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Revolving Straight Bar Exercise Ideas

Revolving Straight Bar Exercise Ideas

Some get a dopamine rush when purchasing gym equipment while others get a mad rush from the stress of trying to hide it from their spouses. Even though we stock over 40 cable accessories we do not believe that you should own all of them.

You can keep it extremely simple and still have a wide range of exercises you can perform with just the basic cable attachments.

The Revolving Straight Bar is one of the most underused cable attachments, with the help of the legendary bodybuilder – Lee Priest we managed to come up with over 15 exercises and their variations.



Equipment Used:

ATX® Lat Pulldown Plate Loaded,

Revolving Straight Bar,

ATX® Seated Row Seat,

ATX® Adjustable FID Bench.

Demonstration by Mr Universe Winner – Lee Priest.

Lat Pulldowns

This exercise variation is very similar to your close grip pull-ups. The lat machine allows you to choose a way lighter weight and focus on the perfect form – something which is difficult to do on a chin-up bar.

There are two lat pulldown variations:

- Underhand (supinated) grip – stress on your forearms, biceps and lats

- Overhand (pronated) grip – less stress on your biceps more stress on your lats

How to:

- Choose a grip you are most comfortable with.

- Keep your elbows tucked in.

- Bring the bar down to your chest

- Squeeze your lats at the bottom of the movement

- Fully extend your arms at the top.

Standing Pulls to the Chest

Great for strengthening the middle of your back (trapezius). This exercise will help you with your posture and bench press! By doing it in an upright position you will place less stress on your lower back compared to the bent-over version.

How to:

- Grip the balls on the bar for this exercise.

- Take a step back.

- Tense your core.

- Pull the barbell to your chest.

- Flare your elbows out.

- Squeeze your back at the bottom of the movement.

- Return to the starting position and extend your arms fully.

Straight Arm Pushdowns

Fantastic exercise for those who are looking to pump some extra blood into their lats at the end of the workout. Alternatively, it is a great way to start your back workout by getting the target muscles warm without loading up with too much weight.

How to:

- Choose a lighter weight for this exercise.

- Take a step back and tense your core.

- Keep your arms straight throughout the whole movement.

- Push the bar down and squeeze the muscle at the bottom of the movement.

- Return to the starting position.

Triceps Pushdowns

The exercise is responsible for the bulk of sales of the revolving straight bar! All four variations would work your triceps, the weight load would shift slightly between the muscle heads based on the grip you are performing.

I do believe that the impact would be minimal, and you should be performing a variation which would be the most comfortable for you.

- Narrow

- Wide

- Underhand

- Overhand

How to:

- Choose the most comfortable grip.

- Pull your shoulders back and push them down.

- Keep your elbows tucked in and locked into place.

- Push the barbell down and extend your elbows fully.

- Squeeze the muscle at the bottom of the movement.

- Bring the bar back to the starting position in a controlled manner.

High Pulley Biceps Curls

Great arm workout finisher which requires a lot of concentration and core strength!

How to:

- Grip the barbell at a comfortable width.

- Take a step back and lean back slightly.

- Raise your arms until your elbows are just below your shoulder.

- Start with your arms fully extended.

- Tuck your elbows in and lock them into place.

- Curl the bar towards your eye line.

- Keep your core tensed throughout the whole movement.

Seated Rows

Unlike your regular cable row handle, you can perform a couple of different seated row variations with the Revolving Straight Bar. It is also a great way to hit the back muscles if you find you are engaging too much biceps when pulling heavyweight with the cable row handle.

- Underhand – more biceps and lat activation

- Overhand – great variation for the upper middle of your back.

How to:

- Choose the variation you would like to perform.

- Always start with a lower weight.

- Tuck your elbows for the underhand version and slightly flare them out for the overhand version.

- Tense your core and pull the bar towards your solar plexus.

- Squeeze the muscle at the bottom of the movement.

- Return to the starting position.

Seated Rows for the Trapezius

A crossover between face pulls and upright rows. Perfect for those who want to alleviate the pressure of their shoulder and still train traps/upper-middle back.

How to:

- Choose a lighter weight for this exercise.

- Choose a wider grip for this exercise.

- Extend your arms fully at the beginning of the movement.

- Row the bar upwards your chin.

- Raise your elbows up as you are bringing the bar to your chin.

- Squeeze the muscle at the top of the movement.

- Keep your core tensed.

Elevated Cable Rows

Elevated cable rows will put more stress on your upper back compared to your regular seated rows.

There are a couple of variations you can perform:

- Underhand – more stress on your biceps and trapezius (upper middle back).

- Overhand – more stress on your forearms and your lats and upper-middle back.

How to:

- I would recommend using a decline bench for this exercise, it would allow you to choose a comfortable height/angle.

- Keep your torso upright and tense your core.

- Extend your arms fully at the beginning of the movement.

- Row towards your solar plexus.

- Squeeze your back at the top of the movement.

- Return to the starting position and extend your arms fully.

Laying Biceps Curls

Although it might seem excessive to perform this bicep curl variation, it can be extremely beneficial to those who tend to cheat! There is no way you can swing your body and use the momentum to lift the weight up.

