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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The best way to Do the Single-Arm Lat Pulldown for Spectacular Again Growth

You’ve most likely heard that the easiest way to construct your again is with rows, pull-ups, deadlifts, and so forth. And, for probably the most half, that’s sound recommendation: Massive and heavy compound workout routines are phenomenal for each gaining muscle and growing power.

Nonetheless, relying solely on these instruments can be a bit like making an attempt to sculpt a statue with only a sledgehammer. Working with a extra various toolset within the weight room will sharpen your outcomes. 

A muscular person doing a single arm lat pulldown.
Credit score: Solinda Hong / Youtube

The only-arm lat pulldown could be the perfect instrument in your toolbox to sculpt your lats. In your subsequent again day, when you’ve completed your heavy rows, head to the cable machine and see for your self. 

The best way to Do the Single-Arm Lat Pulldown

The only-arm lat pulldown requires a bit extra technical know-how than another isolation workout routines. Between the gear you utilize and your distinctive anatomy, you may discover that it takes some experimenting to study how one can finest goal your lats. 

To get began, you’ll want entry to a typical lat pulldown station. With it, be sure to have a conventional one-handed deal with attachment to seize onto. 

Step 1 — Discover Your Angle

Setting up to do the single arm lat pulldown.
Credit score: Solinda Hong / Youtube

Once you arrange for the single-arm lat pulldown, you may have a wide range of stances to select from, largely depending on the gear at your disposal. When you’ve got entry to a lat pulldown machine, you can begin in a seated place, or seated sideways, working your arm farthest from the pulley system. 

For those who decide to work on a twin stack cable cross, you may take into account organising in a kneeling or lunging place. The underside line is you’re searching for the setup that means that you can really feel probably the most stress in your lat from the purpose of most size to the purpose of most contraction.

Coach’s Tip: Permit the load to stretch your lat to its absolutely lengthened place whenever you arrange to be able to enhance your vary of movement and enhance total lat activation.

Step 2 — Drive Your Elbow Down

A person doing the single arm lat pulldown.
Credit score: Solinda Hong / Youtube

Brace your core and set your scapula, then drive straight downward, main by dropping your shoulder away out of your ear after which following by means of by pulling your elbow downward till your higher arm is flush along with your torso.

Coach’s Tip: Since your lats are accountable for lateral spinal flexion, take into account ending every repetition by “crunching in” in your lat for a good higher contraction. 

Step 3 — Management the Eccentric

Reversing the movement in the single arm lat pulldown.
Credit score: Solinda Hong / Youtube

When you attain the top of the vary of movement, pause for a beat after which reverse the motion. Keep steady stress with the cable as you let your elbow rise. On the prime, enable the cable to tug your shoulder upward in direction of your ear.

Coach’s Tip: Maintain your ribs down and your chest as much as hold your scapula of their correct vary of movement.

Single-Arm Lat Pulldown Units and Reps

Cable workout routines hardly ever make for good one-rep max lifts, however that doesn’t imply you may’t use the single-arm lat pulldown for a wide range of functions. Listed below are a few of the methods that you would be able to incorporate the single-arm lat pulldown into your routine that will help you attain your objectives.

  • For Muscle Mass: Carry out 3 units of 8 to 12 reps, specializing in slowing down the eccentric portion of the train to maximise time beneath stress.
  • For Power: Carry out 4 units of 6 to eight gradual and managed reps.
  • For Endurance: Carry out 4 units of 15 to twenty reps with restricted relaxation. 

Widespread Single-Arm Lat Pulldown Errors

The only-arm lat pulldown cuts down on the variables of the two-handed pulldown variation considerably. However there are nonetheless a couple of errors that might hold you from using the raise for all it’s price. Listed below are a couple of to be careful for.

Dumping Your Shoulders Ahead

When you’ve reached the top of the vary of movement, your elbow has nowhere to go however backwards. In consequence, your shoulder may begin to transfer ahead. This compensation might trigger undue stress or discomfort. Whereas occasional “shoulder dumping” is probably not dangerous, it may be each a trigger and symptom of scapular dyskinesis. (1

[Read More: The Best Barbells for All-Around Training, Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Deadlifts, and More]

For those who can’t correctly pull by main along with your elbows and tucking your higher arm towards your torso, your lats could also be too weak relative to different muscular tissues in your higher again. Drop the weights down and focus in your method earlier than constructing again up.

Going Too Heavy

Test your ego on the door whenever you begin working with cables. Not like free weights, cables present steady stress throughout a whole vary of movement for a given raise, making cable workout routines just like the single-arm lat pulldown preferrred for high-repetition hypertrophy work. 

Going too heavy with the single-arm lat pulldown may tire you out and defeat the aim of the motion. You’re solely utilizing half of your again, in spite of everything, so don’t attempt to flip your set right into a full-body train.

Torso Twisting

The only-arm lat pulldown doesn’t must be a full-body motion. Whereas it’s completely frequent to be a bit stronger on one aspect of your physique, you shouldn’t be contorting your self to squeeze out repetitions in your non-dominant aspect.

