Move Of The Week: Lat Pulldown
The Lat Pulldown can be extremely beneficial in building upper body strength and targeting the upper body muscles, especially the latissimus dorsi, biceps, and deltoids muscles. It is also quite beneficial in keeping the shoulders healthy. A lat pulldown exercise not only targets the latissimus dorsi muscles, but also strengthens the lower and middle trapezius, rhomboids, and serratus anterior muscles. If you’re trying to improve your pull-ups, the lat pulldown can be a great accessory exercise to add to your routine because it’s a similar movement to a pull-up, using the same muscles.
How To: Hold the handle slightly wider than elbows. Lean back slightly with a neutral spine (no rounding). Do so by anchoring the body using the core muscles (abdominals and paraspinal muscles) to stabilize the spine. Aside from the arm movement, the body should remain stationary throughout the exercise. Pull the weight down to centre of the chest (sternum) and drive the elbows down. Then slowly release the weight in a controlled manner to the starting position. Perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
Common Mistakes: Pulling the bar behind the head. This increases the risk of neck and shoulder injuries such as shoulder impingement, rotator cuff problems or anterior shoulder instability. Another mistake is using too much weight resulting in a need for momentum to complete the movement. Remember – quality over quantity.
Modifications: There are several modifications to the lat pull down that can keep your workouts fresh. Two-handed as shown above, single-arm pulldowns with handles, or something as simple as changing the grip from a pronated grip (overhand) to a supinated grip (underhand) or a neutral grip (palms facing each other).