Straight Arm Lat Pull Down Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Machine
  • Isolation
  • Pull
  • Beginner
  • None
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Lats Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Exercise Instructions

  1. The straight arm lat pull down is a solid isolation exercise for targeting the upper lats. This exercise is best used as a finishing exercise or as a superset/pre-exhaust set. You will need either a high pulley cable machine or a lat pull down machine for this exercise.
  2. Attach a straight bar to the high pulley and set the weight you want to use on the stack.
  3. Position yourself in front of the machine, around 2-3 feet away, facing the machine.
  4. Grip the straight bar with an overhand grip with your hands at around shoulder width apart.
  5. Keeping your body straight, and your arms straight, take the weight off the stack by moving your arms so they're parallel to the floor. This is the starting position.
  6. Keeping your arms straight, rotating at the shoulders only, pull the weight down as far as possible without letting the bar touch your body.
  7. Pause, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
  8. Repeat for desired reps.

Exercise Tips:

  1. This is an isolation exercise - weight is not important! What is important is isolating the lats, keeping your body perfectly still, keeping your arms straight and controlling the weight.
  2. You let the weight go up above shoulder height at the top of the movement.
  3. Remember to go slow and control the weight. If you're doing this exercise right, you'll feel it!

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