The pulleys are one of the most versatile stations that can be found in gyms, since they allow to adjust the weight, the height at which we place the grip (with which we can work both the upper train and the lower train ), the accessory that we will use for the grip (handle, rope and even bar) and the angle with which we will work the chosen muscle.
This versatility is what will allow us to work our entire body and perform a full body routine without having to move from one device to another, avoiding queues and rest periods longer than scheduled.
Working the shoulders with pulleys
As part of the work in our whole body routine using a pulley machine, we have chosen two exercises to work our shoulders : the openings for the back of the shoulder and the pullover to see with bar in high pulley (which in addition to the shoulders we are going to allow part of our back to work too).
Pulley shoulder openings
To perform this exercise we must position the pulley so that the cable is at the height of our chest, slightly below the horizontal of our shoulders, since this way we will help to prevent our elbows from exceeding the horizontal of the shoulders , which, as we have already mentioned, can contribute to increasing the risk of injury .
As for the grip, we can choose to do it without an accessory, by taking the cable directly with our hand or we can use the available grip handles. Regardless of the type of grip we use, the ideal thing to facilitate movement is for the palms of our hands to be placed facing downwards .
Once placed with the grip we have chosen and having selected an appropriate weight, we must ensure that the start of the movement starts from the back of our shoulders ( trying to avoid doing a flexion of elbows that would imply that the origin of the movement will be located in our biceps). The movement to be performed is to open the arms in a cross, trying to perform a scapular retraction in the final part of the movement, pressing for one or two seconds. This exercise is usually used for those who face pull can be annoying or have some limitation for which they can not do it.
Pullover with bar in high pulley
For this exercise we can choose as much a straight bar as a Z bar that we can hook to the cable of the pulley. Again, in this exercise we must ensure that in the final phase of the movement, our hands do not exceed the horizontal of our shoulders .
We will start from a standing position, with arms almost stretched to hold the bar (there must be a slight bend in the elbow to avoid an overstress in the joint ).
The movement will start from this position and we will try to take the bar to our waist . Here, there are two points to keep in mind to avoid injuries: the first of them we have already commented, and it is referring to avoid that our climb beyond the horizontal of our shoulders. The second is to avoid compensating the lack of strength or excess weight , which is usually done by making a slight lift of the shoulders to take impulse or arching the back. The position should be as stable as possible and the position of our back as neutral as possible to avoid injury.
This exercise used to be done on a bench with a cuff , but it presents some risk of injury if we do not have adequate joint mobility, so replacing it with this variant may be the most advisable.
Bomb biceps and triceps with these exercises
The arms are one of the muscular groups that the boys like to work more and, in turn, the flaccidity of the triceps is one of the biggest concerns of the girls as far as their arms are concerned. Here we present two exercises for each muscle group using the pulley machine.
Triceps kick in low pulley
With the pulley placed in the lower part, we will face the machine, leaning forward about 45 degrees . We can choose to grab the cable directly or use a handle, as we do in the shoulder openings. The foot on the opposite side with which we are going to work we will advance, similar to the movement that is made in a stride (and the hand on that side will be placed on the thigh or supported by the pulley machine).
For the realization of the movement, the upper part of our arm should always be in contact with our ribs, being the movement only of flexion and extension of the elbow . In the final part of the movement we should avoid as far as possible blocking the elbow joint to reduce the risk of possible injuries .
Triceps extensions on the head in high pulley
This exercise, in addition to allowing us to work our triceps will also force us to have a sense of balance and, in addition, to do a good job of stabilizing the middle area to avoid bowing in the lower back.
To adopt the initial position we will have to place the pulley in its highest position and stand up leaving the pulley machine behind us and we will lean forward in such a way that when the triceps extension is made the cable passes over the nape of our neck. In the initial part of the movement, when our arms are flexed, our elbows should be positioned as far as possible in front , thus avoiding “opening” to the sides. When performing triceps extension, we should make a slight wrist turn towards the interior so that we contract the triceps as much as possible.
Bicep curl with bar, lying, in low pulley
Possibly this exercise you have not seen anyone (or almost anyone), but it is a modified version of the classic bicep curl, so you can try new variants of exercises and add diversity to your routine. In my opinion, this variant will allow us to avoid certain balances when compensating for the lack of strength to lift the weight .
To position ourselves, we must place the pulley in the lowest position and lie down so that the soles of our feet make a stop with the pulley (it is best to use a mat or your towel to avoid falling directly on the ground). As for the bar, you can use both a straight bar and the Z bar. When placed lying on your back and with your arms fully stretched, we will avoid the typical swing that people usually perform in the standing position and that could end provoking a back injury .
