Lat Pulldown Machine Exercise: How to Do & Grip Variations

lat pulldown machine exercise

Hello visitors and readers. Today we are talking about an exercise for the broadest muscles, training which allows you to make your back wider and give it the much-desired V-shape. The Lat Pulldown machine exercise is great for these purposes. He will be discussed in this article.

What is Lat Pulldown?

The Lat Pulldown is technically relatively easy, especially when compared to the lunges. But despite this, ignoring any aspect of the technique can reduce the effectiveness of the exercise to almost zero.

Lat Pulldown is a basic exercise. That is, the elbow and shoulder joints are involved here, and the load is also distributed among several muscle arrays.

The lion’s share of the load is taken by the “wings”, but at the same time the biceps are also not weakly loaded. Therefore, the challenge for any athlete when performing Lat Pulldown is to try to isolate the lats from the biceps. That is, you need to exclude the biceps from work as much as possible, and load the lats.

To do this, you need to know several nuances that are associated with this exercise and the technique for performing it. The first nuance concerns the grip width.

Grip Variations: Which is Better?

When choosing a grip, you can face some dilemma. The problem is that the emphasis of the load during the execution of the upper pull of the block depends on the width of the grip. The wider the grip, the more the lats work; the narrower the grip, the stronger the biceps are included in the work. And what’s the dilemma? – you ask. Need to swing your back? So, it is obvious that wide grip is a priority for us. Isn’t that right?

Not certainly in that way. The catch lies in the length of the range of motion. I have already touched on this issue more than once. Using the wide position of the hands on the handle, you will have to work in a smaller amplitude, which, in turn, will affect the quality of the working of the wings.

If Lat Pulldown is done with a narrow grip, then the range of motion will be much longer. Do you think this is good? Yes – if you want to pump your biceps, because with a narrow grip, it will be the main load on it. This is no good, our priority in this exercise is to make the back wider, but not in any way increase the biceps in size. For him, exercises such as standing barbell raises or hammer curls with dumbbells are more suitable.

To tell you the truth, this situation is not a dilemma, since you can choose an intermediate option and do Lat Pulldown with a medium grip. Grip the handle so that the little fingers are in the places where the handle is bent – this will be the best solution.

lat pulldown exercise

Effective Latissimus Dorsi Workout

The choice of the optimal grip does not yet guarantee that the main load will be directed precisely to the target muscles. It is important to get into the correct position on the machine, and the first thing to understand is that Lat Pulldown will never bring the desired result without doing a back arch.

This is extremely important for a quality back workout. Some athletes confuse belt deflection with backward deflection, which, by the way, is also acceptable within reasonable limits. But, if they deviate backwards, one more aspect that affects the quality of the exercise comes to naught.

This nuance is the vector of force application – it must be strictly vertical. The handle with a cable attached to it should descend to the top of the chest strictly at a right angle; even a slight deviation can ruin the exercise. In addition, the wrists must also move strictly along this vector.

It takes a little to keep up with these technical nuances and not think about them all the time. It is necessary to move as close as possible to the machine, securing your hips under special rollers; grab the handle with an optimal grip, arch your back and perform Lat Pulldown.

But that’s not all. There are two more nuances that cannot be neglected. When performing the exercise, do not forget about the elbows. At the bottom of the amplitude, they need to be wound back, and then returned to their original position. The second nuance concerns the shoulder blades, bringing your elbows back, try to bring them together.

These were the main parameters that relate to the correct technique for performing Lat Pulldown. Observing all of them, you can be sure – in the exercise, the main load will fall on the latissimus dorsi muscles.

How Can I Improve the Quality of Muscle Contractions?

To achieve a high-quality contraction of the target muscles, several simple conditions must be performed in the upper and lower phases of the exercise. At the top point of the amplitude, do not straighten your arms to the end, that is, you should not close the elbow joint. This is to reduce the risk of injury and to maintain tension in the lats.

At the lowest point of the amplitude, you need to fix your position for a short time. This helps the lats achieve their peak contraction. Often these two conditions are ignored, but I recommend not to do this, because one good workout is better than a dozen bad ones.

how to do lat pulldown

How to Do Lat Pulldown?

So, summarizing all of the above, you can imagine the Lat Pulldown technique in stages.

  1. Get into a position on the machine, moving as close to it as possible. Fasten the hips under special rollers;
  2. Grab bar using the medium grip;
  3. Bend your back in the lower back, while not leaning back;
  4. Take a deep breath;
  5. As you exhale, pull the bar towards the top of your chest. Make sure that the force vector is strictly vertical. The elbows should be pulled back and the shoulder blades brought together;
  6. Stay in the lower phase for one second;
  7. Return to the starting position without straightening your arms all the way.

This is how Lat Pulldown works correctly. Nothing complicated, the main thing is to take the right position, as well as use the optimal grip. When all conditions are met, this exercise can help you create a truly wide back.

Lat Pulldown can be used in combination with other exercises. For example, with Bent-Over Barbell Row. Thank you for your attention.