The straight arm rope pulldown is a modified version of the lat pulldown. It’s performed with elbows maintained in a constant position. This results in a lower amount of engagement from the biceps. Straight arm pulldowns can be performed with either a rope or a bar attached to a cable machine. I’ll describe how to perform this exercise in more detail later on in this post and explain why it may be an appropriate choice for you too!
In a nutshell the straight arm pulldown is performed with both hands whilst keeping your elbows relatively straight for the duration of the movement. It’s essentially just like performing a chin up but using the cable machine instead! The straight arm rope pulldown, as pictured above, can be done by attaching either end to each hand and pulling down on one side only (in this example I’ve attached it to my left). If you don’t have access to such equipment or if this exercise isn’t an appropriate choice for you then we recommend trying out some other variations which are detailed below in more detail.
The straight arm barbell row may also prove an effective option: attach one end of a straight bar (or EZ curl bar) to a low pulley and row the bar towards your chest, ensuring that your elbows stay straight. As with all exercises it’s important to focus on using good form; keep your back straight and pull the weight towards you using your shoulder blades rather than using momentum from swinging your body!
So, there you have it – three great straight arm pulldown variations for you to try out! We hope you enjoy them! Remember that if any of these exercises are too difficult or prove uncomfortable then simply swap them for an alternative variation. And as always, consult a health professional before starting any new exercise programmer.
The straight arm pulldown is best completed while standing, while the lat pulldown is optimal done sitting down. As a result, to maintain your body in a stable posture, you must engage your abdominal muscles more with the former variation. Stability is preserved in the lat pulldown by counterbalancing the weight’s upwards pressure with your arms and back muscles’ downwards pressure.
The straight arm pulldown entails keeping your elbows still throughout the movement, with no bicep activity as a result. The weight is lifted by pushing the force of the weight toward your lower body with a relatively straight arm. The straight arm pulldown, on the other hand, has a completely different feel to it: rather than bending your elbows and contracting your lats and biceps, you simply bring the weight closer to your upper body. Another distinction worth noting is that the weight is brought towards your upper body in this movement.