Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown – Cable Pullover

Build upper back strength with the Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown, also known as the Cable Pullover (or Standing Lat Pushdown using a Cable Machine). This isolationist exercise will effectively work your lats. In addition, it is easy to perform and all that is needed is a standard cable or pulldown machine that can be found at almost all gyms.

I recommend reading Best Upper Back Exercises before continuing so that you understand how to incorporate this into your back routine. If you’re ready to move on, just keep reading below.


  • 1. First, locate a cable machine also known as a pulldown machine. You will be doing this exercise standing up, so no other equipment is needed.
  • 2. To start, grab hold of the long bar located at the top of the pulldown machine. Utilize a pronated (palms down, knuckles up) grip. Separate your hands so they are about shoulder-width apart and then back up a couple feet away from the machine.
  • 3. Bend forward at the torso until you are at an approximately 30 degree angle. Your arms should be completely extended and slightly bent at your elbow. If you are having trouble keeping your arms completely extended, then back up more from the machine. If you can, now is a good time to squeeze your lats and prepare them for this isolated workout.
  • 4. Maintaining straight arms, pull down on the bar and bring it to the thigh level. Breathe out and be sure to flex your lats during this part of the exercise. Hold the lowest point of this exercise for a second or two before moving onto step 5.
  • 5. Once again maintaining straight arms, return to your starting position while breathing out.
  • 6. Finally, perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps each. However, if your quality begins to suffer or you need to rest, lower this amount. Form is especially important in this and other isolationist exercises.

Be sure to balance this upper back exercise, with the others found at Best Upper Back Exercises, so that your gains are balanced and your routine effective.

Mix It Up- Use a different kind of grip (adjust palm positioning or width of grip) and try using a rope attachment on the pulldown machine in order to get more movement and potentially a more active workout. You won’t know what you like, unless you try.


Video and Featured Image Scott Herman Fitness

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    Best Upper Back Exercises - Best Barbells December 25, 2016 at 10:49 am

    […] on our list of upper back exercises is the Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown or Cable Pullover. It’s a wonderful exercise that will work the upper back effectively while at the same time […]

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