lat pulldown

back exercises

The lat pulldown machine is not to be missed, particularly if you’re looking for that X shaped physique. This machine will also work your shoulders, triceps, traps and forearms as secondary muscle groups.

How to perform a lat pulldown

Almost all assisted machines will have instructions on them, so take the time to read the instructions if you’re unsure.

Adjust the knee pad to get started. When seated you should be able to tuck your knees in comfortably, with the pad resting on the tops of your thighs. Once the knee pad is in the correct position, select your desired start weight.

Keep your feet firmly on the floor and grip the bar with a wide grip. Keep your chest high and your back straight. Lean back slightly and slowly pull the bar down towards your chest. Pull through your elbows and squeeze your lats and shoulder blades back as you pull all the way down.

Take the bar back up into start position through the same controlled movement. Go for reps.

The instructions above apply to a wide grip lat pull down. You can use a closer grip on the bar, or switch the bar out for the V-bar which will allow an even closer grip. Note that a closer grip will place more emphasis on your biceps.

Lat pulldown: Common mistakes to avoid

It should be noted that sloppy form on any exercise is not recommended. If you are performing your lat pulldown with incorrect form, you may recruit other muscle groups during the exercise. Equally you could poorly engage the intended muscle groups, which will hinder your triceps gains.

Always keep the muscle you intend to work in mind when you are performing the exercise, this is the ideal way to ensure best results.

Avoid using momentum or ‘swinging’ through your reps. Sit upright and move the weight in a clean and controlled manner.

Reps and sets

As with all exercises, your lat pulldown needs to be worked into your overall bigger picture. Reps and sets performed depend entirely on where you are physically and of course your desired outcomes.

Beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. For the purpose of laying a solid foundation to build upon; don’t over complicate things. The most important thing at this stage is to get started, the rest will most definitely come with experience.

On the other hand, more advanced lifters will need to consider their current strength and goals.