Hey, are you looking to develop a perfect V-tapered body, or a slimmer waistline with a well-contoured envious figure?

Well, latissimus dorsi pulldown is a tailor-made work out for you. Many people complain that machine work out aggravates muscle problem. Lat pulldown is one machine that stands out in the crowd, dominated by rows and deadlifts. It has a holistic impact in shaping up your upper body contour. The exercise builds up upper body strength, enhances mass of the body and keeps the shoulders, healthy. Vertical pull downs, pull-ups and chin downs are extremely beneficial for shaping up your shoulders. In addition, lat pull-downs improve the stability of the lumbar spine and lower back, as well.

How to do a Lat Pulldown?

Most of the lat pulldown machines are pin-loaded with multiple weight options and a bar suspended freely from a pulley.

  • Grab the two sides of the bar with your hands wide apart from each other. Grip the bar at the very edge.
  • Sit down on the bench right below the bar. Adjust the seat to make sure your feet are touching the ground and knees are under the pads.
  • Look at the ceiling while bending a little backwards. Your waist is to remain in an arch back position.
  • Ensure that your elbows point downwards in a straight path as you pull down the bar.
  • Bring the bar right below the chin up to the upper chest.
  • Do not exert pressure on the shoulders, or else you may feel pain and discomfort.
  • Avoid jerky motions while pulling down and returning the bar. That might risk an injury.
  • Allow your upper back muscles to do most of the work.
  • While pulling down, follow a straight line avoiding the chin.
  • Repeat the process.

Avoid being tricked into believing that lat pulldown is a humble exercise with no variations. In reality, this simple looking machine offers more than one variation and is a hot favorite with regular gym goers.

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

wide grip lat pulldown

Popularly known as wide grip cable pull downs, these workouts primarily focus on increasing the lat width of your back and impart strength to the entire body.

  • Take a very firm grip on the edge of the bar near the bends. Ensure that your hands are spaced out at a distance wider than your shoulder width. This is the starting position.
  • While pulling down the bar, squeeze and retract shoulders to activate your back muscles specifically the lateral ‘dorsi’.
  • Avoid bending backwards in excess to prevent injury and pain.

Close Grip Lat Pulldown

close grip lat pulldown
  • For the close grip lat pulldown, grab the bar with your hands placed closer than your shoulder width.
  • While sitting, bend backwards approximately 30 degrees, creating a slight arch on your lower back and stick out your chest.
  • Bring down the bar up to the level of your upper chest. Focus on drawing your upper arms and shoulders down and back respectively.
  • After reaching the contracted position, squeeze your back muscles while your upper body remains stationary.
  • Calmly remain in the same position for few seconds as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Raise the bar to the starting position with extended arms and lats, inhaling deeply.

Straight Arm Lat Pulldown

straight arm lat pulldown
  • This workout is carried out in a standing posture. Grab the bar off from the pulley in the palms-down grip.
  • Extend your hands to place them at shoulder width and step back about two to three feet from the machine, until your arms are almost fully extended in front, with a slight bent at the elbows.
  • Bend your upper back backwards, to about 30 degrees creating a curve at the waist.
  • Pull down the bar to the level where your hands come down next to your thighs.
  • Contract your lats while pulling down the bar.
  • Breathe out during the process.
  • Go back to the initial position, while maintaining straight arms and inhaling deeply.

You can even perform a straight-arm lat pull down with a rope attachment, at home.

Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown

reverse grip lat pulldown

This work out regime activates your lower back muscles. Variation in the spacing between grips targets different back muscles and the benefits vary accordingly.

  • Focus on your lower lats with this great workout.
  • Grab the bar with an underhand grip.
  • The distance between your hands should be about your shoulder width.
  • Sitting on the adjustable bench, pull the bar straight down to your upper chest level.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the process all over again.

Lat Pulldown at Home

Have you started assuming that all of these fascinating workouts are only possible in a gym? Good news, readers, you might as well try some of them, in the comfort of your own home! You can mimic lat pull downs at home using resistance bands attached to a pullup bar or using your own bodyweight.

  • Fix up a pull up bar somewhere in your house, may be on a doorway. However, be careful so that it does not cause an obstruction.
  • Place your hands at about shoulder width while grabbing the bar and ensure your palms face away from your body.
  • Bend your knees and lift yourself up as high as possible.
  • Lower your body to the starting position and repeat the process.
  • You can also anchor resistance bands at the top of a pull up bar.
  • Sit down on the floor underneath the bands and hold the resistance bands just as you would hold a lat pull down bar.
  • You can also do a behind the neck pull downs or straight-arm lat pull downs by changing your position on the floor.

Muscles targeted during the Lat Pulldown Exercise

  • ‘Latissimus dorsi’ or simply lats, is the basic muscle that is strengthened by the work out.
  • The lat muscles originate at the thoracic and lumbar spine region, spanning over most of the back and connects to the humerus.
  • It is highly active during squats and deadlifts thus acting as a spinal stabilizer.
  • In addition, lat pulldown exercises also affect lower and middle trapezius, the rhomboids, and the serratus anterior.

The entire lat pulldown workout routine boils down to one fact. It keeps the spine erect and healthy. At the same time, it makes the spine stronger thereby holding the key to a healthy and fit body. Choose from among the variations according to your strength and ability.