• Photo for Bent Over Single Pull-Downs
    Photo Credit: Nicolas Smith

Bent Over Single Pull-Downs

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

This exercise builds on the Step Back and Single Rows exercise to give your back a powerful combination workout. Use cables for greater external resistance, or tubes attached to a stationary point if you prefer to provide your own resistance.

Muscles Worked
Back (lats)

Starting Position
Attach two cables at hip height on a cable machine (or two tubes to stationary points at hip height). Bend over in front of the machine with your feet hip-width apart and one handle in each hand, with your arms extended toward the machine and your palms facing inward. Your back should be flat and your neck neutral, and you should be positioned far enough away from the machine so that you arms are fully extended toward the machine at the level of your ears. Bend your knees and press your hips slightly back into a slight sitting position. Keep the majority of your weight back on your heels, while still applying pressure through the balls of your feet (see Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, pull one arm in toward you until your elbow is bent in at your side and your hand is just at shoulder level in front of your chest. Keep your hand in a straight line as you bring it in toward you; do not arc wide, and do not twist your upper body (see Photos 2 and 3).
  2. Pause for a moment, then allow your hand to return to the starting position, following the same path and maintaining resistance throughout. For the Strong and Lean workout program, you will do this exercise in conjunction with the Step Back and Single Rows, doing a set of 12 with one arm before moving on to a set of 12 of each with the other arm (see Photo 4).
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.