We often hear that using weight machines often result in muscle imbalance or they aren’t functional. Even though most of these machines will help you to warm up or train proper movement, stabilizing muscles and building up strength.
However, if you aren’t using the proper technique, it usually results in poor muscle development or sometimes sprains.
Out of many machine exercises, one is the lat pulldown machine and I personally feel that most of the individual do not put in the love that it actually deserves. Not to mention the alternatives, pull-ups, and chin-ups, are pretty difficult to do.
Lat pulldowns, when executed correctly, can be very beneficial to build up your upper body strength, mass, and health.
This exercise targets your latissimus dorsi, lower and middle trapezius, rhomboids, and serratus anterior but mainly your lats are the most affected by this exercise. Not only does it allow full range of motion for pull-ups but also gives high stabilization to your spine during exercises like deadlifts and squats.
Learning the right technique and proper form is something that is hard to learn from only pictures. So, we have included a video guide as well that takes you through a step-by-step instruction on how to perform the lat pulldowns.
How To Correctly Perform The Lat Pulldown Exercise
We’ll be sharing with you some tips and some potential errors to avoid. Before that, let me tell you in a step-by-step manner on how to perform the lat pulldowns.
Lat Pulldown How-To
- The first thing to do after you sit on a lat pulldown machine is to adjust the knee pad to your height. This will prevent your body from being lifted up when the bar is stretched back.
- Once adjusted, grab the bar with your palms facing forward and spaced out more than your shoulder’s width apart. You can also keep a medium grip, but wide grips work the best.
- With both your arms extended in front of you and gripping the bar, bring back your torso at 30-degree angle and keep your chest out. This will be our starting position.
- Finally, pull the bar down till it touches your upper chest. Try to concentrate on squeezing your back muscles when the bar touches your chest.
- Make sure your torso is stationary throughout the movement. Also, do not rumble your forearms. They should only be used to smoothly pull down the bar.
- Hold the contraction for about a second, then raise the bar back to the starting position.
- Do three sets of 8-12 reps each with varying weights.
Lat Pulldown Technique Tips
- Keep the chest out
- Keep your elbows pointed straight down
- Always squeeze the lats when you pull down
- Lower the bar just below your chin
- Always use the V-grip handle
- Grab the bar using a wider grip
Errors to Avoid
Pulling the bar behind your neck
Nope! Nope! Nope! And Nope! Behind the neck pulldowns should be avoided. Doing this will only hinder your range of motion of the lats which will be counterproductive for your workouts.
Pulling Below The Chest Or Pointing Elbows Backward
Doing this will disengage your lats and cause the shoulders to come forward. Anyone with cranky shoulders will feel irritation and lingering pain as well. Plus, it may create an imbalance in your lats muscles.
Using Body Momentum
You have to keep the torso stationary. Using the body momentum will only change your angle and will become a mid-back exercise instead of lat pulldown. If you feel like using the body momentum, it’s a clear indication that you are using too much weight.
Going Too Wide
OK! I did mention to use a wide grip but don’t exaggerate it. Using a too wide of a grip would eventually hinder your range of motion and you might suffer a shoulder joint irritation as well.
Following the proper technique, using the tips mentioned and avoiding the errors, you’ll be able to increase the size of your lats and build a sexy V-shape back.