Cable Pull Downs

By: David Burnett, CSCS

Muscle Groups: Back (latissimus dorsi, lower and middle trapezius, the rhomboids and the serratus anterior) It also trains the biceps, forearms, and grip strength.

Importance: The cable pulldown is a great exercise for shoulder health and function. The lats are also the largest muscles in the upper body, and contribute to the V silhouette seen in elite swimmers.

Proper Form:

  1. Facing the cable machine, sit on the bench with spine erect and feet flat on the floor.

  2. Using a wide grip lat bar, place your hands towards the outside of the attachment. Palms should face down.

  3. Once gripped, begin the movement by depressing your shoulder blades. (see photo/video)

  4. Pull the bar down until it reaches the top of your chest.


  • Practice depressing the shoulder blades before the full pulldown for a warm-up set.

  • At the bottom of the movement, imagine bringing the collarbone to the bar. This will help facilitate proper thoracic spine extension, and better posture through the movement.

Sample Workout:

  1. AMRAP Pull Ups

  2. 12-15 Cable Lat Pull Downs

Repeat 4 times