Lat Pull -Down: Explanation And Tips to Buy

The lat pull-down is a well-known exercise among bodybuilders. The exercise is very effective at training multiple muscles. That's why you should include the lat pull-down in your training schedule! But why is the lat pull-down such a good exercise? 
In this text, you can read everything about the lat pull-down. First I'll explain which muscles you train with the lat pull-down, then I'll tell you how to perform the lat pull-down and then I'll tell you where to buy the lat pull-down.

Lat Pull -Down: Explanation, Which Muscles and Tips to Buy

The lat pull-down: which muscles?

The lat pulldown is an extremely effective exercise for your back muscles. In this part of the article, you can read which muscles you train and why this is important!

“Do you want a beautiful figure that will impress everyone? The lat pull-down will help you develop the coveted v-shape !”

Muscle number 1: latissimus dorsi

The latissimus dorsi is the largest muscle in your body. For that reason alone you want to train this muscle naturally! The latissimus dorsi is also called the lat or the broad back muscle. The broad back muscle runs on both sides of your body from the middle to the bottom of your back

Do you want a nice broad back? Then the latissimus dorsi is the muscle to train! In combination with well-developed shoulder muscles, the broad back muscle forms the well-known v-shape.

Training the broad back muscle does not only benefit your looks; the muscle is also very important for other reasons! The main functions of the latissuimus dorsi are:

  • Lowering the arm towards the body. If the muscle is well developed, you become better at pulling things towards you and therefore also at pulling them up.
  • Turning the arm inward.
  • Supporting breathing.

Muscle number 2: rhomboid

The rhomboid is a two-part diamond-shaped muscle. The muscle consists of the rhomboideus minor and the rhomboideus major. The muscle lies between the spine and the shoulder blades.

The rhomboid is very important for the following functions:

  • Moving the shoulder blades together. Very handy when you need to pull something towards you.
  • Tilting the shoulder blades. The undersides of the shoulder blades move towards each other.
  • Raising the shoulder blades.
  • Turn the shoulder blade inward.

Muscle number 3: teres major

The teres major is also known as the large round arm muscle. The large round arm muscle is located between the lower corner of the shoulder blade and the inside of your upper arm, just below your armpit. 

The teres major is especially functional in supporting the shoulder muscles.

  • The teres major is active when lifting your arm sideways.
  • The teres major helps rotate your arm inward.
  • The teres major functions when lifting your arm forward.

Muscle number 4: trapezius ascendens

Another important muscle you train with the lat pull-down is the bottom of your trapezius. The trapezius is also called the trapezius muscle. It's located at the base of the skull, the outer part of your shoulder blade, and attaches to the accessory nerve.

The lower trapezoid muscle is important for 2 functions. These features may look familiar to you by now, but they are:

  • Pulling the shoulder blade down
  • Turning the shoulder blade outward

Muscle Number 5: Rotator Cuff

A rotator cuff is a muscle group you've probably never heard of. This muscle group belongs to the muscles of the shoulder girdle and is therefore located in your shoulder.

However, the function of the rotator cuff should not be underestimated. This muscle group helps to keep the shoulder joint tense, which is not strong in itself.

Muscle number 6: biceps

Everyone knows the biceps. The beautiful, round muscles on the front of your upper arm. The biceps are active when you pull things towards you, which is why they are trained at the lat pull-down. However, don't expect huge biceps after doing this exercise, the focus remains on your back.

The biceps have a number of functions:

  • Bending the elbow
  • Rotating the forearm outwards
  • Lifting the forearm forward

Muscle number 7: forearms

As with all weight-holding exercises, your forearms are also trained with the lat pull-down. I won't go into too much detail on this muscle group, but beautiful forearms are always a plus!

In addition, well-developed forearms can help you lift heavier weights.

Lat pull-down: how do you do it?

Now that you know all about why the lat pull-down is such an important exercise, it's time to learn how to perform the lat pull-down. As with any exercise, it is crucial to perform the exercise correctly. 

poor posture can lead to fewer results. Moreover, you can suffer from injuries if you do not perform the exercise properly! Some injuries you can get from poor posture during a lat pull-down include:

  • tendon infections
  • back problems
  • neck complaints
  • Shoulder instability
  • Impingement syndrome
  • Bursitis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Headache

Lat pull-down: the basic exercise

The lat pull-down is an exercise that you perform with a machine. The device consists of a seatcushions to clamp your legs under, and a slat that is attached to weights via cable.