Be aware of any errant torso motion in the course of the train. If you end up leaning into every repetition to get your arm the place it must be, strive contracting your abs tougher to stabilize your backbone. 

Single-Arm Lat Pulldown Variations

As soon as your approach round a pulley station, you may get a stable exercise simply by altering your setup or by altering your cable attachment. Listed below are some variations on the single-arm lat pulldown that you would be able to carry out with cables to get a well-rounded again exercise. 

Lat Pulldown

You need to have some degree of familiarity with the usual two-armed lat pulldown earlier than you get began with an train just like the single-arm pulldown. A back-building staple, the lat pulldown helps you to work with considerably heavier hundreds than you may with the single-arm lat pulldown. In consequence, the lat pulldown might be a greater technique of making use of progressive overload, which performs an vital half in muscular progress and growth. (2)

To carry out the lat pulldown, sit on the lat pulldown station and seize a maintain of the bent lat bar. Then sit again barely to extend the angle of your trunk, depress your lats, and pull.

Impartial-Grip Lat Pulldown

For these brief on time, take into account including the neutral-grip lat pulldown to your routine. The neutral-grip lat pulldown targets your lats, your rhomboids, your traps, and even your posterior deltoids, making it an amazing all-around again builder. 

The neutral-grip pulldown can be fairly intuitive. So long as you may have a triangle bar attachment for the station and may hold your elbows tucked tightly to your sides as you pull, you’re in enterprise. 

Single-Arm Straight-Arm Pulldown

When you’ve got hassle partaking your lats throughout standard pulldown workout routines, take a flip performing the single-arm straight-arm pulldown. Identical to the single-arm lat pulldown, you carry out the single-arm straight-arm pulldown unilaterally. 

Begin in both a standing or kneeling place with a slight bend in your torso, holding onto the cable overhead. Then, maintaining your arm completely straight, pull straight ahead, taking your arm by means of a large arc. This train depends fully on shoulder extension — one in every of your lats’ principal capabilities — and removes the help normally supplied by your biceps. 

Single-Arm Lat Pulldown Alternate options

Your lats are the largest muscle group in your higher physique. Even in case you love the single-arm lat pulldown, completely utilizing it to coach your lats can be reckless when you may have these options to think about.


If you wish to construct total muscle endurance and power, don’t draw back from body weight coaching. The pull-up targets your again, arms, and core muscular tissues all whereas constructing an unbelievable quantity of grip power.

If normal pull-ups are a bit past your talent degree, you may lower total load in the course of the train with help, both with the assistance of a resistance band, or by performing machine-assisted pull-ups. 

Dumbbell Pullover

On the lookout for a technique to goal your again and chest on the identical time? Take a stab on the dumbbell pullover. The dumbbell pullover is a relatively distinctive free-weight isolation train that targets each your lats and your pecs. 

You possibly can carry out the dumbbell pullover by mendacity flat on a bench, holding a dumbbell at arm’s size above your head with each arms. Then, slowly drift your arms again behind your head. Relatively than specializing in a selected finish vary of movement, attempt to stretch your lats whereas maintaining them beneath stress. You’ll discover that this train mimics the identical vary of movement because the straight-arm pulldown. 

Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

For a unilateral train that allows you to raise a bit extra weight than the single-arm lat pulldown, you may incorporate the single-arm dumbbell row. Your lats are the first mover whereas performing the dumbbell row, however you too can successfully goal your decrease traps and rhomboids with this raise.

To get began with the single-arm-dumbbell row, kneel on a bench. Preserving your again flat, pull your elbow in in direction of your torso, contracting the muscular tissues in your again. Consider the dumbbell row because the free-weight various to the single-arm lat pulldown.

Muscle tissues Labored by the Single-Arm Lat Pulldown

As with every compound pulling motion, the single-arm lat pulldown primarily targets your latissimus dorsi. However as with all workout routines, you inevitably find yourself utilizing different muscle teams to stabilize your joints. Questioning what your physique is definitely doing whenever you carry out the single-arm lat pulldown? Right here’s the way it all breaks down. 

Latissimus Dorsi

Your lats are the largest muscular tissues in your higher physique. Your lats’ main operate is scapular movement, creating motion about your shoulder like inside rotation, adduction and extension of the arm. They’re additionally concerned in lateral spinal flexion, making the single-arm lat pulldown a should for athletes who regularly interact in lateral actions like soccer or rugby gamers.

Scapular Stabilizers

Your rhomboids, teres main, and different small stabilizers work collectively to give you scapular mobility. The power to protract and retract your scapula is essential to good posture and wholesome shoulders, and, notably vital for powerlifters, scapular retraction means that you can pack down your shoulders on the bench press. 


Your biceps brachii stabilizes your elbow joint throughout flexion. Nonetheless, your biceps are additionally a wrist supinator — it turns your wrist upward (suppose all method of dumbbell curl). In the course of the straight-arm pulldown, your biceps (and brachialis, a deeper muscle in your higher arm that additionally flexes your elbow) activate that will help you end every repetition.

