How To Do Straight Arm Pushdown Properly

The straight arm pushdown is beneficial for people who have difficulties feeling the strain on their backs when performing conventional pulldowns.

It’s a version of the basic lat pulldown exercise that’s excellent because it increases strength in the biceps brachii. Subsequently, it is an excellent workout for developing your lats and back.

This workout provides better placement of the shoulders and a somewhat broader range of motion. You are able to activate your muscles more effectively.

Here is how you do it.

  • Stand far enough away from the high pulley machine and grasp each end of the rope on each hand.
  • The cable station is right in front of you.
  • Bring your shoulders back together as if you were stuffing them into a pair of pants’ back pockets.
  • Draw your ribs in, tuck your tailbone down, and tighten your abdominal muscles in the third step.
  • It’s vital that your torso feels like one solid column.
  • Keep your body at an angle of 45 degrees.
  • Bend your hips backward.
  • Take a few steps back from the station so that your arms extend fully overhead and the pulley wire tightens.
  • Maintain a shoulder-width apart distance as you do all this.
  • Take a deep breath in and exhale slowly as you lower your arms to your sides in an arcing motion.
  • Lockout the elbows.
  • Slowly bring your arms back to their starting position.

WHAT MUSCLES DO STRAIGHT ARM PUSHDOWN WORK?

The straight arm pushdown works the back and upper body muscles as follows.

LATS

The pushdown mainly works the latissimus dorsi muscles. They keep the spine in proper form during the workout. Lats also assist in the normal movement of the shoulders and arms.

POSTERIOR DELTOIDS

It is necessary to stretch the posterior deltoid for it to accomplish its primary functions of rotation externally, abducting horizontally and extending.

TERES MAJOR

Teres major works with the latissimus dorsi to help drag the raised upper arm down and backwards, otherwise known as medial rotation.

TRICEPS

Triceps brachii is responsible for extending the forearm at the joint of the elbow.

RHOMBOIDS

Rhomboids lets you swing the shoulder blades inward toward the spine when performing the straight arm pushdown.

STRAIGHT ARM PUSHDOWN BENEFITS

When performing this exercise, the struggle you go through is enough to give you the following benefits.

IMPROVED MIND-MUSCLE LINK

You can now better connect your mind and body with the straight arm pushdown.

BETTER THAN TRADITIONAL PULLDOWNS

This is the best workout for lifters who have difficulty feeling their lats working during regular pulldowns. The broader range of motion properly activates the shoulder muscles.

IMPROVES SPINE STABILITY

Working the lats keeps your spine sturdy. This not only improves posture and balance but also alleviates back pain.

MORE MUSCLE ACTIVATION

The pushdown pulley is excellent because the rope activates more muscles in the upper body.

ALTERNATIVES TO STRAIGHT ARM PUSHDOWN

You can always try the following variations whenever you feel like you are plateauing with the straight arm pushdown.

HIGH ROW MACHINE

The high row machine primarily works the lats, biceps, trapezius, teres major and minor and rhomboids. It is a fantastic alternative of the straight arm pushdown.

How to do it:

  • Adjust the seat.
  • Let the feet stay on the ground, and your thighs parallel to the ground as you sit down.
  • Grab the handles with an overhand hold as you stand up.
  • Sit down, insert your legs beneath the thigh pads, and tighten your body to the chest pad with one hand.
  • Retract your scapula and pull your shoulders back.
  • Keep your elbows tucked in and your shoulders back.
  • Pull the handles back until they’re at your chest height. Give the handles a slight squeeze, and then slowly release them.
  • Either keep your scapula retracted and complete another rep after the arms are fully extended, or allow them to pull your shoulders forward.

SINGLE ARM DUMBBELL ROW

Any dumbbell workout would benefit from the addition of the one-arm dumbbell row. With this exercise, you’ll strengthen your core while also working on your back and shoulders.

How to do it:

  • Bend your left knee and set your left hand on a bench while holding a dumbbell in your right hand.
  • You should have your hands directly under your shoulders, and your knees should be directly underneath your hips.
  • Stabilize your spine and stiffen your body by gently contracting your abdominal/core muscles.
  • A flat back and a straight neck are essential for good posture.
  • Keep your shoulders down and back throughout the workout by depressing and retracting your scapulae.
  • Hold the dumbbell in your right hand and extend your right arm towards the floor.
  • Keeping your body and shoulder in the same position.
  • Slowly raise the weight with a bent elbow and a retracted upper arm as you exhale.
  • Keep the dumbbell close to your body and pull it up until you can’t lift any more without rotating your torso.
  • Don’t rotate your body or shift your spine throughout the lift.
  • Take a deep breath in and slowly drop the dumbbell back to the beginning position while keeping your shoulders retracted.

If you can, perform this exercise in front of a mirror to keep an eye on your back and shoulders and your trunk’s rotation.

SINGLE ARM LAT PULLDOWN

It targets the lats.

How to do it:

  • Place your feet on an adjustable cable gadget.
  • Maintain a straight body and extended arm while gripping the handle.
  • Pull the handle to your upper chest by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Inhale and pause.
  • Exhaling, release the handle and repeat the process.

STRAIGHT ARM PUSHDOWN MISTAKES TO AVOID

Keep the following in mind when performing the straight arm pushdown to avoid making mistakes.

NOT STRAIGHTENING YOUR ARM

Failing to straighten your arms means you are bending them which is wrong. Your lats end up being idle because the movement doesn’t target them.

CONTRACTED ELBOWS

Any bending of the elbows will engage the triceps and minimise the involvement of the lats.

CONCLUSION

The straight arm pushdown is a beautiful workout for working your lats in a broader range of motion. Performing it regularly will build muscle mass and strength in your upper body.