Straight-Arm Pulldown

Muscles Involved

Lats, (latissimus dorsi), Posterior Deltoid, Teres Major, Rhomboids, Mid & Lower
Trapezius, and Triceps isometrically, to prevent elbows from bending, (flexion).


Train Lats without aid from the Biceps
Work Long Head of Triceps as a shoulder extensor
Works muscles of the abdominals, spine and core that provide and maintain stability and offset the common Hyper Kyphotic, (rounded upper back), found in most of the population
Improves or maintains good range of motion up to 180° in the shoulder complex
Great for posterior deltoid, which is usually the most ‘shallow’ of all the deltoid heads
A replacement for the Dumbbell Pullover, which does not provide a correct resistance profile, is harmful to the shoulder complex, and does not expand the rib cage.

How to perform

Using a cable system with a straight or cambered bar attached, assume a bent-over position with knees bent, hips flexed and back in neutral. Start with arms overhead relative to the body, (180° or as far is comfortable and attainable). Maintaining body position and keeping elbows locked, pull bar down toward thighs. Keep speed slow and constant and pause at each end of the range of motion. Compensating by flexing the trunk, (crunching), or flexing the elbows, (bending), during the motion is common and must be avoided. Start with less resistance and rehearse the motor pattern, (movement), until you become accustomed to it.


1) Stand more upright to emphasize more Posterior Deltoid, more bent-over for more Lat.
2) Use a split handle strap to increase range of motion past neutral, (beyond the legs).
3) Use a parallel cable system to align resistance more effectively or alternate arms.
4) Use Resistance Tubing for a change in resistance and to alter the profile.
5) Stand further or closer away from the stack to change the application of resistance throughout the motion.
6) Use both handles in a cable crossover system, (one in each hand), and stand in the middle and back four or five feet. This brings the Pectorals, (chest), into the movement.