Lot Time

Lat pull downs are a standard part of virtually every lifter's routine. Done correctly, a lat pull down will turn a blocky or narrow back into that much-sought-after V-shape. Furthermore, if you're a swimmer, rock climber, rower, or any type of athlete who would benefit from a powerful upper body, this exercise is for you.

There are two types of lat pull-downs:

>- Behind the neck

> To the chest

With the behind-the-neck exercise, there is a tendency to jut the neck forward, putting it in an awkward position, especially if the lifter is using too much weight. For this reason, we prefer the chest variation because the neck is kept in a more stable position.

Here is how you properly perform a lat pull-down:

1. Grab the bar with palms facing away from the body, slightly wider apart than shoulder width.

2. Sit on the seat with your knees under the pads. (Remember to adjust the pads if your knees don't fit snuggly yet comfortably.)

3. Pull the bar behind your head to the base of the neck.

4. Pause briefly and slowly return to the initial starting position.

The following is a list of don'ts:

> Jut your chin forward; keep it tucked to avoid neck problems.

> Come out of your seat on the way up.

> Swing your body back and forth in an effort to lift the weight.

> Slouch as you bring the weight down behind your neck.

Lat pull-down start position.

Lat pull-down finish position.

The following is a list of do's:

> Keep your abs tight and your back erect.

> Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bring the weight down behind your neck.

>- Control the weight throughout the range of motion.

Spot Me

There are several different handles available for this exercise. Experiment with them until you decide which one feels the most comfortable.

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