What the heck is the McManus Tricep Pushdown?

Well you know that THT is all about MAXIMIZING muscle fiber recruitment.

You also know from a previous post that in order to achieve this in the triceps we need an exercise that will:

  • straighten the arm (from a position of elbow flexion) and…
  • bring the arm down towards the body

Previously I demonstrated the cable kickback as a way of meeting the above criteria. However, after some feedback from people saying that they found that exercise a little awkward, I hit the lab/homegym again.

I’ve now come up with a variation of the tricep pushdown that is, at least in the author’s opinion, better than the cable kickback and easier to do.

It works BOTH tri’s at the same time and allows for great resistance at that all important PEAK CONTRACTION POINT.

Watch the vid and if it seems like a regular pushdown, read the details below for those CRITICAL differences. (sorry this clip turned out a little blurry for some reason).

The McManus Tricep Pushdown

* Stand a few paces back from the pulley so that the chain is at about a 45 degree angle

* Bend at the knees

* Lean the torso forward and keep a straight back. Stick your butt out.

* You want to push the attachment down until your arms are fully extended. You DO want to ‘lock-out’ the arms in this exercise. This is the PEAK CONTRACTION POINT and because of the angle of arms and the chain, we place much greater resistance at this point where most tricep muscle fibers are recruited. We can therefore induce more microtrauma, which in layman’s terms means MORE GROWTH STIMULATION!

* Ideally, if you had a long rope attachment or something that would allow the arms to extend the arms BEHIND the torso, that would allow for an even FULLER contraction of the triceps. However, this really is EXCELLENT as it is – don’t be concerned too much. I’m using this type of attachment.

* Pause for a second at the PCP before performing the negative. You’ll know if you’re doing it right because the PCP will feel seriously INTENSE. I have the sound in the video muted but I’m making an audible groan at the PCP of every rep.

* You don’t have to let your forearms come up very far past the point where they are at right angles to the upper arms. Control the weight up. Don’t pause in this position, only pause at the PCP.

* Keep your elbows fairly locked into your sides. Contrary to what your instructor will tell you, a little bit of movement is fine and entirely natural once you start using heavier weights. In fact, towards the END of a set a little bit of upper arm movement will allow you to push through your weakest point in the range of motion and helps you complete another rep or 2. Higher Intensity = More Growth Stimulation. Just do it smoothly, no sudden jerking movements and you’ll be fine.

You’d think to hear some of theses gym staff that your arm will fall off or you’ll grow a third eyeball because you DARED to allow some momentum. “Oh My God! He CHEATED!”. Are there judges in these gyms that are marking your form out of 10 or something? Is it every trainee’s goal to score a perfect 10 because I could have sworn we were there to stimulate our muscle fibers to grow! Anyway, I’m off on a rant, back to the post.

It may take a little practice to ‘feel around’ for the correct balance of the body for this exercise. Do a lighter dummy set to get used to it first so that you don’t waste an actual working set.

Factor this in straight away and let me know how you get on.

Stay Motivated!

Mark

P.S. While doing an Amazon search I found these long tricep straps that look like they’d get the job done to great effect! I’m thinking about investing in them. If any of you guys have experience with these, let me know.

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