The lat pull down is a key exercise for your back that primarily works the lats and the width of your back.
The shoulders and biceps are also involved to a lesser degree in the exercise.
Major Muscles Targeted: Lats
Other Muscles Targeted: Biceps, Shoulders, Middle Back
- Set up a pull down machine with a wide grip bar attached to the top connector.
- Adjust the weight stack for the set you are about to perform.
- When sat at the machine, your legs should be bent at approx 90 degrees. Adjust the thigh pad so that it rests against your knees. The thigh pads will help prevent your body from lifting up during the exercise.
- Grip the bar with the palm of your hands facing forward. A variation of wide, medium and narrow grip is best to work the whole of the lat area.
- With your arms fully extended above you, lean back very slightly and create a small curve in your lower back. Stick your chest out and keep your head and eyes looking forward. This is the starting position.
- Pull the bar straight down in a controlled manner until it touches your upper chest (or just above), whilst bringing your shoulders and elbows down. Breathe out during this movement.
- At the point where the bar touches your chest, pause and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Hold for a second or 2 and slowly raise the bar to the starting position whilst breathing in. This completes 1 rep.
Do’s and Do Not’s
DO keep the bar under full control during the exercise.
DO squeeze your shoulder blades and back muscles once the bar reaches your chest.
DO mentally focus on working your lats. Imagine pulling them down in a semi-circle movement.
DO NOT allow the bar to crash down onto the weight stack at the end of the rep.
DO NOT lean too far back when pulling the bar down. Doing so will engage the arms and shoulders more and place less emphasis on the lats.
DO NOT move any other part of your body other than your arms. No swinging or sinking down in order to produce momentum.
It is not recommended to pull the bar behind the head during this exercise. Doing so will place unnecessary stress on the neck and rotator cuff which could cause an injury.
If you have any comments, questions or tips for the lat pull down, please drop them below.