I don't have a pullup bar and don't intend to get one at my current apartment

What the apartment hand is this:

Pull-down machine

Except it has two separate unconnected handles instead of a close grip handle

Aside from using less weight, what are some things you can do in terms of positioning/the way you pull to use less abs?

I don't really intend to work abs/core and don't want to make them bigger for aesthetic reasons - I never get lean enough to show them anyway and just want a smaller midsection overall and larger lats for a more v look

Currently when I do this exercise, I almost always end up using some abs/core.

Maybe does facing the other way help? Pulling the shoulders back?

If it helps at all, I usually use unconnected handles and pull downward in a neutral grip for both hands- I'm going to use this position and won't be doing underhand chinup or wide grip for no other reason than I just like how a neutral position feels.

  • All that money spent on gear and no one put in a pullup bar? For shame.
    – Eric
    Dec 31, 2015 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


Other than bracing your midsection, you shouldn't be using abdominals at all in that exercise unless your form is very poor. The abdominals main function is to either curl the upper torso towards the hips, or to curl the hips towards the chest.

The big violator in either of those exercises is usually the lower back extensors, as people lurch backwards to gain momentum, mostly because they are trying to use too much weight.

To minimize extra muscle involvement and place the most stress on the target muscles, use proper weight and strict form. Your upper body/torso should move minimally during the exercise. If you find yourself having to use your body to start/complete the movement, then you are using too much weight. Don't fall into the trap of having to have as much weight as possible, lower weight with strict form is much more effective than huge weight using momentum.

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