5 Vertical Pull Options To Strengthen Your Back

5 Vertical Pull Options To Strengthen Your Back

The vertical pull is the flagship exercise, with pull-up, for the width of the back. There are variations that will allow you to target your muscles differently, we have selected them for you.

The 5 variants of the vertical pull for your back muscles

In bodybuilding, it is important to vary your exercises. But you can also vary your positions, your angles of work within these exercises. To muscle your back in the width, the vertical draft is present in all training routines. Unfortunately, practitioners tend to always perform it the same way. Here are our 5 variants of vertical pull.

  • Unilateral vertical pull

Unilateral vertical pull variant
© Per Bernal

The major difference

This is the ideal movement to recover asymmetry in your backbone. If you have one side less developed than another, which “goes down less”, you must absolutely make this movement. We guarantee you that in a few months you will catch up with your asymmetry thanks to this variant of the vertical pull.

How to do

Attach a handle to the cable of a vertical pull machine. When sitting on the machine, grab the handle in one hand and start with the right torso with a neutral grip. With the arm extended, pull the handle straight down until your hand is just to the side of your torso. Go back slowly to the starting position, arm outstretched. Repeat and change your arm. You can also perform the exercise on a pulley station for triceps for example, putting yourself on your knees on the floor.

  • Supine vertical pull 

Supine vertical pull
© Per Bernal

The major difference

The lower part of the big dorsal (usually a weak area) will be more targeted when you go supine. You can do this with a conventional vertical pull station, but if you have a specific machine in your room it’s even better.

How to do

In the same way as a classic vertical draw, position yourself on the seat and catch the bar with the supine hands (palms upwards) for this variant. Pull the bar lower than usual, coming to get the contraction in the bottom of your dorsal, since this is the interest of the supination.

  • Wide grip Vertical pull

Wide grip Vertical pull
© Per Bernal

The major difference

Wide grip Vertical pull will develop the upper part of your dorsals. This movement will help you accentuate the V of your back.

How to do

Catch a vertical pull bar at the high pulley with a wide pronation grip. Sit on the seat, knees under the cushion and start with arms outstretched over your head and torso straight. Guiding the movement with your elbows, pull the bar down while contracting the muscles of your back until it touches the top of your torso and then gently return to the starting position.

  • Vertical pull/ Pull Over

Pull Over
© Per Bernal

The major difference

The vertical pull with the almost stretched arms is a variation that mimics the movement of the pull over and isolates the dorsals by virtually removing all the work from the biceps. Just like supine grip vertical pull at the high pulley, this version made the right arms target the lower part of your backbones.

How to do

Stand in front of a cable machine, a bar attached to a high pulley. Catch the pull bar, leaving a gap between your hands as big as the one between your shoulders and back a step or two so that the weight does not rest on the machine. Start with your arms almost stretched, your elbows slightly bent, the pull bar at your head and slightly bent at the waist. Keeping your arms straight, contract the muscles in your back to pull the bar down and toward you until it almost touches your hips. Hold the position for one second then slowly return to the starting position.

  • Standing vertical pull

Standing vertical pull
© Per Bernal

The major difference

When you do vertical pulling at the high pulley while standing, this also allows you to enjoy the benefits of a horizontal pull. You will not be able to put that heavy but the standing version is a very good move to incorporate into your program to work from a single angle with this variant.

How to do

Stand in front of a machine, grab the pull bar with a wide pronation hold, place one foot on the edge of the seat and lean at an angle of about 30 degrees, the other foot planted firmly in the ground. Keeping your torso in a fixed position, contract the muscles in your back to pull the pull bar down to the middle of your torso. Tighten during the contraction then gently reverse the movement to return to the starting position with arms extended.

Tips for vertical pulling at the high pulley

  • Keep the torso bulging : the back muscles contract when the shoulders are retracted (pulled backwards). So keep the torso bulging during movement (both during the concentric phase and the eccentric phase).
  • Tighten the shoulder blades: when you reach the lowest position of each repetition, squeeze the shoulders and lower them. In this way, you will contract the muscles of your back to the maximum. Keep them tight for at least one second during each repetition.
  • Guide with the elbows: the back is a combination of muscles that is difficult to stimulate. The biceps can often draw, whether you realize it or not. That’s why it’s essential to shoot with your elbows and not with your hands. Basically, your hands should be useless during the whole movement, if not to hold the pull bar. But do not grab the bar of all forces. Think of your elbows and lower them vertically down your sides.
  • Remove the thumb: taking the bar with the thumb on the same side as your other fingers will slightly disable the forearms and optimize the work of your back.