How to do the Lat Pulldown exercise-Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Table of Contents

Outlines to be discussed

  • What is Lat-pulldown
  • Lat pulldown benefits
  • How to do the Lat Pulldown
  • Common mistakes you should avoid
  • Modifications and variations

Pull-ups phenomena are used for building muscles and upper body strength but actually, it’s very hard and horrible.

As it is a very hard exercise so a lot of people crap out after just a few pull-ups which actually reduces your motivation during a workout. On the other hand, Lat Pulldown has replaced it.

It involves similar movements to the pull-ups, it challenges your upper and mid-back muscles, arms and grips but you have more control over how much you lift and can slow the tempo right down to help increase muscle size rapidly.

What is Lat Pull Down

Lat pulldown is one of the basic exercises that work for the back muscles, it is a strength training exercise usually designed to develop the latissimus dorsi muscle.

This exercise is performed in the gym with the help of a lat pulldown machine. It mostly performs the functions of downward rotation and depression of the scapulae combined with extension and adduction of the shoulder joint.

Lat pulldown Benefits

  • Lat pulldown exercise mostly hits the latissimus dorsi muscles which are commonly called “Lats” that is present just under the armpits and spreading across and down the back.
  • By separating the back muscles with this exercise, you can especially focus on these muscles without exhausting your triceps and biceps.
  • In this exercise it is very important to target your back muscles to help with proper posture and to comfort and ease pulling movement such as opening a door, starting a lawnmower.

How to Do the Lat pulldown Exercise

Lat Pulldown

Before starting this exercise, you should remember some points like

  • Sit properly on the pulldown seat with feet flat on the floor.
  • Properly check the height of the bar, adjust the height of the bar by reducing or increasing the chain or cable that supports the bar, or your seat height.
  • Adjust the knee pad so that the upper thighs are tucked firmly under the pad. This will assist you when you apply effort to the bar.

After a complete look up on the important things, if you are a beginner then start this exercise on a lat pulldown machine with the help of a trainer.

  • Grasp the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width with a closed, overhand grip. Other positions and grips are possible but start with this standard position.
  • While doing this keep your torso and spine in a neutral position with a slight backward lean.
  • Exhale while pulling the bar down towards the upper chest. Avoid the internal rotation of the shoulder during the pull while keeping the elbows pointed down toward the floor.
  • Continue this process of pulling down until the bar comes at the level of the chin. The pulling phase must be done with a smooth and controlled motion.
  • When the bar reaches the chin, then allow the bar to slowly return to the starting position while controlling the weight.
  • Continue until you complete eight to 12 repetitions in a set. Rest, then continue to complete your program of sets. 

Common mistakes you should avoid

Avoid these common mistakes so that you can get the most from this exercise and prevent strain or injury.

  • Arching Your Back

When you pull the bar down you must sit up straight and your chest must be lifted. Maintain the neutral spine can help to protect the lower back from injury.

  • Using Your Forearms

Always remember your forearms are not doing the work of pulling the bar down. You must activate your lats with the help of your armpits.

  • Holding the Bar Too Wide

You should avoid the holding bar too wide. If you are a beginner, you should only grab the bar just outside of your shoulder. Keep sure to point down your elbows when you lower the bar.

  • Using Momentum

Perform this pulldown exercise slowly and with control. Doing it fast uses the momentum and reduces the targeted muscles use.

Modifications and Variations

There are many different ways to perform the Lat pulldown exercise to meet your goals.

If you are a beginner you must start with the lighter weight and ensure the use of the correct form of this exercise. Increase the weight when you feel stronger back muscles.

There are many variations of the lat pulldown, and each one puts your body in different positions, which may affect how quickly the lats will grow from that exercise.

  • Wide-grip pulldown

wide grip lat pulldown reduces the range of motion which occurs at the shoulder joint but it allows the back muscles to pull down the arms and keep the limbs directly outsides of the body.

  • Close Grip lat pulldown

Another variation, lat pulldown close grip or close grip lat pulldown usually uses the shoulder-width overhand grip.

If you reduce the distance between hands then arms can no longer stay directly to the sides of the body whenever you pull the bar down or the arms are a little more in front of the body.

This alteration in the shoulder angle creates a wider or greater range of motion at both elbow and shoulder allowing for more time under tension.

  • V-Bar Pull-Down

While targeting your lats V-bar pull-down is an effective option to recover or improve the centre of your back.

If you choose this exercise then lean back slightly more than the normal to allow for the full range of motion whenever you bring the bar down to just in front of your chest.

Move slowly the weight while returning it to its initial position. Ensure that your muscles reach a deep stretch at the top of the movement.

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