If you have a decline bench, you can just lift the seat up, which would work as a headrest in this exercise. If you don’t have access to a decline bench, you can always perform this exercise lying flat on the ground.

How to:

- Place the bench into decline position and lift the seat up.

- You may need an extension chain for this exercise as your cable machine might not have enough range.

- Lay down and grip the bar at shoulder width.

- Lock your elbows into the sides of your body.

- Curl the bar all the way up.

- Squeeze the biceps at the top of the movement.

- Slowly return to the starting position and extend your elbows fully.

Shrugs

Shrugs can be an amazing exercise for your traps if done correctly. Sadly, a lot of people overload the barbell and start dipping their shoulders rather than training their trapezius muscles. Use a lighter weight, squeeze at the top and feel the burn!

How to:

- Grip the bar shoulder-width apart.

- Keep your arms straight.

- Slowly shrug your shoulders all the way up.

- Squeeze the muscle at the top of the movement.

- Slowly return to the starting position.

Upright Rows

Great exercise for the front and middle deltoids as well as the trapezius and rhomboids.

How to:

- If you have shoulder or wrist problems, I recommend using an EZ Curl or even Cable Row Handle Attachments.

- Choose a close grip for this exercise.

- Row the bar upwards and raise your elbows at the same time.

- There is no need for your elbows to rise way above your shoulder joint.

- Squeeze the muscle at the top of the movement.

- Slowly return to the starting position and extend your arms fully.

- Keep your core tensed throughout the whole exercise.

Forearm Curls

If you want to improve your grip and get rid of the muscle imbalances in your forearms, the forearm straight bar curls are a great place to start.

How to:

- Choose a lighter weight for this exercise.

- Grip the bar shoulder-width apart.

- Open your palm up and grip the bar with just the tips of your fingers.

- Curl your fingers up and then squeeze your forearm.

- Keep your arms straight throughout the whole movement.

- Slowly return to the starting position.

Shoulder Press

Seated cable shoulder press targets your front deltoids and your triceps.

If your lat machine’s seat is not deep enough, you can always take off the knee support to give you the extra room. Alternatively, you can grab a flat bench and just place it in front of the low pulley.

This is not an exercise where we chase heavier weight, it is a great accessory exercise for working different muscle fibres compared to other should press variations.

How to:

- Use an extension chain for this exercise and your lat machine might not have enough range for you to extend your arms fully.

- Grip the bar shoulder-width apart.

- Keep your torso upright and tense your core.

- Raise the bar to your chin – this is going to be your starting position.

- Lift the bar up and extend your arms at the top of the movement.

- Slowly return to the starting position.

Front Shoulder Raise

Another dumbbell exercise which can be replaced with a lat machine! This exercise variation is slightly more taxing on your shoulder so pick a lighter weight.

I would recommend using an extension chain as your lat machine might have a limited range.

How to:

- Stand upright your seat with your back facing the lat machine.

- Keep your core tensed throughout the whole movement.

- Grip the bar at shoulder width.

- Lift the bar up to your eye level.

- You can keep your arms slightly bent.

- Squeeze the muscle at the top of the movement and slowly return to the starting position.

Poor Man’s Preacher Curls

As important as biceps may be, I do not think you should be spending hundreds of dollars just so you could do some isolated biceps exercises. The Poor Man’s Preacher Curls are the prime example of that!

If you have troubles keeping your elbows tucked in, you can always place them on the inside of your knee.

How to:

- You can sit on the ground or grab a seat for this exercise.

- Bend your knees and place your elbows on your knees.

- Your torso should be upright.

- Curl the bar up towards your face.

- Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement.

- Slowly return to the starting position.

- Extend your arms fully.

Bent Over Rows

It is slightly harder to cheat in this variation compared to the barbell version as you cannot use the momentum.

Overhand – more stress on your lat and upper-middle back.

Underhand – more stress on your biceps and lats.

How to:

- Bend your knees and lower your torso to around 45-degree angle.

- Choose the most comfortable grip.

- Keep your back straight and tense your core.

- Overhand – slightly flare your elbows out and row towards your solar plexus.

- Underhand – row in an arc towards your belly button.

- Squeeze the muscle at the top of the movement.

- Slowly return to the starting position and extend your arms fully.

Biceps Curls

It is a toss-up between curls and triceps press downs as to what would be the most popular exercise for the revolving straight bar. Without a doubt, bicep curls would win hands down in the popularity contest for exercises performed on Friday or Saturday evening!

- Overhand – more stress on your forearms

- Underhand – more stress on your biceps

How to:

- Choose the most comfortable grip.

- Lock your elbows into the sides of your body.

- Keep your back straight and your core tensed.

- Curl the bar up, towards your nipple line.

- Slowly return to the starting position.

- Extend your arms fully.

Linas Valuckas
Posted by Linas Valuckas

My name is Linas, I moved to Australia from Lithuania to study. I work part time at Sam's Fitness as a Digital Media Specialist which involves uploading and managing the content on the many platforms we operate on. So this combines my two passions - weight training and computers! 

 If you have any questions about bench pressing I am more than happy to share my Soviet era bench regimes - all the secrets from behind the Iron Curtain!