3 Amazing Straight Arm Lat Pushdown Variants To Grow Bigger & Stronger Back

lat pushdown

The Straight Arm lat pushdown is a back strengthening exercise. It helps to build up core muscles of the back and also improve your posture. It is usually performed at a workstation. This workstation has adjustable resistance, mostly plates. This exercise is a great way to build upper body strength. Lat Pushdown is noticeably known to be developing the latissimus dorsi muscle.

Difference Between ‘Lat Pulldown’ and ‘Lat Pushdown’

The main difference between ‘Lat Pushdown’ and ‘Lat Pulldown'( it’s a more famous cousin) is that Straight Arm Lat Pushdown always requires you to “stand” in front of the bar while doing the sets. While in Lat Pulldown, you are supposed to be “sitting” in front of the cable machine while lowering the bar to your chest.
Another difference is very obvious. In Lat Pulldown, you ‘pull’ the bar from above your head to your chest. While in, Lat Pushdown you ‘push’ the bar from your chest to your thighs.

lat pushdown

Straight Arm Lat Pushdown Form & Technique

Starting position

1. Pin the pulley’s height on the highest level on the cable. Then pin your weight. Take the position in front of the cable. Make sure your core is tight and your feet are firmly situated.

2. Take an overhand grip on it with a distance just outside of your shoulders width. Stand away from the rack, so you can extend your straightened arms. It will give you more free-range.

Execution For Straight Arm Lat Pushdown

1. Start the exercise by using your back to squeeze the bar through an arch movement. The arms shall move from your front to the sides of your body while maintaining a straight posture.

2. Pull it down midway and then start pushing it downwards with straight arms. When the bar touches your upper thigh squeeze for the second time.

3. Reverse the same moment to the starting position while inhaling. Make sure to neither use momentum to bring down the bar nor while reversing the step.


• Keep a healthy goal initially, try to complete only 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps of this standing variation of lat exercise.

• After you feel comfortable without developing exertion, then only try increasing your sets

Mistakes While Doing Straight Arm Lat Pushdown:-

  • Don’t try to arch your back

While slightly leaning back will activate your back muscles, arching your back will lead to unnecessary strain on your spine. Try to avoid lower back tension and a potential back injury by keeping your back straight through each set.

  • Providing too much momentum

Using your upper body momentum to bring the bar down will only lead you to get exhausted faster with less gain on your back muscles. Remember to go slow and steady, Keep your spine straight and stationary, and then repeat.

  • Stressing your arms

This exercise’s main focus is your back. Instead of focusing on your arm muscles to pull and push the bar. Focus on squeezing and contracting your lats when said.

ALSO READ: 10 Ways For Lat PullDown At Home : Exercises, Benefits And Variants

Benefits of Straight Arm Lat Pushdown:-

The most popular benefit of Straight Arm lat push down exercise is that it targets latissimus dorsi muscles – a very important muscle group in your back. More commonly known as “Lats”, this muscle is situated below your armpit and runs across and down your back.

With this exercise, you can isolate your back muscles and focus on building them rather than exerting yourself with additional gains on your biceps or triceps. This exercise also helps to develop a good posture and to ease pulling and pushing movements. If you have strong lats it may help to significantly reduce any back pain you might have.

The Straight Arm lat pushdown exercise targets some of the major groups of the upper body that include:

  • Lattismus dorsi (upper back muscles on either side of the spine connecting the arms)
  • Trapezius muscles (muscles behind the neck controlling the neck’s movement as well as shoulders)
  • Forearms
  • Upper arm muscles
  • Muscles within the rotator cuff of the shoulders

Lat PushDown Machine:-

 The cable-operated machine allows movement with less tension on other parts of the body, unlike push-ups. It is comparatively easier to execute with the help of the machine and one is able to see quick results.

Variants of Straight Arm Lat Pushdown:-

Think that lat pushdown is just too basic? We’ll explore 3 variations that give your lats the necessary attention they deserve. Get back to basics by adding these push-up variations to your physique-building routine and learn how the grip can make difference.

Straight Arm Lat pushdown alternative

Those who have injured shoulders may find that pull-ups or lat pushdowns can cause pain and inflammation. There are other options to help avoid further injury. With the assistance of a cable column or functional trainer, you can be able to do a more joint-friendly variation by allowing your shoulder to move freely.

Shoulder-Friendly Variation – Half Kneeling Lat Pushdown

The half-kneeling one-arm lat pushdown is an exercise one can utilize quite frequently because it not only targets the lats but becomes an excellent core exercise too. By putting yourself within the half kneeling stance and pushing, you must brace your abs to prevent your back from arching and losing proper positioning in your shoulder joint.

Half kneeling split stance: in-line, front knee at 90 degrees, on the ball of the back foot

Grip with the same hand as the back leg

Start thumbs down and finish thumbs up as you push (this will offer you bonus shoulder external rotation to work on your rotator cuff)

Push from your armpit and stop when your lat is tight

Your elbow should be pointed straight down to the bottom

Hoping that this helps you improve your lat pushdown technique and choose the best possible variation to keep your shoulders healthy!

Single-Arm Lat Pushdown

If you have ever done a lat pushdown, you’ve probably used both hands at the same time. This traditional bilateral lat pushdown maximizes the quantity of weight you can lift and makes very good use of your time if you have to get in and out of the gym in a rush.

Yet it will be a mistake to discount the value of the single-arm lat pushdown. When you’re debating the feeling of the mind-muscle connection and maximizing the squeeze at the bottom of the lift, nothing can beat the single-arm lat pushdown.

If you’ve got the time, try adding a few sets of single-arm lat pushdowns toward the last minutes of your workout, utilizing a lighter weight and slowing down the tempo. With each repetition, hold at the bottom for a few seconds before slowly releasing back up at the top. You’ll take full advantage of the strength and muscle-building effects this variation has to offer.

Reverse Close-Grip Straight Arm Lat Pushdown

Finally, the last variation to incorporate in your improved workout routine is the reverse close-grip lat pushdown. This move is great for targeting your lower lats and can also help to activate your biceps by mimicking the action of a chin-up.

The closer you position your hands on the bar, the more activation you will get in your center-back, so keep that in mind as you perform the exercise. Take advantage of this variation for the strength-building benefit it has to offer. If you’re a fan of chin-ups, you’ll probably enjoy the addition of the reverse close-grip Straight Arm Lat Pushdown in your exercise lineup.

ALSO READ: Push Ups For Biceps – Technique, Benefits And 10 Variants


So above mentioned are some of the proper techniques and benefits of doing the Straight Arm Lat Pushdown exercise. If you need to strengthen your upper body muscles this is the perfect exercise for you! Believe you can and you will! Get crackin’


What muscles do lat Pushdown?

Muscles Worked: Back, Shoulders

Can Lat Pushdown do triceps?

The triceps are not involved in the back pushdown, but research has shown that the lat pushdown significantly works on the growth of the biceps and triceps.

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