Movement Monday – Lat Pulldown

Movement Monday – Lat Pulldown

This week for ‘Movement Monday’ Authentic Health Coach Madeleine breaks down one of the more common movements in the gym the Lat Pulldown.

What Are Our Lats & Why Should We Strengthen Them?

our lats are your biggest upper body/back muscle. The origin and insertion points of the latissimus dorsi can be seen here.

Posterior view: Well developed lats give the upper body a more triangular shape – have a look at a swimmers body! Their arms are constantly in a “downwards pull” in the water, and therefore they typically develop size & strength through their lats.

Lat Pull Down Benefits

Whether your goal is body composition, strength, or performance based, we could all benefit from developing strong lats.

From a body composition perspective, developing your lats will give your upper body more shape, and can help to make the waist appear smaller due to the angle in which the lats run along the upper body.

From a strength and performance perspective – the lats assist your bigger lifts: to brace your core effectively, and will also help you to move a heavier load with more total tension/irradiation throughout the body.

Muscles Used

  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Teres major
  • Rear deltoids
  • Trapezius
  • Rhomboids
  • Levator scapulae
  • Biceps brachii
  • Brachialis
    And more!

Lat Pull Down Form

Below we are going to go through step by step how to perform the Lat pull down with effective technique. We will be describing the technique using a prone grip

  1. Begin by positioning your hands on the bar roughly shoulder width apart with your palms facing forward (knuckles up) and thumbs around the bar.
  2. Allow the weight to pull you into a completely lengthened position (full stretch) for your starting position.
  3. Take a deep breathe in and break the bar creating tension through your upper lats.
  4. Begin the movement breathing out and then pulling your shoulders down towards your hips. As your elbows begin going into flexion (bending) allow your sternum to go up towards the ceiling and your spine to move into thoracic extension.
  5. Bring the bar down to just under the collarbone, by getting it down to this end range it allows you to activate the lower area of the Latissimus Dorsi.
  6. Take a deep breathe in and allow the bar to go back to a completely lengthened (stretched) position. Repeat.

Key Cues

  • elevate shoulders and allow the Lats to lengthen.
  • lock the shoulder blades down toward your “back pockets” or hips. As you do this, think of lifting your chest upward towards the handle or bar that you are using.
  • maintaining this position with the shoulder, scapula, and chest, pull the arms downward until the bar/handles are at your collarbone.
  • Carefully let arms go back to the top, keeping the shoulders down until the arms are nearly straight.
Lat Pulldown

When Should I Avoid The Lat Pulldown?

From a shoulder rehab perspective – some people who present with certain shoulder pathologies may be advised to avoid lat work as it is an internal rotator.. however! The lats also provide a downward (inferior) pull on the top of the arm (humerus) and can therefore actually be beneficial in some cases to assist shoulder rehab. It’s all context dependent! Consult with your physiotherapist/healthcare professional.

Potential Movement Limitations

  • Upper trapezius dominance
  • Tight pecs (minor and major)
  • Lower trap weakness
  • Limited extension through thoracic spine

These may result in elevated shoulders, anterior translation or “forward rolling” of the shoulders, and upper back flexion/rounding. Another key area to watch is that you aren’t pulling the bar/handles too low! This will pull your shoulders forward and your upper back into a rounded/flexed position. We only need to pull the bar to the collarbone

Lat Pull Down Variations

Grip: wide, narrow, underhand, overhand, neutral grip
Unilateral: single arm
Other variations: straight arm lat pushdown, straight arm rope pulldown

Yours In Health & Fitness

Madeleine Casley

Authentic Health Coach

Thanks for taking the time to read my ‘Movement Monday’ where I looked at the Lat Pulldown. If you’d like to learn more from me you can read my blog at P3 Performance. Got questions? our coaches are always available to answer your questions to the best of our ability, reach out to us through facebook, instagram, youtube, or via our website HERE

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Liked This Movement Monday? You can see previous ‘Movement Monday’s’ Below;

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