Pulling Routines: Use Variety Of Cable Attachments, Hand Positions

Arnold Cable FlyesPulling routines should be part of every muscle-building program, and usually, people who want to build muscle do, indeed, include classic pulling exercises in their workouts.

Pulling movements are a crucial component to muscle-building because they work so much of the upper body, primarily the middle back musculature, biceps and forearms.

A physique isn’t complete without an impressive display of back musculature, popping biceps and brawny forearms.

Advantages To Using Different Cable Machine Handles For Pulling Routines

a) Minimizes injury. Doing all of your pull-downs with a wide, pronated (palms forward) grip may cause inner elbow strain or rotator cuff strain.

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and their tendons that are integral to shoulder function, and lat pull-downs do require shoulder joint motion.

Including the use of different cable attachments will minimize the risk of any kind of injury.

b) Variety makes workout sessions more exciting. You may not realize it, but using a new cable machine attachment for a change just may make your workout more interesting.

You may find that you like the “feel” of the new handle better than the one you’ve been using for so long.

c) Varies the pattern of muscle fiber recruitment. A pronated grip recruits less of the biceps and more of the forearms.

But a neutral grip (palms facing each other) shifts recruitment a little more to the biceps and changes forearm recruitment.

It’s always a good idea to recruit as wide a range of muscle fibers as possible, for overall maximum muscle growth.

d) Eliminates waiting for the first-choice attachment to be available.

If you’re fixated on only one type of cable machine handle, this will disrupt your routine because sooner or later, that handle will be in use at the exact moment you’re ready to use it, even if the gym has more than one of these handles.

Rather than wait around for an available one, grab another and get to work. Dependency on only a certain kind of cable attachment will interfere with premeditated rest times in between sets.

The many different kinds of cable machine attachments enable you to use a pronated grip, neutral grip and supinated (palms facing yourself) grip, as well as vary the distance between the hands.

Lat Pull-Downs

The lat pull-down is typically done with the lat bar attachment.

This is the long bar that curves down at either end, and the farther apart one’s hands are, the more emphasis that’s placed upon the latissimus dorsi muscles of the back—the ones that contribute to the “V taper.”

The lat pull-down, however, can also be done with other cable machine attachments, such as the V handle and Pro-Style bar.

The Pro-Style bar is shaped like a standard lat bar, bending down at its ends, except that the ends consist of handles that you can grasp with a neutral grip.

Many agree that this has a much more comfortable or ergonomic feel than the pronated grip.

The V handle involves a neutral grip, but with hands much closer together, though V handles also come in varying widths. The closer the hands are together, the more weight you can pull down for a given palm position.

For maximum weight pulled and minimum risk of rotator cuff strain, supinate palms and place them close together. This will emphasize biceps more than any other hand position. This is actually a chin-up motion.

Seated Rows

These are usually done with a V handle, or a straight bar with neutral grips at the end. However, why not do seated rows with a supinated grip for a change, to increase emphasis on the biceps?

An E-Z bar attachment is best for this, because the curve will reduce wrist discomfort. Seated rows can also be done with a pronated grip on a straight bar for extra forearm involvement.

Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows

Though these don’t involve cable machines, they can involve altered hand position. Most people pull the weights up with a neutral palm (facing their opposite arm).

However, for a new spin on this classic pulling routine, face your palm straight ahead to work more of the biceps, or, face palm towards your behind to work more of the lats.

Think outside the box. Don’t always use the same cable machine attachments, grip positions or hand widths. Spruce up your pulling routines with some variety.

For complete programs involving all the great pulling exercises as well as routines for other major muscle groups, you’ll want to consider reading Vince DelMonte’s No-Nonsense Muscle Building Program.

Inside are proven 29-week programs plus meal plans for men and women seeking to build lean muscle and burn fat.

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