Many variation of grip is possible with lat pull down machine, such as narrow under-grip, reverse-grip, and parallel grip handle. Changing your grip makes difference to muscle activation during the lat pulldown. It is a compound exercise which uses your large portion of back and biceps.
As the name itself suggests, the lat pulldown has as its primary target the latissimus dorsi. This is the large fan shaped muscle that takes up an exceedingly large portion of the back. While the midback is involved somewhat in the pulldown movement (depending heavily on how it’s done), the vertical line of pull tends to take the midback muscles out of the movement.
Since the arms are involved and there is bending at the elbow, of course the various elbow flexors, the biceps and brachialis, are also involved. Much of which is involved and to what degree depends on the grip used.
Start with your legs positioned snugly under the kneepads of a pull down machine. You may need to adjust the seat height and leg restraint accordingly. For seat height, it should be set to the position where your upper legs are horizontal and knees are at 90 degrees when you are seated.
Your feet should be flat on the floor.
- Grasp the wide bar firmly with the grip which palms facing away from your body.
- Your hands should be about twice shoulder-width apart.
- Pull the bar down to the top of your chest. Slightly arc your back. Exhale as you do this.
- Slowly raise the bar back to the starting position. This is the stage where your back muscles are working very hard. Exhale as you do this.
- Perform 3-4 sets with 8-12 repetitions each set.
- Do not pull the bar behind your neck.
- Do not lean back too far and pull the weight down using your body weight. Put the process of pulling the weight using your back, not on the shoulder muscles.
- Do not allow the weight stack to drop quickly down after reaching your chest. Maintain the tension all the way back to the start position with controlled motion.
- Lock your elbows. As you pull down the bar, maintain your elbow position until slightly below 90 degrees.
Here are some videos tutorial that might help you. Note that these videos are not mine. I picked the best video tutorial to help you guys perform the correct movement of a particular training and gain results.
If you want to train the lats muscle, but you are not strong enough to do pull up, the wide grip front pull-down will help you better prepare yourself for pull up by exercising the relevant muscles. With the machine, you can increase the weight slowly until you achieve your own body weight. Another difference between this workout and pull-up is that you pull down the weight in wide grip lat pull-down whereas you lift your own body up in pull-up.
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