Starting Position: Adjust the seat height to a level that positions the machine handles approximately level with your shoulders. Place your feet firmly on the floor or footpads to stabilize your body. Sit upright. You should be able to grasp the handles with straight elbows and without rounding your shoulders forward. The chest pad should be adjusted so that your chest makes light contact. Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Keep your spine in neutral. Do not press your low back into the backrest or arch your back away from the backrest throughout the exercise. Pull your shoulder blades back and down. Keep your wrists in line with your forearms (neutral) Maintain these engagements throughout the exercise.
From the start position, bend your elbows and pull your hands toward your ribs. Send your elbows toward the sides of the room, keeping them as level with your shoulders as possible. Keep the wrists in neutral position, and your chest in contact with the chest pad. Do not lean back or arch your low back. Keep your head as still as possible during the movement.
Continue pulling until your elbows are in line with, or just past the shoulders. Pause briefly. In a slow and controlled manner, straighten your elbows to return to start position. As the weight begins to straighten your arms and the handles move away from your body, use your back muscles to resist the pull of the weight stack. Stop when your elbows are fully straight. Keep your torso an upright your chest lifted. Do not allow your spine bend forward or your back to round during this exercise. Repeat for a prescribed number of repetitions.
Exercise Variation: To increase the exercise intensity and involve additional exercises, perform the following variations:
(a) Perform unilateral (one arm at a time) pulls
(b) Move the chest pad away from your body, which will now require a greater effort to stabilize your trunk as you perform the pulling movement.
Allowing your shoulders to round forward as your arms extend will allow you to pull with more force. However, learn how to perform a pulling motion without scapulae (shoulder blade) movement first before introducing shoulder movement. Additionally, reduce unnecessary stress into your low back by avoiding any backwards lean during the pull movements.