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Lat Pull downs: The back is a huge area and performing different exercises is essential in order to strengthen and sculpt this upper posterior region. A great compound exercise that strengthens the back is the lat pull down.

Below we’ll look deeper into lat pull downs and we’ll cover the following:

  • Muscles involved in lat pull downs
  • Benefits associated with lat pull downs
  • How to properly do lat pull downs
  • Common mistakes when performing lat pull downs
  • Video on how to do lat pull downs
  • Back exercises to complete your back workout

The back is an extremely important part of the body but many people neglect it. The back is connected to the hips and gluteal muscles at the bottom, to the neck at the top, and to the anterior area of the body through the chest and shoulders. It empowers your body and contributes to basic human movement dynamics.

Strengthening your back muscles is not a luxury. It is a necessity, not only to keep a healthy back but a healthy body. Back muscles help keep the joints of the spine free from restriction. Strong back muscles help you to develop and maintain correct posture. This is significant since improper posture leads to back pain over time. Strengthening your back muscles positively affects your daily living.

Additionally, having a strong back assists you in developing and strengthening other muscles. This translates into increased power for a great variety of movements, such as in ab and chest workouts and exercises for the lower posterior chain. In regards to aesthetics, developing and strengthening your back help to give you a V-shape, which shows a slimmer-looking waistline.

What Muscles Do Lat Pull downs Work?

Now that you know the importance of having strong back muscles, let’s delve into the muscles involved in lat pull downs.

Primary Muscles:

  • Latissimus dorsi: This is the largest muscle in the back that starts under the tail end of the trapezius and goes all the way down to the sacrum, and out onto the posterior iliac crest. It also has some fibers arising from the lower four ribs, and occasionally from the tip of the scapula. It is a powerful adductor of the humerus and a depressor of the scapula.
  • Rhomboids:  Muscles located in the upper back in between the scapula. They support and draw the scapula superomedially, and rotate the glenoid cavity.

Secondary Muscles:

  • Forearms: Located in the upper limbs between the elbows and the wrists. They help hold the weight.
  • Erector Spinae (lower back): Set of muscles that run vertically along the side of the vertebral column, originating at the hip and extending up to the skull. These muscles help rotate and extend the spine and neck.
  • Trapezius (large paired muscles that extend longitudinally from the posterior top of the neck to the middle of the back and laterally from one end of the scapula to the other end). They support the arm and retract, rotate, and depress the scapula.
  • Biceps (biceps brachii): The muscle on the front of the arm or biceps brachii has 2 heads (short and long head).
  • Deltoids: These muscles are part of the shoulders and are divided into the anterior, lateral, and posterior delts.

Lat Pull downs Benefits

  • Strength: Lat pull downs help strengthen your back.
  • Hypertrophy: They help you to get that awesome V-back. Besides increasing width in the upper back, lat pull downs give you thickness.
  • Posture: Lat pull downs help correct that forward-head / rounded-back posture. Getting used to the movement helps train your body to bring down (depress) and pull together (adduct) the shoulder blades, giving you a straighter posture and a more confident figure.
  • Lower Back Stability: Strengthening the lats helps stabilize your lower back. This can help you perform other exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and even chest presses.
  • Back Pain: Lat pull downs help you deal with and prevent back pain since back pain is commonly caused by an unstable lower back.

How to Do Lat Pull downs

  • Approach the lat pull down machine and grab the bar a little wider than shoulder width.
  • Bring your shoulders back and keep your chest tall.
  • Sit down with the bar in your hands so your arms are fully extended.
  • Move your upper back slightly backward and keep a tall neutral spine.
  • Bringing your shoulder blades down and together, pull the bar down between your chin and chest.
  • Keep your elbows pointed down and squeeze your lats.
  • Allow the bar to come up slowly in a controlled manner.
  • Repeat

*️⃣ You can perform lat pull downs in diverse ways. You can switch the grip from neutral, as delineated above, to a close or wide grip. You can also switch from an overhand grip to an underhand grip (reverse grip pull down).  Additionally, you can switch the long bar for D-Handles, a short handle, or a V-handle.

If you don’t have access to a lat pull down machine, you can also perform a variation using dumbbells: Bent Over Pull downs.

Lat Pull down Mistakes

  • Improper posture: Keeping the shoulders back and your low back neutral allows you to perform the exercise correctly and gain all its benefits.
  • Pulling the bar behind the neck: People used to perform lat pull downs behind the neck. However, this variation can cause injuries and avoid targeting the lats properly. You should always keep the bar in front of you. If you experience neck or back pain due to improper form, you need to stop immediately. Schedule enough rest to reduce soreness, using CBD pain cream and warm compresses to manage the pain. If the pain doesn’t disappear within days, you may need to book an appointment with your doctor to ensure you haven’t caused a serious injury.
  • Bringing the bar down below your chest, allowing the elbows to point back: This removes the tension from the lats and causes the shoulders to come forward. Not only removes the tension from the back but it can cause injuries.
  • Over-emphasizing the forearms: Make sure that your lats are pulling the bar down, not your forearms. Activate your back by pulling down from your armpits.
  • Using momentum: Bouncing removes lat engagement toward middle back engagement. If you are using momentum to move the weight, you need to use a lighter weight.
  • Grabbing the bar too wide: Being too wide shortens the range of motion and can irritate the shoulder joint.

Lat Pull down Video

Strong Back: How to do Pull Downs

Back Workout

You can complete your back workout by performing the following exercises:

As you can see the lat pull down is a wonderful back exercise. It offers tremendous benefits associated with hypertrophy, strength, endurance, and aesthetics. Now that you know how to properly perform lat pull downs, you can avoid the most common mistakes and enjoy their benefits. Remember, whether you want to lose weight, tone your body, or gain strength or size, all muscles must be trained.

Lift, Burn more Fat, Get Stronger, and Live Healthier!

To a Fitter Healthier You,

Adriana Albritton

The Fitness Wellness Mentor

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