The KST low pull is an excellent upper body strength exercise
The KST (kinesis station) low pull is an excellent upper body strength exercise using the cable machine.
The cables provide a variable motion that requires stabilisation – provided by additional activation of the core muscles as well as some of the smaller muscles around the joints. As such, cable exercises are a great way to improve joint stability following injury, or as a form of corrective exercise to avoid future damages.
Take a seat facing inwards and place the feet on the foot plates. Take a moment to sit upright, drawing the shoulders back and down slightly (setting the shoulders) and keep the chin tucked in. This is your starting position.
Reach forward and grab the handles and return to an upright position. Begin the movement by pulling the handles towards the side of the body. Pause momentarily before coming back to the initial position.
Repeat continuously for reps or time.
During any pulling exercise, it is easy to overuse the biceps and lower back – therefore underusing the upper back and shoulders. The reason behind this is usually a combination of poor technique driven by weak or poor engagement of the shoulder stabilising muscles. To correct this, it is essential you set the shoulders before you pull.
Pulling the shoulders back and down will effectively ‘anchor’ the shoulder girdle allowing the upper back to do more of the work during the pull. As you return the weight forwards, you can slightly relax these muscles before activating them again on the next pull.
There is also an additional core stability requirement during this exercise because there is no support for the upper body (no back/front rest). This means the torso must find a way to remain stable by recruiting the core muscles to a higher level. This will often happen automatically (reflexively) and is considered to be a better way to train these muscles.
Seated exercise positions are often deemed ‘non-functional’; however, for certain people such as those who are overweight, recovering from injury, and new exercises, they can be a valuable tool towards standing (more functional) activities.