Cable Machine Exercises: Straight Arm Pull Down

A cable machine is a great piece of exercise equipment to use at the gym or to purchase at home. This machine can be incorporated into a wide variety of different exercises. Additionally, the smooth flow of the machine means that you’re less likely to put stress on the various muscles and joints in your body, thereby reducing your overall potential for injury.

One of the more common exercises to do wtih a cable machine is the straight arm pull down. This exercise is beneficial because it requires only the cable machine and no additional equipment. It helps to build up all of the arm muscles as well as the core and the shoulders, making it a widely beneficial exercise.

Exercise Basics

To prepare for this exercise, attach the two-hand grip to the cable if it isn’t already set. Set the weight on the cable machine as appropriate for your abilities and experience level. Stand about two feet away from the machine, facing it. Place one foot slightly in front of the other and bend down slightly from the hip. Your head should be oriented slightly downward, with your gaze at the base of the machine. Keep your elbows bent to about 30 degrees so that they’re not quite fully extended, and rotate your arms upward so that your biceps and high shoulders are along the side of your head. Grasp the cable machine grip with both hands.

To execute the exercise itself, pull down evenly with both arms. Keep your elbows in a fixed position and rotate your arms down until they reach your sides. Slowly let your arms come back up in an even pattern until the cable machine grip has reset. This constitutes a single repetition of this exercise.

Safety and Injury Prevention

The risk of injury due to weights dropping and other similar factors in this exercise is very slim. The cable machine is one of the safest machines that you can use, which makes this particular exercise a great choice for anyone who is relatively new to weight lifting in general. Still, it’s important that you exercise with good practices in order to prevent injury. Be sure to stretch before and after you work as well. Breathe deeply and exhale as you pull the weight down. Do not lock your elbows or your knees.


As you begin to get more comfortable with the exercise, you can increase the weight gradually. Adust how far apart your legs are for an additional leg stretch and workout. If you are feeling totally comfortable with the straight arm pull down, consider accomplishing the same exercise but turning your body around before you begin so that you’re facing away from the machine. This variation will work a complimentary set of muscles in your body, thereby giving you a great combination of different workout benefits as well.


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