Back Exercises

Instant Muscle: Back and Core

The one-arm lat pulldown shakes up your back workout and builds abs, too.

back and core exerciseYou’ve done conventional lat pulldowns to death, but your back is still not where you want it to be. The more advanced a lifter you become, the more tricks you need to employ. Adding a challenging balance component to a lat pulldown is a great way to mix up your back training while hitting your core hard. The one-arm lat pulldown makes you stabilize a load on one side of your body at a time, which hits the abs. Meanwhile, working the lats unilaterally helps to even out strength imbalances, and puts more of a stretch on the individual muscles, ultimately recruiting more muscle fibers.

How To Do It

Attach a single-grip handle to the pulley of a lat pulldown station and grasp it with one hand. Face away from the machine and kneel on the floor with your opposite leg forward. Keeping your torso upright, pull the handle down to your collarbone. Perform the one-arm lat pulldown in the middle of your back workout, or as an assistance exercise in your bench- or overhead-press workout. Aim for 3–5 sets of 8–15 reps with each arm.

Feel the pull. Make sure you feel a stretch on your lats at the top. If you don't, face the machine and set up further back.

Quick Tip

If you don’t have room to perform the pulldown kneeling directly under the machine, you can face the stack and set up a few feet behind it. You’ll get an even better stretch on your lats.

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