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What is a Tricep Rope?

D. Messmer
D. Messmer

A tricep rope, or tricep extension rope, is a piece of exercise equipment that an athlete can use for a variety of exercises, usually those involving the triceps. The tricep rope is an attachment that athletes add to various weight lifting machines that employ cables. Attaching the tricep rope to a cable machine provides the athlete with a grip that is very effective for maximizing the effectiveness of a triceps workout.

Construction of a tricep rope begins with a thick piece of rope. The rope usually is 24 to 28 inches (60 to 70 cm) long and is between 1.25 and 1.5 inches (3.1 to 3.8 centimeters) in diameter. Slight variations in the length of the rope will result in a slightly different angle and range of motion during the lift. While using a tricep rope, the athlete will be gripping the rope directly, so the diameter will affect this grip. Athletes with smaller hands should try to use ropes with smaller diameters.

A tricep rope is used to target the arm's triceps muscle group.
A tricep rope is used to target the arm's triceps muscle group.

Other than the rope itself, a tricep rope consists of very little. In the center of the piece of rope is a metal attachment that enables it to connect to a latch on most standard cable machines. At each end of the rope is a pommel that prevents the hands from slipping off the end of the rope during the lift. This pommel can be a rounded piece of plastic or, sometimes, is simply a large knot in the rope.

The benefit of a tricep rope when performing lifts is that the flexibility of the rope allows for a freer range of motion than most other cable machine attachments. While an athlete performs a lift, the central placement of the metal bracket causes the rope to bend in half. As the athlete pulls the rope toward his or her body, the arms will tend to separate so that the rope begins to straighten slightly. This shift in the angle results in a more constant resistance and allows the athlete to work the muscles at multiple angles during a single lift.

An athlete can best realize this benefit when performing exercises that require the athlete to pull weight toward his or her body, which is why the tricep rope is most common when performing triceps exercises. Some of the exercises that employ this attachment are the rope tricep press, rope push downs, cable rope overhead extensions, sit down rows and cable rope extensions. It also is possible to use the tricep rope for other types of exercises, such as arms curls, but this is less common.

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    • A tricep rope is used to target the arm's triceps muscle group.
      By: blueringmedia
      A tricep rope is used to target the arm's triceps muscle group.