The lat pull down is one of the main exercises for back width. Also it is a great exercise for beginners that can’t do pull ups, because the possibility to adjust the weight you lift. If executed correctly, the main muscles it targets are Lattisimus dorsi (or short – lats) and rhomboids. Secondary muscles involved in this movement are the shoulders, biceps and forearms.
The equipment needed for executing the lat pull-down is usually a weighted cable pulley station with adjustable weights and seat.
Execution of lat pulldowns:
1. Grab the bar with a grip that is wider than shoulder width and palms facing forward. Note that there is also a close grip lat pull down where you grab the bar at shoulders width.
2. Sit on the seat and make sure your legs are sitting comfortably under the support rollers and place feet firmly on the ground. At this point the weight in the stack goes up.
3. Straighten your back and without leaning back pull the bar until it touches your chest. Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you are in this position. Stay in this position for a couple of seconds for a maximum contraction. You should exhale during this part of the movement.
4. After a couple of seconds of contracting your shoulder blades together, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position until your arms are fully extended and the back muscles are fully stretched. Inhale during this part of the movement.
A couple of tips you should know about the execution of the lat pull-down
– Don’t lean back while you pull the weight. This way you will activate your lower back and won’t get maximum results from this exercise. If you can’t pull back the weight without leaning back then you should decrease the weight.
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– Try to concentrate on pulling the weight with your back and not the arms. You can accomplish this by grabbing the bar with a “hook” grip (without placing your thumb around the bar) and concentrating on squeezing the back muscles instead of squeezing the arms.