The lat muscle is a hard-to-target area and is the number one reason there are so many lifters have lats that are often underdeveloped. If you lack an understanding of how to properly implement a lat exercise, and how to effectively target this tricky area, you may discover that your biceps are the muscles that are actually taking the brunt of a back exercise.
There are 4 very effective tips for a proper lat pulldown that once learned are going to make all the difference in the world in your ability to effectively minimize the load on your biceps while maximizing the effectiveness of the movement on your lats. Proper form is everything here. If you use these tips during your next workout you will be amazed at the results.
• Tip #1 involves the position of your body. Instead of your upper body being rigid and straight, maintain a small arch in your lower back while puffing your chest out. This is the proper position you need to take the pressure off surrounding muscles and increasing the activation of the lats, your real target area.
• Tip #2 is all about body position. Lean slightly back instead of sitting upright as you perform the exercise. A 70 degree angle will work just fine. Leaning back slightly will take the pressure off your rear shoulders and upper back and shift it to your lats.
• Tip#3 is pinching your shoulder blades together and maintaining this position throughout the whole lift. A great many lifters ignore this tip, but you will notice a huge difference if you just try it. Pinching your shoulder blades together is definitely part of the proper pulldown form.
• Tip#4 is having everything essentially in place to perform a proper pulldown lat. Take a look at yourself in the mirror before you begin. Is your lower back slightly arched? Is your chest puffed out? Are you leaning back slightly at a 70 degree angle? Finally, are your shoulder blades pinched together? If yes, then you are ready to perform your first rep.
• Grab the bar and prepare to pull. Pull through your elbows instead of your wrists and forearms. (this may take a few reps to get used to but it is a very useful tip for any back exercise you do)
Keep in mind that you should never try behind the neck pulldowns. The spine and shoulders are put in an unnatural position that can potentially increase your chance of injuring yourself. Use the bar in front and pull down to your upper chest. It’s easier to imagine you are pulling your self up than pulling the bar down.
Utilizing these tips and implementing a proper back workout routine will go a long way to realizing well developed lats, a more muscular, wider back with greater muscle mass that you would get if you did not add this to your workout routine. Focus on your routine when using these techniques and it’s guaranteed to improve the look and feel of your back.