however it does not require the use of a cable machine. To perform the exercise, start by standing with feet hip-width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle and keep your upper arms close to your body. Then, extend your elbows while keeping your upper arms stationary. Hold the extended position for a few seconds before slowly returning to the starting position. Dumbbell Kickback is an effective exercise for targeting the triceps and can be done almost anywhere with minimal equipment.

Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press

Graphic image of Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press.

The Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Cable Tricep Kickbacks. This exercise works the same muscles in the triceps as the Cable Tricep Kickbacks, but in a different way. The Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press involves lying down on a bench, gripping the dumbbells with your hands close together, and pushing the dumbbells up towards the ceiling. This exercise is great for targeting the triceps and can be used as either a primary or secondary exercise in any triceps routine. It also helps to strengthen the chest and shoulder muscles as well.

Check Out These Top Cable Exercises

Lying Dumbbell Single Extension

Graphic image of Lying Dumbbell Single Extension.

The lying dumbbell single extension is a great exercise to add to your routine as a complement or alternative to cable tricep kickbacks. This exercise works the triceps in a different way, targeting the long head of the triceps brachii and allowing for full range of motion. You start by lying on your back, holding a dumbbell in one hand with your arm straight up. Slowly lower the weight to the side of your body, then extend your arm up and back overhead. This exercise can be done with either one or both arms at a time, and can be used as an isolation exercise or as part of a circuit.

Overhead Rope Tricep Extension

Graphic image of Overhead Rope Tricep Extension.

The Overhead Rope Tricep Extension is a great complementary or alternative exercise for Cable Tricep Kickbacks. This exercise targets the triceps muscles, which are located at the back of your upper arm. The exercise is performed by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and grasping a cable rope attachment from above your head. Keep your elbows close to your ears and bend your elbows, bringing the cable down toward your chest. Then straighten your arms back up to the starting position. This exercise can be done with lighter weights for higher reps to increase muscular endurance, or heavier weights for fewer reps to increase strength. It’s an effective exercise for targeting the triceps and is a great alternative or complement to Cable Tricep Kickbacks.

Smith Machine Incline Tricep Extension

Graphic image of Smith Machine Incline Tricep Extension.

The Smith Machine Incline Tricep Extension is a great alternative or complementary exercise to Cable Tricep Kickbacks. This exercise focuses on the triceps, similar to Cable Tricep Kickbacks, but has the benefit of providing support from the Smith Machine. To do this exercise, you will need to set the incline bench at an incline angle and use the Smith Machine bar. Grip the bar with your hands at shoulder-width apart and lower the bar down to your chest. Keeping your elbows tucked in, press the bar back up to the starting position. This exercise can be used as a substitute for Cable Tricep Kickbacks or as an additional exercise to target the triceps.

Find More Arms Exercises Here

Opposing Complementary Exercises

To maximize the benefits of Cable Tricep Kickbacks, it’s important to incorporate exercises that work the opposing muscle groups. The following exercises can be used to target muscles that oppose the triceps and further enhance your workout routine.

Close Grip Cable Curls

Graphic image of Close Grip Cable Curls.

Close Grip Cable Curls are a great complement to Cable Tricep Kickbacks because they target the opposing muscle group. Close Grip Cable Curls involve gripping the cable handle with an overhand grip and curling it up towards the shoulders. This exercise focuses on strengthening the biceps, which are the muscles opposite of the triceps targeted in Cable Tricep Kickbacks. Doing this exercise in combination with Cable Tricep Kickbacks is a great way to effectively work both muscle groups for a balanced upper body workout.

Concentration Curls With Bands

Graphic image of Concentration Curls With Bands.

Concentration curls with bands are a great way to complement cable tricep kickbacks as they work the opposing muscle group. Concentration curls involve isolating the biceps and slowly curling the band up to the shoulder. This exercise will help to build strength and size in the biceps, and when combined with cable tricep kickbacks, it creates a balanced workout for the upper arms. This combination will help to improve overall upper arm strength, size, and definition.

Dumbbell Concentration Curl

Graphic image of Dumbbell Concentration Curl.

The Dumbbell Concentration Curl is an excellent exercise to complement the Cable Tricep Kickback. It targets the biceps, which are the opposing muscle group of the triceps. This exercise will help to balance out the muscle strength between the two muscle groups and improve overall arm definition. The concentration curl can be done with a single dumbbell and requires you to sit on a bench while curling the weight up towards your shoulder in a controlled manner. This exercise is great for building strength, size, and definition in your biceps.

Transform Your Triceps with Cable Kickbacks

If you’re looking to add some definition and strength to your triceps, then cable kickbacks might be worth trying. This exercise targets the tricep muscles located on the back of your arm and involves extending your arm backwards while holding a cable attachment. By keeping your elbow stationary and isolating the tricep muscle, you can achieve a more efficient and effective workout. Incorporating cable kickbacks into your workout routine can help you transform your triceps and make progress towards your fitness goals.

References: Wikipedia | | | Comprehensive List of Arms Cable Exercises

Pin image for cable tricep kickbacks post. With an image of a man performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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