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Pulldown Exercises Without a Machine

author image Lisa M. Wolfe
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.
Pulldown Exercises Without a Machine
A woman uses a resistance band to perform a type of pulldown exercise in a park.

Pulldown exercises are used to strengthen muscles in your upper body. You will know if you are performing a pulldown because your arms will be pulling down toward your body against a resistance. Many times this resistance is in the form of an exercise machine, but you can receive training benefits through the use of an exercise band as your resistance tool.

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Resistance Bands

Exercise resistance bands are rubber tubes, or flat bands that are available in a variety of styles. The resistance tubes have handles on both ends. A figure eight band is one solid tube, held together in the center and that has handles on both ends. A flat band does not have handles and can be cut to your desired length for your exercises. The bands are latex, but are available in non-latex styles if you have an allergy. You can purchase a band in light, medium or heavy resistance based on your strength level and your fitness goals.

Lat Pulldown

A lat pulldown strengthens the largest muscle in your back, your latissimus dorsi. You can begin a pulldown with a resistance band by grasping hold of the middle of the band with both of your hands. Your palms face away from your body as you hold the band over your head with your arms straight. Perform a pulldown by bending your elbows and separating your hands as you lower the band toward your chest. This same movement can be completed by attaching the middle of the band to an overhead base, holding one end of the band in each hand and then bending your elbows to pull down your hands in line with your chest. Both of these exercises can be performed from a seated or standing position.

Tricep Pulldown

A pulldown exercise can also be used to strengthen your triceps, the back of your upper arms. You can exercise one arm at a time by holding onto the band with your right hand. Place your right hand approximately 1 foot in front of your chest. Your left hand grabs the band approximately 1 foot below your right hand. Tighten your 90-degree angle bent left elbow into your side and then straighten your left arm bringing your left hand toward your hip and pulling down on the band. You can perform this pulldown with both hands at the same time by securing the middle of your and to a stable base at a height over your head, holding one end of the band in each hand and then bending and straightening both arms against your sides. You can perform these exercises from a seated or standing position.

Straight-Arm Pulldown

A straight-arm pulldown strengthens the muscles in your back. Begin this exercise by placing the middle of the band around a stable base at a height that is over your head. Stand tall and position yourself approximately 2 feet from the ends of the band, so that you have to reach in front of you with your arms straight to grasp the ends. Perform the pulldown by keeping your arms straight and pulling down against the resistance until your hands reach your hips.

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