Lat Pulldowns

Muscles Targeted: The latissimus dorsi & rhomboids are primary movers of the lat pulldown exercise. Other muscles are involved to some extent, but our primary focus are muscles in the back. The lats one of the largest muscles of the back, and run along either side of the spine to below the top of the pelvis, and fan out to your sides attaching also to the upper arm bone. The rhomboids are deeper muscles located on either side of the shoulder blades.

Equipment Needed: A Lat machine with a high pulley attached to a weight stack. The bar pictured is a wide straight bar, but many different handles are available and are also good.

How to Perform: Grasp the bar in a medium or wider grip with the arms extended straight up overhead. Pull the bar towards the upper chest, until the elbows are bent and the upper arms have returned to position by your sides. Control the weight as you straighten the elbows back to the overhead start position.

Cautions: Perform this exercise by pulling the bar toward the front of the body rather than behind the neck, which can put the shoulder at risk of injury. Also, to work the back muscles efficiently, don't take a grip that is much wider than shoulder-width.

Variations or Substitutes: The lat pulldown can be performed with different width grips, or you can use a reverse or underhand grip. Different handle attachments, such as a "v" shaped handle or a rope can also be used.

Additional Comments: I find it helpful to grip the bar using a "false grip" where the thumb is placed on the same side of the bar as the rest of the fingers, rather than under the bar. You will have less of a tendency to over grip, and you will have a better feel of the working muscles.

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