Starting Position: Adjust the seat height to a level that positions the machine handles approximately level, or near level, with your shoulders. Position your feet firmly on the floor or foot pads to stabilize your body. Sit upright and extend your arms to grasp the handles without rounding your shoulders forward. Adjust the position the chest pad to contact your chest lightly. Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, but do not press your low back into the back rest. 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), maintain a neutral wrist position (i.e., wrist in line with your forearms) and attempt to hold these positions throughout the exercise.
From this start position with your tors0 vertical, scapulae (shoulder blades) flat against your ribcage and arms extended, gently exhale and perform a pulling movement. Flex (bend) your elbows and pull them towards your chest keeping your elbows close to the sides of your body. Continue to maintain a neutral wrist position, and contact with your chest against the chest pad. Avoid leaning back and arching your low back and attempt to minimize any movement of your head during the movement.
Continue pulling until your elbows pass the sides of your body. Pause momentarily then slowly return to your starting position, allowing your arms to move forward and elbows to extend (straighten) in a slow, controlled manner, moving the handles away from your body, stopping when your arms are fully extended. Maintain your upright trunk position and avoid forward rounding of your scapulae (shoulder blades). Repeat the movement.
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 stresses into your low back by avoiding any backwards lean during the pull movements.