The back is a huge area and performing different exercises is essential in order to strengthen the upper posterior region. One of the resistance training exercises that strengthen the back is the lat pulldown. This multi-joint movement is a back exercise. Some of the back muscles involved in the lat pulldown are the latissimus dorsi, which is the largest muscle in the back, and the rhomboids. Other muscles engaged in the movement are the rear deltoids and the biceps.
Lat Pulldown Benefits
- Strength: Lat pulldowns help strengthen your back.
- Hypertrophy: They help you to get that awesome V-back. Besides increasing width in the upper back, lat pulldowns give you thickness.
- Posture: Lat pulldowns 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 pulldowns help you deal and prevent back pain since back pain is commonly caused by an unstable lower back.
How to Do Lat Pulldowns
- Approach the lat pulldown 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.
You can perform lat pulldowns in diverse ways. You can switch the grip from neutral, as delineated above, to close or wide grip. You can also switch from the overhand grip to an underhand grip. Additionally, you can switch the long bar for D-Handles, short handle, or a V-handle.
Lat Pulldown 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 pulldowns behind the neck, which can cause injuries and avoid targeting the lats properly. You should always keep the bar in front of you.
- Bringing the bar down below your chest allowing the elbows point back: This removes the tension from the lats and causes the shoulders to come forward. Not only that but it can cause injuries.
- Using momentum: Bouncing removes lat engagement toward middle back engagement. If you are using momentum to move the weight, you need to go lighter.
- Grabbing the bar too wide: Being too wide shortens the range of motion and can irritate the shoulder joint.
Lat Pulldown Video
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