How To Do Kneeling Straight Arm Cable Pullover Properly

The kneeling straight arm cable pullover is one of the exercises that will come in handy if you are looking to build and define the muscles on your chest, back and core.

Unlike the traditional variation which is done while standing, this advanced version requires that you do it on your knees for increased intensity.

Required equipment: Cable pulley machine, foam roll

Steps:

  • Attach a rope handle to a cable machine and set the pulley at the highest setting.
  • Move a few steps away from the machine and place a foam roll (or any other available padding) on the floor for extra comfort on your knees.
  • Get on your knees and grab the rope handle with a neutral grip for a stronger contraction at the bottom of the rep.
  • Make sure your arms are straight and extended in front of your body.
  • Tighten your core.
  • Keeping your elbows slightly bent, pull your arms straight down and back, making sure you only use your lats.
  • Once the rope handle is in contact with the sides of your legs, squeeze your lats for a second or two and allow the rope to slowly return to your starting position.
  • Do as many reps as you desire.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE KNEELING STRAIGHT ARM CABLE PULLOVER WORK?

LATS

One the primary movers in this exercise is the latissimus dorsi muscle on your back. This is a large muscle that covers the middle and lower parts of your back.

It is responsible for extending your shoulders and handles most of the workload during this exercise.

CHEST

The main muscles that make up your chest are the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor, which work together to flex and adduct the humerus.

As you extend your arms to work your lats, you also give your pecs a bit of a workout, although to a lesser extent.

CORE

The kneeling straight arm cable pullover requires a lot of balance and stability to pull off.

To avoid falling over, you should tighten your core while pulling the rope handle downwards and allowing it to get back up.

When you tighten your core to help with your stability, you also get to strengthen and define the muscles in there.

BENEFITS OF THE KNEELING STRAIGHT ARM CABLE PULLOVER

INCREASED RANGE OF MOTION

The kneeling straight arm cable pullover works your lats through a greater range of motion due to the split nature of the rope handle.

IMPROVES UPPER BODY STRENGTH

This movement improves your overall upper body strength by working your lats and pecs through a full range of motion.

EASY TO MODIFY

You can switch up a few steps of this exercise to make it easier or more challenging, depending on your preference.

For instance if you find the kneeling variation too challenging, you can do it while standing to make it easier.

You can also lower the weight to reduce the workload.

Similarly, you can make it more difficult by attaching rope handles to two different cable machines facing each other, then pulling the handles downwards, inwards and backwards.

This variation will provide a stronger contraction, especially in the lower muscle fibers of the lats.

Or, you can do it on a half-kneeling position with one knee on a bosu ball. This will most certainly increase the difficulty and place a lot more emphasis on your core.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE KNEELING STRAIGHT ARM CABLE PULLOVER

BANDED LAT PULLDOWN

The banded lat pulldown is an easy, beginner-friendly way to work your lats if you are unable to do the kneeling straight arm cable pullover.

Here’s how to perform it:

  • Anchor the band to a point above your head.
  • Stand in front of it, with your hands inside it shoulder-width apart.
  • Pull the band down by pulling the elbows down and out. Keep pulling until your hands are at shoulder level.
  • Keep your back straight the entire time and your shoulders pulled back.

Make sure you move your arms in a slow and controlled manner to maximize the tension in your back muscles.

PULL UP

The pull up is more of a compound exercise, but it places a significant amount of tension in your back muscles.

To do it, you need a pull up bar. ‘

Then, follow these steps:

  • Grab the pull up bar with a pronated grip that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Tighten your core and pull your scapula back.
  • Pull your body up towards the bar by pulling both elbows to your side.
  • Get back down slowly and with control.

KNEELING STRAIGHT ARM CABLE PULLOVER MISTAKES TO AVOID

KEEPING YOUR CHEST HIGH

This is one of the most common mistakes people make while performing this exercise.

When you keep your chest high, you end up limiting the range of motion, which in turn severely reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.

To train your muscles completely, you have to use a full range of motion so you are able to train all the muscle fibers effectively.

USING YOUR ARMS

Since this exercise is designed to primarily work your lats, you should only use your back to pull the rope handle.

If you use your arms, you’ll end up working your arm muscles instead of the lats, which are the target muscles.

ROCKING OR LEANING IN

If you find yourself rocking or leaning in as you pull the weight down, it could be a sign that you are not strong enough for this exercise and you should probably wait until you gain enough strength to execute it.

But if you are not one to give up easy and you still insist on giving it a go, you can try lowering the weight so you can comfortably control it while maintaining the correct form.

This will not get you maximal results, but it will still work the target muscles to some extent.

TO SUM UP

There are many exercises that work the lats extensively, but the kneeling straight arm cable pullover is one of the best.

It works your muscles through a great range of motion, which activates your muscle fibers more than most other back exercises.

However, it is not a beginner move; if you have yet to reach the intermediate fitness level you may find it a bit too challenging for you.

For other people who are at the intermediate level or higher, this exercise can get you great results if you stay consistent with it and follow the steps in this article.