Lat Pulldowns


About Lat Pulldowns

The lat pulldown exercise is frequently performed incorrectly. From my own personal observations, I would say at least 40% of the gym patrons perform the movement by drawing the bar behind the head. Performing the lat pulldown exercise in this fashion has been shown to increase the risk of cervical disk (neck) herniation as well as increasing the potential to sustain a shoulder related injury due to the added stress placed on the shoulder capsule. The solution is simple; by bringing the bar down to the top of the chest, you can alleviate neck and shoulder stress and maximize the recruitment of the targeted muscle – the latissimus dorsi.

The “to-the-front” method of the lat pulldown exercise allows for full arm extension and increased scapular retraction – both of which will lead to a more effective muscle contraction. People also tend to swing in attempt to draw momentum for assistance. If you find yourself needing to do this, simply lighten the weight and perhaps find a different way to impress the ladies in the gym. Because honestly, this way isn’t working anyway 🙂


Lat Pulldown Video




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Exercise Instructions

  1. Grasp bar using a wide overhand grip. Using your bodyweight to pull the bar down, sit with thighs under padding and position feet flat on the floor.
  2. Arch torso and slightly lean back.
  3. Exhale and initiate movement by depressing your elevated shoulders while keeping the arms straight. Once shoulders are lowered, continue movement by bending arms and pulling the bar towards the top of the chest. Pause briefly.
  4. Inhale and lower back down to starting position at a controlled speed. Ensure that you achieve full arm extension and shoulder elevation with every repetition.
  5. Repeat until the desired number of repetitions are completed.

Exercise Variations

Performing the lat pulldown exercise with shoulder width/underhand grip will draw additional recruitment from the biceps as well as the muscles down the centre of the back.

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One Response to “Lat Pulldowns”

  1. […] a neurological standpoint, the chin-up/pull-up exercises are far more effective than the lat pulldown exercise for the development of the latissimus dorsi. In terms of functionality, the movement of pulling the […]