Lat Pull Downs 101 – Optimal Exercise Execution
The ability to use cables is crucial in matching resistance profiles to effectively train many upper body and lower body muscle groups. Today we take a look at the lat pull-down. This machine is a staple in most commercial gyms and training studios and is pretty simple, right? Pull the bar to your chest and train your lats, if only it was that simple!
It is important to first understand the anatomy of the lats and their function. The lats connect to the upper arm (humerus) and pelvis through the thoracolumbar fascia. The main functions are extension and adduction of the humerus as well as a role in counteracting the upper traps by pulling the upper arm down.
Therapy Note – Most upper trap and AC joint issues are connected to a dysfunctional lat.
There are two most common ways to execute a lat pull-down, one works the lats one doesn’t! Both are great exercises just understand when to use each!
Lat Focused Pull-Down
– Initiate by depressing your upper arm and engaging lats
– Continuously focus on driving upper arm down depressing your upper arm
– In the short position (arms at side) focus on pulling your upper arm down AND into your side
Upper-Back Focused Pull-Down
– Initiate by retracting shoulder blades and driving elbows back
– Continuously focus on squeezing shoulder blades (retracting) while driving upper back behind you
– Ensure continuous tension on upper back/mid traps by keeping shoulders depressed