Many athletes and trainers know a good exercise to strengthen the muscles of the back are lat pull-downs. Lat pulldown variations help to further concentrate this specific shoulder area for strength or growth. Half kneeling single-arm lat pulldowns are one of these pulldown alternatives which are a great exercise to train your lats and other vertical pulling back muscles! Oftentimes, athletes can’t perform exercises such as pull-ups or chin-ups which are both excellent movements to train the latissimus dorsi making the lat pulldown an excellent alternative. Additionally, because lat pull-downs are performed in a seated position, you can recruit your abdominals and hip flexors to stabilize you adding further benefits to this back workout.

Although the lat pulldown can be used as a great hypertrophy stimulus, the ½ kneeling single-arm lat pulldown can be set up in line with the fibers of the lat, thus specifically targeting those tissues. Another benefit is that we are also exposing our hips to the ½ kneeling position which may help certain clients who are working around hip discomfort enabling them to potentially lift heavier weights.

The single-arm, or one-arm lat pull, is a versatile exercise because it can provide more individualization since the cable can be set up to fit the client, rather than trying to make the client fit the exercise. For example, if an athlete has a history of shoulder issues, but wants to train the upper back, a traditional lat pulldown may not be the best choice. However, in the 1/2 kneeling pulldown, the cable can be adjusted for a more comfortable setup and exercise execution to maximize a full range of motion.

With this exercise, there are 3 things to remember:

  1. At starting position, the cable should line up with the lat muscles. begin at about 45 degrees between the arm and shoulder joint, and adjust as needed
  2. Initiate the movement with the elbow moving down and slightly back
  3. When the weight, sets, and reps become easy, progress your pulldown by either adding more weight, sets, or reps.
If you are training for muscle hypertrophy, adding unilateral exercises is likely to benefit you because they will allow you to isolate one specific muscle or muscle group, localizing the training stress to one specific area. In addition, adding such variety can benefit us by allowing us to hit different fibers of those muscles, while also exposing us to different positions. Whether at a cable machine or using a resistance band, a lat pulldown is one of the best upper body exercises to reach your fitness goals.

Lastly, if you’re looking to put on more muscle, training for a specific sport, or feel your training has become stale and would like to learn some new exercises such as this one, give us a call at #908-679-5313 to schedule your performance assessment today! As always, feel free to visit our website at for more training and therapy tips.