Advantages of the Single-Arm Lat Pulldown

Cable workout routines have lengthy been touted as a low-impact various to free weights that allow you to keep steady stress on a muscle throughout the period of an train. Right here’s how the single-arm lat pulldown exemplifies the perfect of what cables have to supply.

Enhance Scapular Mechanics

When you’ve got nagging shoulder mobility or operate points, you are able to do banded rotator cuff workout routines till the cows come house they usually might not accomplish a lot. In the course of the two-handed lat pulldown, incongruent mobility or stability is made manifest in leaning again excessively, dumping your shoulders ahead, or shrugging on the prime of every rep.

[Read More: The 25 Best Back Exercises for Strength and Muscle Gain]

The only-arm lat pulldown provides a mechanically advantageous various, letting you’re employed in a extra pure motion sample to retract your scapula and contract your lat muscular tissues with out reinforcing defective motion patterns. 

Isolate Your Lats

From rows, to pull-ups, to lat pulldowns, most workout routines that focus on your lats are heavy compound workout routines. Whereas these workout routines play an vital function in creating huge and highly effective again muscular tissues, all of them work a variety of muscular tissues spanning your arms, shoulders, and core. 

Whereas it’s a compound train (because it includes movement at a couple of joint), the single-arm lat pulldown helps you to goal your lats virtually completely, which ought to present higher ranges of hypertrophy.

Tackle Muscular Imbalances

As a unilateral train, performing the single-arm lat pulldown makes you extra conscious of potential variations in power and mobility from one aspect of your physique to a different. Fortunately, the single-arm lat pulldown offers a right away answer to the issue: By slowing down every rep and dialing in your method, you may resolve imbalances as you develop into conscious of them.

Who Ought to Do the Single-Arm Lat Pulldown

As a rule, train programming is a matter of choice. Even in case you don’t match into one of many following teams, the single-arm lat pulldown can nonetheless be an effective way to construct your lats. However, in case you do match into one in every of these classes, incorporating the single-arm lat pulldown into your routine might be a game-changer that helps you degree up within the health club.


Nobody moving into the health club for the primary time does so with a really clear slate: Whether or not or not you understand it, you’re continuously creating and refining motion patterns all through on a regular basis exercise. 

You carry these motion habits with you into the health club, too, for higher or worse. Your dominant arm, for instance, might steal the present throughout barbell-based workout routines to your detriment. The only-arm lat pulldown offers you a chance to deal with imbalances and enhance your mobility, all whereas constructing the most important muscular tissues in your higher physique.


Anybody who’s seeking to construct a extra aesthetic physique is aware of simply how vital a well-developed again is. Your lats make your shoulders look broader and your waist thinner.

[Read More: What You Need to Know About How to Build Muscle]

Most significantly, the single-arm lat pulldown ought to attraction to bodybuilders as a result of it permits for failure-adjacent coaching with out a lot added danger. After you end up along with your rows, and your pull-ups, and your lat pulldowns (and so forth), use the single-arm lat pulldown to complete your again exercise on a excessive observe, torching your lats and getting an amazing pump.


As any Olympic lifter will attest, the snatch and the clear & jerk require a reasonably critical degree of scapular and thoracic mobility. Since weightlifting consists fully of bilateral (two-limbed) actions, together with the single-arm lat pulldown in your exercise routine will be useful for addressing potential imbalances in your posterior chain power. An even bigger, stronger again by no means hurts a weightlifter’s efficiency, both. 

Get Down With the Pulldown

Isolation workout routines just like the single-arm lat pulldown allow you to zone in in your lats and construct them past what you may be capable to obtain with heavy free-weight coaching alone. That’s all that it’s meant to do, however the train will get bonus factors for novelty as properly. 

Subsequent time you need to isolate your lats, hold it easy: Skip the ideas and tips, head to the cable machine, and do the single-arm lat pulldown as an alternative.


For those who nonetheless have any questions concerning the single-arm lat pulldown, strive consulting these frequently-asked questions.

Can I lean again whereas performing the single-arm lat pulldown?

Leaning again excessively when you carry out the single-arm lat pulldown is a sign that you simply’re most likely lifting a weight that’s too heavy so that you can use. In consequence, you might be partaking different again muscular tissues, and even your biceps to be able to management the load.

What cable machine ought to I exploit to do the single-arm lat pulldown?

Ideally you must use a lat pulldown machine to carry out the single-arm lat pulldown, however any variety of cable machines can work, so long as you’re capable of get the cable far sufficient overhead to stretch your lat on the prime of every repetition.


  1. Borloz S, Graf V, Gard S, Ziltener JL. Dyskinésie de l’omoplate [Scapular dyskinesis]. Rev Med Suisse. 2012 Dec 19;8(367):2422-8. French. PMID: 23346745.
  2. Krzysztofik M, Wilk M, Wojdała G, Gołaś A. Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Evaluation of Superior Resistance Coaching Methods and Strategies. Int J Environ Res Public Well being. 2019 Dec 4;16(24):4897. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16244897. PMID: 31817252; PMCID: PMC6950543.

Featured Picture: sakkmesterke / Shutterstock

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