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Home / Fitness and Health / Why men over 40 should use tricep pressdowns to build big arms

Why men over 40 should use tricep pressdowns to build big arms

Writer, fitness model and trainer Kirk Charles, NASM-CPT CES, knows that life can get more complicated as you age. But that shouldn’t stop you from being at the top of your game. He will help you answer the tough training questions that come with age so that you too can live to be over 40.

Older men like me can have a harder time gaining muscle than when we were young, but they win with a solid plan are possible. I’ve always been weaker in my upper body, so I add specific exercises to my routine to target the largest muscles in my arms: the triceps.

Triceps pressdowns are one of my favorite moves for building muscle, especially as I̵

7;ve gotten older and need to think more about joint health. Since the triceps extend the elbows and help straighten the shoulders, the triceps pressure is great for strengthening the ligaments and tendons of these joints. The exercise should also be done properly to activate and strengthen the target muscle, the triceps, while preventing other muscles (lats and shoulders) from dominating the movement. I prefer the simplest form of exercise from a standing position with arms by your sides.

To begin with, your resistance band should be anchored at some point above you (like the top of a door) while standing below. Stand up straight and tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows by raising your hands toward your shoulders, but don’t let your elbows and upper arms stick forward and away from your body (you will find that the bend of your elbows is about 140 to 150 degrees).

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Now all you have to do is reach forward and grab the resistance band with both hands. Squeeze your glutes and support your core. Then pull your shoulder blades back and squeeze them together. While doing this, keep your upper arms closed as if they were cemented to the sides of your body.

Start the reps by straightening your elbows and paying attention to using only your triceps (this is why this is called an “isolation exercise”). Work on keeping your torso still to make sure your shoulders and lats are not part of the equation. At the end of the movement, pause to increase the stimulation, then return to the starting position. This is a repetition.

A common mistake when pushing down is bringing your elbows forward as you return to the starting position. When the upper arms release from the body, you can do a rowing motion and your lats can take over and shift focus from the triceps. Instead of just moving like a hinge on your elbow, think about keeping the rest of your body in place all the time. Another mistake is not to pull down diagonally, but directly from the anchor. Pulling down from an angle of about 45 degrees will give you more tension while fully contracting your biceps, which is what you want.

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Once you are comfortable with the movement, you can challenge your muscles even more. With the triceps fully contracted (with the elbows fully extended), try holding for three seconds and then returning to the starting position. On the final rep, try to hold at full contraction for 10 seconds. The isometric handles will help you maintain and develop even more strength and muscle mass. My recommendation for triceps pressure is four sets of 10 reps if you’re working your upper body, no more than twice a week.

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