The lat pulldown machine is used for more than exercising your back. Change from a seated to a standing position to use this weight machine to strengthen the backs of your upper arms, the triceps. This machine provides workout variation and intense triceps strengthening.
The lat pulldown exercise strengthens your latissimus dorsi, the largest muscle in your back. A lat pulldown bar resembles a pullup bar. It is straight in the middle with a slight bend down in the bar on both ends. You sit while performing a lat pulldown. With your hands positioned near the bends in the bar, pull the bar down to the top of your chest. The triceps are not involved in this back pulldown. You use your upper and middle back, rotators in your shoulders and the front of your upper arm, the biceps.
Substitute a short, straight bar for the longer lat bar to work your triceps. Stand facing the bar, then grasp the bar near each end. Face your palms toward the floor. Begin with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, with your elbows close to your sides and your forearms parallel to the floor. Exhale and straighten your arms as you pull the bar down to the front of your hips. Inhale and raise the bar to start position. Select a weight that allows you to complete eight to 12 repetitions.
Use the straight bar to strengthen your triceps with a reverse grip. Stand facing the bar. Position your feet hip distance apart and stand up tall. Place your hands near the ends of the straight bar, palms facing up. Begin with your upper arms vertical at your sides and your elbows bent at 90-degree angles, and then straighten your arms to pull the bar down. A common error with this exercise is bending the wrists. Keep your wrists straight so your hands are an extension of your forearms.
Incorporate the triceps pushdown and pulldown into your arm-strengthening workouts. Resist the weight stack when the bar rises to increase the intensity of your workout and improve the strength of your arms.