If you’re looking for an easy piece of gym equipment to use, cable machines are a great place to start. The majority of exercises with cables provide a smooth, fluid form and are therefore ideal for those looking for a new workout that fosters many different benefits.
Lat exercises, which are short for latissimus dorsi, are a great way to strengthen your back. These muscles extend from your shoulder to your hip and help to support the shoulder blade, arm, and spine. As a result, a strong set of lats will help improve your posture, prevent back pain, and can even help you lift heavier weights during other exercises.
Cable lat exercises are just a couple of the many ways to work on your latissimus dorsi muscle group. This muscle group is located in your upper back and it’s responsible for bringing your arms together. Cable Exercises and machines are some of the most effective ways to tone this muscular area.
Here are 5 cable lat exercises you should add to your workout routine;
1. Straight Arm Pulldown with Bar
The straight arm pulldown exercise is a compound exercise that works for your major muscle groups. The straight arm pulldown exercise is also considered a back and arms exercise.
The Straight Arm pulldown with a bar requires you to use the bar weight attached to a weight stack, which provides resistance and exercises your back and arms.
Here is how you do straight arm pulldown:
- Start by holding the bar with an overhand grip, your hands should be shoulder-width apart.
- Lean forward slightly and keep your back straight.
- Bend your elbows and pull the bar down to your thighs.
- Pause for a moment and then slowly return to the starting position.
This exercise is a total-body exercise that stimulates the muscles of your back, arms, and shoulders. In addition to building strength, this particular movement helps you build muscle size, and because your biceps are engaged at the top of this movement, your forearms will get stronger as well.
2. Straight Arm Pulldown with Rope
The straight arm pull-down exercise is a great exercise for building up your latissimus dorsi and overall chest. This exercise also strengthens the shoulder joint, and traps and helps you build up endurance.
It’s fantastic for people who want to build bigger arms, get more definition in their arms and chests, and feel more confident because they can lift heavy weights.
To do this exercise:
- Start by attaching a rope to a cable stack at about shoulder height.
- Grasp the rope with a neutral grip, and lean forward slightly at the hips.
- Keep your elbow slightly flexed, and begin the movement by depressing your shoulder blades and extending your shoulders.
- Pull the rope toward your thigh until your latissimus dorsi muscles are fully contracted.
- Slowly lower the rope under control, and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
This exercise is seemingly simple in nature but can prove to be extremely useful in the long run. The straight arm pulldown with rope is a very effective exercise that works out both the chest region as well as the latissmus dorsi or commonly known as your “back muscles”.
For those who want to build their arms and/or chest then this will be a great starting point. It’s also a good endurance exercise as well.
3. Twisting Cable High Row
Twisting Cable High Row is a great exercise for strengthening the back muscles. Because of the high latissimus dorsi involvement, this exercise can be beneficial to injury rehabilitation and even maintaining strength levels in case of past injuries.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Start by attaching a single grip handle to the highest notch on the cable pulley.
- Then, take hold of the handle with your left hand and position your right foot in front, with the left foot behind.
- Next, pull the handle past your left side and twist to the left, while contracting your lats. Exhale as you do this.
- Finally, straighten your left arm back to the starting position until it is fully extended. Inhale as you do this.
- Complete the desired number of repetitions, and then repeat the exercise with your right arm. This time, however, place your left foot in front and your right foot behind.
The twisting cable row is a great way to increase the intensity of your back exercises. It allows you to do more repetitions with more weight because it increases the involvement of one of the muscle’s prime movers, the latissimus dorsi.
It also taxes the muscles of your torso in a unique way that can’t be achieved by other types of exercises. So if you’re looking for something different to shock your body into growth mode then give this exercise a try.
4. Single Arm Cable Low Row
The Single Arm Cable Low Row is a great exercise for the lower part of your back. With one arm, you can perform a full range of motion for a complete workout.
It works on the entire back region which includes the muscles of your lower back, middle back, lats, and rhomboids (shoulders). If done properly this exercise can also work your triceps.
To do this exercise:
- Attach a D-handle to a low pulley and stand facing the weight stack.
- Grasp the handle with your right hand and place your left hand on your hip.
- Bend your hips and knees slightly and lean forward from the waist.
- Keeping your back straight, pull the handle to the side of your right hip.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
- Perform the desired number of repetitions and then repeat with your left arm.
If you want this exercise to be as effective as possible then you need to make sure that your form is correct. You also have to make sure that you have enough weight. You should be using a weight that allows you to do eight repetitions and no more than twelve.
5. Kneeling Cable Lat Pulldown
The kneeling cable lat pulldown is one of the best exercises for back and biceps development. It’s a full-body movement that will keep your back, shoulders, and biceps engaged during the entire exercise. By doing this movement you get a greater range of motion compared to other lat pulldown variations like the standing cable shoulder press.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Start by attaching a straight bar to a high pulley.
- Kneel down on the floor in front of the pulley machine.
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip, and keep your back straight.
- Pull the bar down to your chest, and then slowly return to the starting position.
This exercise is a great choice if you’re looking to work your back without excessive forward neck flexion. This exercise can also be helpful after spine and/or shoulder injuries, as it allows the athlete to train through the full range of motion and improve relative strength without excess load on the spine and joints.
Function Of the Lat Muscles
There are a number of different muscles in the back that work together to produce movement. The latissimus dorsi, or “lat” muscles, are some of the largest and strongest muscles in the upper body. They attach from the lower spine all the way up to the inside of the armpit area. These large flat triangular shaped muscles are important for several key functions:
1. Arm Flexion – these muscles allow you to lift your arms overhead or bring them across your chest (as in doing a pull-up).
2. Spine Extension – when contracted they help extend (hyperextend) the spine backward as well as assist other smaller extensor muscles of the spine.
3. Scapula Retraction – the lats also play an important role in stabilizing the shoulder blades and keeping them from winging outwards.
Cable exercises can be considered as one of the ways that all fitness enthusiasts can use, to help them tone their muscles and get in shape. This is a very productive exercise that can provide you with the benefit you require for your body.
It’s easy to perform and does not take a lot of time and effort. Overall, this is a great way to burn fat from the area of your back and get the results that you want overall.