Straight Arm Pulldown

Form Friday


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercise: Straight Arm Pulldown

Muscle Groups: Latissimus Dorsi, Abs, Upper Back

Importance: This movement is a great but underutilized exercise for building strength and size of the lats; which is important to help improve pull-up strength and efficiency.

Proper Form:

  1. Start by attaching a wide bar to a cable pulley machine that is adjusted to the highest setting
  2. Grab the bar with an overhand grip and your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart
  3. Step two to three feet from the pulley machine
  4. With your feet about shoulder width distance apart, hinge your torso forward at the waist, about 30 degrees
  5. With your arms fully extended in front of you and a very slight bend at the elbow, tighten your core and lats
  6. From that position, begin to pull the bar down while keeping your arms straight to contract your lats
  7. Pull the bar down until your hands get to an even plane with your thighs
  8. Keeping your core and lats tight, as well as your arms straight, slowly return to the start position following the same path of the bar


  • Keep your core and lats tight throughout the entire movement
  • Control the movement. Do not rush it!
  • Do not relax at the top position until the end of your set, keep your shoulders drawn back and down

Sample Workout, Complete 5 rounds:

  •     Straight Arm Pulldowns x10
  •     Push-ups x15
  •     Body Weight Squats x20
  •     Sit-ups x25
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