Starting Position: Sit with your back firmly supported against the backrest. If adjustable, align the handles level with your shoulder. Grasp the handles and position your hands level with your upper chest or shoulders, maintaining a neutral wrist position (i.e., wrists in line with your forearms). Position your feet firmly on the floor to stabilize your body. Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, but do not press your low back into the backrest. Maintain the natural arch in your low back and avoid arching your back throughout the exercise. Depress and retract your scapulae (pull shoulders back and down) and attempt to hold this position throughout the exercise.
Gently exhale and perform a pressing movement, extending your arms forward to a level with your forehead or top of your head. Continue to maintain a neutral wrist position, and contact with your back and shoulder blades against the backrest. Do not allow your back to bend, avoid the rounding of your shoulder blades and maintain stability of your head during the movement.
Continue pressing until your elbows are fully extended, but not locked. Pause momentarily then slowly return to your starting position, allowing your elbows to flex (bend) in a slow, controlled manner, moving the handles back towards your upper chest, stopping when they lightly touch, or are close to, your upper chest. Repeat the movement.
Exercise Variation: To increase the exercise intensity and involve additional muscles, perform the following variations:
(a) Perform unilateral (one arm at a time) presses
(b) Sit upright off the backrest, which will require a greater effort to stabilize your trunk as you perform the press movement.
Because a cable movement allows more freedom in the movement, it is important that you concentrate to control the speed, range and direction of movement during this exercise.