Step 1: Set up the device

The first step in the lat pull-down is to set up the device. This is very important because if you set the device incorrectly, your posture may be wrong. Make sure the seat is at the correct height; your feet should be flat on the floor

Then adjust the knee pads so that your legs are clamped. You also need to choose the right weight. If you make the exercise too heavy, you will compensate with other muscles. This reduces the effectiveness and you can get injured.

Step 2: Grab the Bar

How wide you grip the bar is very important. In the normal lat pull-down, grab the bar with both hands a little further than shoulder-width. Much like a normal pull-up. The correct grip for a lat pull-down is an overhand grip

So your palms are facing out. Place your palms against the bar and curl your fingers around it. You don't have to curl your thumbs underneath.

In fact, if you curl your thumbs under the bar, you may be twisting your wrists incorrectly. You want to keep your wrists straight relative to your forearm throughout the exercise.

When holding the bar, make sure to keep looking straight ahead and keep your chest out.

Step 3: just pull

Pull the bar toward you just in front of your face. Sit while doing this a little bit to the back so you do not hit your chin. Pull the bar up to your nipples. Make sure your arms are next to your body. So you want to bend your elbows in this exercise, not push your arms straight down.

It is also important to pull your shoulder blades together because this way you ensure that the focus remains on your back muscles. If you don't use your shoulder blades, the risk of shoulder injuries increases.

Try to get the bar up to your chest in one second. Hold that position for one to two seconds and squeeze your back muscles extra hard. Then lower the bar back to the starting position in two seconds.

Lat pull-down: variations

The lat pull-down allows you to effectively vary by adjusting your grip. Other than that, nothing changes in the exercise. A different grip means that you tighten your muscles in a different way

So you will find that you use certain muscles more than others if you vary your grip. It's smart for many people to change their grip every few months to surprise your muscles. This way you get better results!

Lat pull-down variation: wide grip

very well-known lat pull-down variation is the wide-grip lat pull-down. This variation ensures that your back muscles have to work even more. Most lat pull-down bars are bent at both ends. 

Grab the bar at the ends for a wide grip. You will find that your back muscles are greatly challenged and your strength increases rapidly. In addition, this exercise helps to improve your pull-ups.

Lat pull-down variation: underhand narrow grip

This variation is very good for training the underside of your latissimus Dori. In addition, your biceps are trained extra because you imitate a chin-up. You do this exercise by placing your hands within shoulder width with your palms facing you.

Lat pull-down variation: behind-your-neck pull-down

This variation of the lat pulldown is somewhat controversial because the risk of injury is greater. Not everyone can perform this exercise. It is important that you have sufficient shoulder flexibility.

The advantage of this variation is that you make a larger movement and therefore challenge your muscles more.

When performing this exercise, lean forward a little bit instead of backward and lower the bar behind your head, about to the top of your shoulders.

You always use a wide, overhand grip for this exercise, preferably thumbless.

To avoid injury, you want to focus on reps, not weight, with this exercise.

Lat pull-down: buy the device

Every gym has at least one lat pull-down machine, but you might want to own one!

Would you like to build a home gym ? Then a lat pull-down machine can not be missed!”

But where do you buy such a machine? And what should you pay attention to? I'll start with the second point.

Buying a lat pull-down machine: what should you pay attention to?

When buying a lat pull-down machine there are a number of things to keep in mind. First, you have to think about whether you want a combination device or a device that only allows you to do lat pulldowns

The advantage of a combination device is that it takes up less space, but you do lose more money. However, you no longer have to invest this money in other devices.

You also want to pay attention to the adjustability options. Can you adjust the height of the chair? Is it possible to change the height of the knee pads? How many weights are there and what is the difference between the different weights?

In addition, you want to look at the maximum user weight. Especially if you are on the heavy side, it is not useful to buy a device with a low maximum user weight.

Finally, you want to see if this lat pull-down machine has the option of different types of handles. Most lat pull-down machines have a hook to which you can attach different handles, for example, the bar or a single handle. This has a lot of influence on which lat pull-down variations you can do.

Buying a lat pull-down machine: where and how expensive?

You can buy a lat pull-down machine from various websites on the internet. The price varies from 200 euros for just a lat pull-down system to about 2000 euros for a complete home gym combination set. A good website to buy your fitness systems is

Bonus tip: do you want tips for buying the best fitness equipment? Visit your local gym or ask your physical therapist. They usually know best what to look for when buying fitness equipment.

Look: best tricep building exercises

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