Are pulldowns done behind your neck good or bad for your health ? When people consider scientific facts, the hypothesis is that all scientific studies are pure fact, based on research, however when you look deeper into the subject you will find that it’s not all so black and white.
Research scientists that are studying weight training aren’t perfect human beings, and just like people in every other industry there are a few bad eggs in a vast majority of good ones. To prove this, we are going to talk about an article in the Journal of Strength of Conditioning Research, by scientists from Brazil. These people did a study that compared lat pulldowns done in front of the neck (regular pulldowns) – and the behind the neck pulldowns.
Their research showed that the frontal lat pulldowns were far better for you than the ones done behind your back, but this conclusion wasn’t based on any type of scientific research since the two exercises got exactly the same results on the tests.
Muscle activity was the same, which means there is no reason to call one of them superior to the other, but they went as far as to say that behind the neck pulldowns are so bad that you shouldn’t even do them. They destroyed this claim themselves too, by saying that their research didn’t conclusively show an increased risk of shoulder injuries with the back pulldowns, even if a lot of people claim that there is a correlation.
The conclusion is simple – don’t drop your behind the neck pulldowns. They are still effective, but you need to do them with the proper form. These researchers took pictures of their study subjects performing both exercises and they were done with such bad form that you can’t even take their results seriously.
If you want to do this exercise correctly, bend forward at your waist so that you don’t have to flex your neck forward and risk hurting yourself. All we need to do is differentiate the good from the bad studies so that we know which research is relevant and which isn’t. This Brazilian study definitely isn’t, so keep pumping those behind the neck pulldowns !