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Conquering the lat pulldown
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Tomato05 posted:
I see improvements in my strength very slowly and gradually (over many months) in some of the exercises I do, which is very gratifying.

However, the dreaded lat pulldown is a tough one for me. I have been stuck on the same weight level for probably 6 months and just can't seem to get onto the next level (where I may manage one or two reps). For technique, I keep my back straight and lean back somewhat, then bring it down to just above chest level.

I do a variety of other upper body exercises which I presumed would be strengthening the same muscles I am using for the lat pull (biceps exercises, back rows, rear delt rows, shoulder presses).

Are there other exercises I could do that would help the muscles needed for the lat pull, or any other suggestions for achieving progress with it? And how far should one lean back while doing the lat pull?

Thank you in advance for any advice!
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Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
1. Change the bar. Use the curved bar where your palms face each other.

2. Bent over row.

3. Stand sideways to the high pulley far enough so that one arm is straight out and parallel to the floor and pull the cable straight down toward your hip. Shoulder press won't help.

4. Take a 4-week break from the pulldown. You'll come back stronger after a few workouts, maybe even the first after a few warm-up sets. This is the best option.

Take care,
Rich
 
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Tomato05 replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
Aha, thank you very much. That's a good idea to change the bar - it hasn't ocurred to me.

I do the bent over row, but not very often; will try to do it more frequently.

And the sideways exercise pulling the cable towards the hip sounds like a nice challenging one (never tried that before).

I can't wait to get to the gym to do the above - thank you. I just have a sore arm at the moment, as I've went on Friday for a number of vaccinations (like yellow fever, Hepatitis, tetanus, typhoid etc.) I'm travelling to Tanzania soon. In a day or two I'll be in the gym trying out these suggestions.

Many thanks for the good advice.
 
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Tomato05 replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
Changing the bar to the curved one seems to give me a narrower grip, and I seem to use different muscles than with a wider grip.

Which muscles would be emphasized with a narrower grip?
 
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Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to Tomato05's response:
Right, it gives you a narrow grip which is biomechanically more efficient so you can do more work. It works the same muscles, just at different angles which takes advantage of modifying the levers in your joints to permit you to lift more, especially if you're over-trained, which you are with the long bar. When this gets tiring I suggest you take the break.
 
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1nt3rnalC0mbu5t1on responded:
Wide grip pull ups are a great exercise to help grow the back, but also strenghten it. If your gym has a pull-up assist machine, give that a try, perhaps when your giving yourself a break from the lat pull downs. Try to do 3 sets of 10 and adjust the machine accordingly.


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