Ways to Lat Pulldown Exercises

Lat pulldown exercises, also called cable lat pulldown, is a compound exercise, that is designed to stress and develop the latissimus dorsi or the lat muscles. To know the exact location of these muscles, you will have to stand with your elbow in the air at about 45 degrees in front of your shoulder. Rotate your elbow in a smooth arc down and back until it stops, and the elbow is pointing down and back towards the floor at a 45 degree angle. Now if you touch your back with the other hand, you will have a bunched up feeling in your back, that is the lat muscle. The lat pulldown exercises are called compound exercises because it involves the movement of two joints, namely elbow and shoulder. When you do the full range of motion of the exercise, it works the biceps and muscles of the middle arm. The motion of lat pulldown is similar to the chin-ups.

Using Lat Machine

If you are using the lat pulldown machine to do this shoulder exercise, keep your back straight and place your feet on the floor. Now, slowly pull the overhead bar down to your chin level or a little lower in a smooth motion, as you squeeze the shoulder blades together. Make sure there is no jerking motion, as there are chances of getting injured. When you pull the bar down, do not try to force the bar lower than your shoulders and keep your forearms more or less upright. Your arms also should not be pushed forward out of the vertical plane in order to drag the bar lower. Any such movements can cause torquing of the nerves or muscles. While returning the bar back, make sure you do so in slow motion and return the bar to its full height. Slowly repeat this arm exercise. Once you have finished with your set, make sure you do not release the bar suddenly and clash the weights. This can also jerk your muscles. Therefore, stand up and slowly release the bar, so that the weights do not clash.

When you are doing lat pulldown, you should ensure, that you do not sway back too far. You may have to sway back a little, but make sure it is not too much. The overhead bar should be pulled down in front of your neck and not behind your neck. This can be dangerous for more than one reason. One of the prominent reason for this is that the shoulder and neck joints come together in such a position, that you will become vulnerable to injury. You may have noticed people do practice this version of the exercise as well, but it is not recommended for beginners. This can be practiced once you get used to the exercise.

Using Resistance Band

If you are not a gym person, or do not have access to a lat pulldown machine, then you can use the resistance band to do this exercise. We will do this resistance band exercise, one side at a time. Stand and hold the band in both the hands above your head. Place your hands a little wider than shoulder-width. Stand straight and engage the core muscles. Keep the left hand stable, contract the lat muscles on the right side and pull the elbow down towards your ribcage. Slowly come back to the starting position and repeat the exercise 10 to 12 times. Then change sides, and repeat the same on the other side as well.

When you are doing the lat pulldown with the resistance band, you are in control of the resistance. If you desire more resistance, then you will have to hold the hands closer together. Alternatively, you can use a heavy band. When you are doing the exercise, do not move the non-working arm, you will have to instead contract the muscles and keep the arm stable, when the other arm is in movement.

When you do the lat pulldown, if you experience any pain, then it is recommended, you stop doing the exercise immediately. If you suffer from shoulder or elbow injury, then you may want to talk to your physician before you do this exercise.