The Lat Pulldown machine is among the popular gym equipment that helps to build upper body mass and strength while keeping your shoulders healthy. The vertical pulling exercises from the lat pulldown machine usually target the lats muscles and also the middle and lower trapezius, the serratus anterior and the rhomboids. The lats muscles are found on the lumbar and thoracic spine and are powerful muscles that stabilize the spine for posture.
If you are planning to buy the Lat Pulldown machine, you have to know that it is among the simplest machines to use; you just need to grab the bar and start pulling. It is because of this simplicity that the lat pulldown exercise is usually done incorrectly by most people. The exercise is supposed to benefit your shoulder health and strengthen your upper body, but if done badly, you will not only lose the effectiveness of the exercise, but you will also get an injury.
The three typical mistakes to avoid while doing the Lat Pulldown exercise include:
Pulling the bar behind your neck
The shoulder joint might be one of the most flexible joints in the body, but it was not designed for moves like pulling behind the neck. If you press and pull the shoulder joint for a long-term, especially behind the neck, you will incur numerous shoulder problems such as rotator cuff tears and impingement. The correct way to do the Lat Pulldown is by pulling the bar to the top of the chest under the neck to where the collarbone is situated. The proper form of doing this is by keeping your back arched; the chest should be pushed forward, elbows slightly behind your torso with the shoulders retracted. Ensure that you slightly lean back to let the bar clear the front of your face. Avoid swinging your upper body backward in a bid to gain momentum during the pulldown and just allow your arms and upper back muscles to do the work.
Pulling the bar to the waistline
This is another mistake where people pull the bar into their lower rib cage area or the waist. When performing this move, the lat muscles are not engaged. Instead, it’s the arm muscles that are involved, and this initiates shoulder stress. This is a typical mistake seen when performing the Lat Pulldown. Make sure that the bar is pulled to the top of the chest for safe and effective execution of the exercise.
Too wide hand grip
The Lat Bar is usually wide, and most people mistakenly think that they need to grit it at the far ends. The Lat bar was designed wide to suit everyone at the gym. One reason why a grip too wide is a mistake is that it will reduce the motion range during the exercise. This means that the muscles are neither engaged nor stimulated at this point. Hence they will not develop. Secondly, a wide grip exerts extra stress on the shoulder muscles increasing the separation in the shoulder joint. This may bring about shoulder problems.
For a wide grip, one is supposed to catch the bar at 3-5 inches wider than the width of your shoulders. This way your trapezius and central latissimus will be worked better. For the narrow grip, a 6-12 inches width is appropriate. A narrow grip stretches your outer lats, making your back wider. To get the most out of the Lat Pulldown exercise, you should include both grip versions in your workout routine.
Lat Pulldown is a good exercise which must be properly performed. If you avoid the three mistakes above, you will develop faster and safely execute the Lat Pulldown exercise. So keep pulling the bar the right way.