Bodybuilding veteran Lee Priest remains in unbelievable shape at 51 and still carries substantial muscle mass since last stepping on stage in 2013. In a recent YouTube video, Priest walked fans through a detailed triceps pushdown demonstration, offering tips for maximizing muscle development with a range of variations.
During his illustrious tenure as a Men’s Open Pro, Lee Priest defied the odds en route to building his legacy, having bested names such as Ronnie Coleman, Markus Ruhl, and Jay Cutler. His massive and separated biceps combined with his dry conditioning culminated into an imposing physique anytime he stood on stage.
Training alongside golden-era bodybuilder Tom Platz, Priest routinely tested himself in and outside of competitions. Over a decade following his retirement, fans still marvel at Priest’s iconic side triceps pose. Now, the bodybuilding veteran is sharing how he was able to sculpt such an impressive set of arms.
Lee Priest Offers His Best Tips for Maximizing Triceps Pushdown Gains
First, Priest explained that the cables do not need to be at their highest setting to ensure a proper range of motion during triceps pushdowns.
“Now when I do triceps, I only go to here and then go down to there, there’s no use going up to here [above the neckline] because your triceps not really going any further so this is the question I have, when I see people at the gym, they have this thing here like this [cables set at the top], then they come along with the tricep bar and that are clicking it on here and retry it out and pull it all the way down to here to start.”
“I think to myself, hey dingaling, why don’t you just move the thing down here so it’s pretty close to where you need to start. You don’t have to start from way up high and pull it all the way. You get a good stretch there. It’s not going to stretch anymore only the arm goes up,” Lee Priest stated.
As for rep ranges, Priest prefers 12-15 for lighter weight and 6-8 reps for heavier loads.
“The only rep range you can do is 12-15, then if you go heavy, 6-8, but if you go heavy, still keep it like this [don’t lean in], which still will work it a bit, but you’re doing more like a dip movement now, so you’ve gone from your pushdown into something that you’ve just made up.”
Above all else, Priest implored lifers to focus on the tension in the tricep and controlling the weight without the body swinging.
“You want to just keep the focus on the tricep that’s the basic one, while you got this bar too, you can do it reverse,” adds Priest. “When you go heavier, it just takes a bit less pressure off your wrist [using a different handle].”
“The main thing is to focus on the tricep and keep the tension on the tricep and flex it. Don’t just do this or swing it, just control it. With this bar [v-shaped] you can use the straight one too, but I just prefer this one.”
Priest mentioned that once you can no longer ‘flare out,’ he groups the rope to pump out a few extra reps.
“With the ropes, you generally go a bit lighter because what I do is when you come down at the bottom, just flare it out. Normally, when I do a few sets of these at the end, when your triceps really start burning and pump up, sometimes you can’t flare it out anymore, I’ll just keep it together like this and just pump a few more. At the bottom I will turn the wrists out but they are not all the way out.”
As for the straight handle and v-handle, Priest said they can both be used in the same manner.
“The straight handle, and the V-handle can all be used the same,” shares Priest.
Next Priest offers guidance on performing a one-arm tricep pushdown.
“There are three ways to do it,” said Priest. “Again, nothing is set in stone.”
“You can do the tricep kickback with it. So there’s four exercises from this one handle. Then, not only is the four, but you could do five because you could do the same thing [raise the pulley for single-handed]. If I’m going heavy then I might [rest] but generally, if I do this arm like this, then I come over here and do this arm.”
Priest then used a bench for a cable skull crushers variation:
“The old skull crushers that we used to do with the barbells, you can use it with this,” said Priest. “Now I’m getting older this is probably a bit more easy on the elbows. When you’re younger your elbows can take a pounding but just be careful because if you are using free weights and you go back too deep you can hurt the tendons on your elbows.”
In addition to this guide, Priest recently revealed a triceps-focused exercise he learned from bodybuilding great and former seven-time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger. They incorporated a weighted push technique similar to a dip. Priest disclosed that he has seen lifters faceplant due to the intensity of the movement.
Proper tricep definition gives the arm a more full and three-dimensional appearance, something Lee Priest was celebrated for in the prime of his career. Regardless of the amount of weight or the handle used, Priest swears by this exercise for building a more complete physique.