Cable Pulldown Exercise for Abs and Arms

Strengthen the Abs and Arms With Cable Pulldowns

Cable pulldown
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The cable pull down exercise uses a weighted cable system to target the back, arms and abdominal muscles. It is a compound, multi-joint movement that requires your body to engage the core for balance while perform it, which is what involves the abs.

How to Set the Equipment Up for the Cable Pulldown

  • Attach a cable at the highest point at one end of a cable frame. You could also use stretch bands or tubes at home attached at the top of a closed door.
  • Use any of the supplied hand attachments that will allow you to use two hands to grasp the pulldown handle.
  • Make sure the attachment point is above your head and that you can reach it with outstretched arms.
  • Choose a weight sufficient to enable you to pull the cable down to around the thighs while requiring some sustained effort.

How to Perform the Cable Pull Down Exercise

  • You will pull the cable down while bending slightly at the hips so that the cable handle is away from the body (see image). This is not a cable pushdown exercise in which the arms are held close to the body.
  • Brace the abdominals, keep the back straight when bent over and remember to breathe out on exertion and in on recovery.
  • If you do this exercise properly, you will find that your abdominal muscle will work hard and your arms and back will also get some work.
  • An overhand grip will place more emphasis on the triceps at the back of the arms and an underhand grip will work the biceps more.
  • An alternative is to do this exercise kneeling. Set the attachment point up so that you can reach the handle while kneeling. The execution of the exercise is similar with abdominals being squeezed on the downward pull of the cable and weight.

Do three sets of 10 to 12 exercises. Make sure to brace the abdominals and feel the squeeze when you pull down, and don't round the back when flexing the hips.

Muscles Targeted by the Cable Pulldown Exercise

The latissimus dorsi muscle of the back is the primary target of the cable pulldown. The synergistic muscles involved are the pecs of the chest, the triceps, deltoids, rhomboids, and levator scapulae. The muscles that work to stabilize the move are the triceps, pectoralis major, wrist flexors, and the abdominal muscles: rectus abdominis and obliques.

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