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I just can't seem to get my arm dead straight with any weight. I can get it 95% straight with about 15lbs, but there comes a point where my shoulder starts lifting instead and my tricep is just not going any more. Should I be doing this with like, 2 pounds to build up my range - or is it normal to not be able to go all the way?

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What about with zero weight? Can you get your arm straight? You should be able to get it just as straight as you can with zero weight if you're using an appropriate amount of weight for your strength levels: youtube.com/watch?v=ZO81bExngMI –  Kate Nov 29 '12 at 2:36

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I would recommend you to do three things about this:

  1. Lock your elbow against your body, and ensure that your torso is parallel with the ground.
  2. If the above step is already taken care of, and you still have the same issue, then I would lower the weight.
  3. There's actually a way you can do this on the machines, but its kind of tricky. You'll need to go on the seated low row machine and unclip whatever is on it and leave the clip on. Hold onto the clip with your hands, adjust the weight to the what is comfortable, and do the same motion. This will allow a better guided, 'straight' motion; but also be careful when putting the clip back.
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