Straight Arm Lat Pull Down Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Cable
  • Compound
  • Pull (Bilateral)
  • Beginner
  • Abs, Biceps, Shoulders, Upper Back
Lats Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Exercise Instructions

  1. Attach a wide grip handle to a cable stack and assume a standing position.
  2. Grasp the handle with a pronated grip (double overhand) at roughly shoulder width and lean forward slightly by hinging at the hips.
  3. Keep the elbow slightly flexed and initiate the movement by depressing the shoulder blades and extending the shoulders.
  4. Pull the bar to your thigh until the lats are fully contracted and then slowly lower under control.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Exercise Tips

  1. Keep some tone through your abdominals as you pull the bar into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through the spine.
  2. If you feel your biceps being overused and your back remaining under active, consider utilizing a false grip (i.e. don’t wrap the thumb around the dumbbell).
  3. Don’t allow the head to jut forward as you pull.
  4. Similarly, ensure the shoulder blade moves on the rib cage. Don’t lock the shoulder blade down and just move through the glenohumeral joint.
  5. If you can’t seem to feel your lats engaging, try to “screw your shoulders” into their sockets by pointing your elbows behind your body. Another cue that works exceptionally well is to “squeeze oranges in your armpits”.

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8 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 02/27/2017 - 17:39

Any alternate exercise if you don't have access do that machine?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 02/28/2017 - 08:59

Hi Isaac,

Dumbbell Pullovers mimic the same movement pattern.

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Posted Tue, 01/20/2015 - 19:54

when I do this exercise and a couple other back exercises my back BURNS just on the left side right above my lats by my scapula. Is there something I'm doing wrong?

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Posted Tue, 04/23/2013 - 09:48

It feels more like triceps. Almost no feeling on lats. I have tried different hand width and all but no success. Any advice?

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Posted Tue, 06/25/2013 - 10:25

Try keeping your elbows nearly straight. If you are bending at the elbow it will work your triceps way more than the lats.

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Posted Fri, 11/22/2013 - 14:26

I suspect you keep your shoulder up during the exercise. You need to keep the shoulder down to get the contraction of the lat. So when you set up at starting point (90 degree), start pressing shoulder down while maintain your chest high before pulling the cable down.

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Posted Mon, 09/05/2016 - 19:34

Thank you, after using this advice, I immediately felt it working my lats like crazy!

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Posted Sun, 04/14/2013 - 20:48