Lat Pulldowns & Straight Pushdowns Exercise to widen your lats

Why are Lat Pulldowns so effective exercise?


If you are looking for wider lats then Lat pulldowns will help you do just that. Its a great complementary exercise to chin ups and is widely used by fitness trainers to build bigger lats.

Lat Pulldowns Start

Purpose -- To Build and widen the Upper lats.

Though Lat Pulldowns is a great way to build upper lats it should never replace Chin Ups as the number one muscle mass builders when it comes to upper back.

Execution Technique.

This exercise is performed using a Lat Pulldown machine.

Grips - This exercise can be performed using wide grips and narrow grips as well as pulling to the front and the back.

Lat Pulldowns Midpoint


1. Hold the Lat pull-down machine bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart and sit on the machine seat. Lock your knees under the support. At this point your arms are fully extended, stretching your back muscles.

2. Now keeping your upper back straight pull the bar down bringing it up to the chest. As you pull down squeeze your shoulder blades together and feel back muscles contracting.

3. Perform this movement using your upper lats and use the arms merely as a lever between bar and lats.

4. Now release the bar with controlled motion and stretch your lats as much as possible.

Question - Should I lean backwards during lat pull downs?

Answer - Keeping a straight back is the best way to stimulate your lattissimus dorsi muscle group. Leaning backwards places a greater emphasis on rhomboid muscles. Also since back training needs better muscle isolation I suggest you stay away from these cheating methods which places greater emphasis on your arms and rhomboids and not on the target muscle group which is lats itself.

Points to remember

  • Exhale while you exert.{ While moving up here }
  • Go full range of motion and concentrate on you back muscles doing the major work.
  • Avoid rising yourself from the seat.
  • Perform the lift in a slow, controlled manner without using momentum. Remember NO MOMENTUM at all costs as it reduces the stress and gives poor results.

Safety and Efficiency Tips

1. Lower the bar to the front of chest and not behind the neck as it causes cervical muscles and joints stress.

2. Raise the bar completely until the shoulder are just raises and lower the shoulders first before pulling with the lattissimus muscles.

3. Inability to feel their back muscles during lat pull-downs is a common complaint I hear from people. This is because of the fact that back muscles are difficult to train as they are not visible and target muscles difficult to be targeted. This can be overcome with concentration {mind-muscle connection } and correct lifting technique as mentioned above.

Just to it.

Variation of Pull Downs

There are a few variations of the regular Pull downs helping you add a variety to your workouts.

1. Wide Grip Behind the neck pull downs - Here you perform regular pull downs but pull yourself behind the neck and touch your rear neck to the bar. I suggest that you stay from behind the neck exercises as it can easily cause shoulder entrapment syndrome and rotator cuff problems in some individuals.

2. Close grip pull downs - This exercise helps in lengthening the lats. Here you take a close grip and pull up to a point where your hands are very close to your chest in the final position.

3. Straight arm pushdowns: When doing lat pull-downs you may find that your arms tire before your lats do. To avoid this you can do the straight arm variation once your arms tire.

In this version which is done standing, you stand in front of a cable machine holding the bar at arms length. keeping your arms locked at the elbows press-down the bar until it is very close to your thighs.

Raise the bar up under controlled tension keeping your arm straight.

By eliminating arm muscle action, this exercise will help you target upper back or lats muscles.

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