Physical Activity/Pulldown Exercise

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The lat pulldown is an excellent exercise for working the Lattissimus Dorsi. When doing this exercise there are several things to focus on.

  • Begin by sitting in an upright position with the thigh pad set snug against the thighs.
  • Next, the grip of the bar should be outside shoulder width (wide grip).
  • Now grip the bar with palms pronated (facing away from you).
  • Once you have the proper grip, slightly recline while maintaining the arch in your back. This allows for a better angle and better clearance during the ROM (range of motion).
  • The important factor here is to maintain this angle by keeping proper posture. NO SWINGING OF THE BODY - to help think of pulling your belly button towards your spine and continue keeping your core contracted. This is your starting point.
  • Now the most important factor when working the lats:
    Your first motion should begin by pulling the scapula (shoulder blade) down without bending the elbows. This first motion is so important because the movement is being initiated by the lats and not the biceps. The biceps are only an assistant muscle during this and other back exercises. Keep in mind this is a very small movement - only about an inch. You should immediately feel the lats contract right below the arm pit area.
  • Continue pulling till the bar reaches the top of the chest. Keeping your posture, slowly raise the bar back to the beginning position and repeat.

This may take a few times before getting familiar with the first movement occurring at the shoulder. The reason for this is that it’s natural for the body to want the elbows to bend first which recruits the biceps much more than needed. There is no way to eliminate the biceps; what you are trying to negotiate is the degree of assistance. You may have experienced with using too much biceps after finishing a set and feeling the arms being fatigued and nothing in the lats. Please keep in mind this is not always the case, however, it’s much more common than not. So once again the two main factors to focus on are: 1. Keep your body position slightly reclined, not allowing any movement at any time; and 2. Initiate the movement with the shoulders not the elbows.