The lat pull down is a great exercise, and even better once you nail the set-up, technique and execution of each rep!
It is the main builder for a v-shaped back, and platform from which to progress to a pull up. It also works the biceps and rear delts without putting much pressure through the lower back.
How to Lat Pull Down:
- Take a seat and slide forwards so the thigh pads are above the thigh (closer to the hips than the knees), before locking the pad on the thighs (with your feet flat on the floor
- Slide out, stand up and grip the bar overhand, just outside shoulder width
- Slide back under the pads, so they press on the upper thigh and keep the feet flat on the ground
- Extend the arms overhead until you feel a stretch through the back, look up at the bar and lean back slightly
- Keeping your chest proud, pull the bar into the collar bone by drawing the elbows down and closely past your sides
- Squeeze the shoulder blades hard back and downward, before slowly allowing the bar to move back to the start position
- Ensure the elbows are extended and back on stretch before repeating the process for the administered amount of reps
- Grip around 10-15cm wider than shoulder width. Going wider does not ‘isolate the back more, bro.’
- If gripping at shoulder width or slightly narrower, opt for an underhand grip (or neutral grip attachment)
- Minimise body movement, as this will reduce muscle contraction quality and slow your progress longer term
- Do not pull the bar lower than just beyond the collar bone, and always touch it to the upper chest. If the bar goes too far forward or down the abs will come into play and wreck each rep.
Two more great movements for the back are the deadlift and bent over rows. With these three exercises alone you can build an impressive back, so perfecting them is far more beneficial than wasting your time with learning another 10-20 fiddly variations.
Each and every exercise in our guides and muscle group packs has two photos, text instructions, sets, reps, rest and any lifting protocols attributed to it. All our Flagship Transformation Guides have detailed Exercise Substitution Sections too, so if you have a problem exercise we have a safe and effective alternative!