For the rest, the movement is exactly the same as the classic bicep curl , in which we bend the elbows and try to take the bar to our chest, but this time lying on the ground.
21 in low pulley for biceps
This unilateral exercise (I recommend you take a look at our article about the benefits of unilateral training ) we can do it with the pulley both in its lowest position and in the intermediate position , that is, at the same height that we placed it to perform the shoulder openings (with the cable remaining at the height of our chest slightly below the horizontal of our shoulders).
To adopt the initial position, we will use a handle grip, positioning ourselves laterally with respect to the pulley and so that our arm is stretched almost completely (we must avoid blocking the joints in the final position). As in curl 21,the exercise consists of three miniseries of seven repetitions, this variant is exactly the same, but with nuances due to our position.
These nuances are mainly due to the way we position ourselves : the first seven-repetition miniseries will consist in performing the movement from the extended arm position to an angle of our 90 degree elbow. The second seven-repetition miniseries will start from this elbow position at 90 degrees until full flexion. And the last miniseries will be the corresponding full range of motion of our elbow.
Pulley pectorals from different angles
We will explain an exercise with the pulley at the height of our sternum and another with the low pulley to perform a pectoral work from different angles .
Pulley chest openings
For this exercise we will select the handles as grip to place on the ends of the pulley cable, and this, we will place it at its highest part. We will place ourselves right in the center and at the same height as the cables of the pulleys, that is, neither more advanced nor more backward.
The key in this movement is that when performing the eccentric phase, our elbows can not, again, exceed the horizontal of the shoulders to avoid injuries . In addition, we should avoid, as much as possible, anteriorizing our shoulders , and this can be achieved by keeping our back neutral and performing a scapular retraction at the time of performing the movement. In this way we will avoid helping ourselves with other parts of our musculature and will work more efficiently on the pectoral .
Front lift with reverse grip for chest in low pulley
With the same handle grip as the previous exercise, this time we are going to place the pulleys at the lowest point, and we will stand sufficiently advanced to the position of the pulley machine so that the cable presents a certain tension before to perform the movement. Our arms should be placed on both sides of our body but without overcoming backwards .
The movement, which is done with supine grip (with palms facing up ), consists of raising both arms simultaneously, and with a slight bend of elbows to avoid excessive tension in the area) to be slightly above of our sternum, because if we continued climbing the work would be diverted to the muscles of the shoulders.
We must avoid the rocking to gain momentum , since we could damage our backs .
Work your numbers and high back with the paddle kayak
Quite possibly this exercise is a novelty for you (or for most), so we recommend that you start with little weight until you have a mechanized movement and a good technique.
The kayak paddle is done with the pulley in elevated position and with a bar or Z-bar for grip . It is very similar to pullover in high pulley, but here we are going to involve much more to the bibs than to the shoulder (besides doing a magnificent work of obliques). The movement begins in a standing position slightly inclined forward and consists of trying to take the bar from the initial horizontal position to one side of our body and a more diagonal position (as we can see in the video).
We must avoid swaying to get impulse and back bows that can lead to more than likely injury.
How to work the lower train with a pulley machine
Deadlift in pulley machine
To perform this deadweight variant we will need to use the grip consisting of a rope. The starting position will be standing, getting ahead of us enough so that the cable is tensioned and we will hold the rope with one hand at each end, causing the cable to pass between our legs (which will be about the width of our shoulders).
The movement is practically the same as when we performed a conventional deadlift except that this time we are holding a rope instead of the bar, but the guidelines to follow to avoid injuries are the same: slight knee flexion to release from tension the area of the hamstring and neutral back avoiding lumbar bows and positions “huffed” .
Leg extension on pulley
For this exercise we will need a hitch similar to a kind of harness that we will put around our ankle, and we will stand in front of the standing pulley machine. The leg that is resting on the floor should not move , and the leg with which we are going to work, we should try as far as possible that our quadriceps is “fixed” and only perform a movement of knee flexion , avoiding swings with the leg to gain momentum.
Abdominal work on pulleys: the pallof press
A very good exercise that we can perform on the pulley machine to work our core is the press pallof . On the other hand, we must categorically avoid the typical crunches and abdominal crunches in pulleys, as they will seriously jeopardize the health of our back no matter how hard we think we are doing the exercise.
To perform the pallof press , we will use a handle grip and we will stand sideways with respect to the pulley machine (eye, because we must perform the exercise later towards the opposite side in order not to create decompensations). Once we are located on the side, we will stick our fists to our sternum and we will separate from the machine as necessary until the cable is tight ( beware of selecting an excessive weight because we could cause injury ).
Next, we will stretch our arms in front while trying to avoid with our core that the cable pulls us and makes us turn towards the pulley . The elbows should make a slight flexion to avoid tension in the joint and forearms.