lat pulldown form

There’s a simple reason why most lifters at the gym tend to have underdeveloped lats in comparison to their other muscle groups…

It’s because the lats are a particularly tricky muscle to directly target, and unless you understand how to execute your lat exercises with proper textbook form, chances are that it will actually be your biceps that end up taking on a large portion of the load during your back workouts.

In today’s post I’m going to be covering 4 highly effective tips when it comes to proper lat pulldown form that will make a huge difference in your ability to maximally recruit your lats while minimizing bicep involvement at the same time.

Implement these tips into your next back workout and I guarantee that you’ll be pleased with the results.

You can either watch the video below for a live demonstration, or scroll a bit further and simply read them point by point…

Proper Lat Pulldown Form: Tip #1

Instead of keeping your upper body straight and rigid, focus on puffing your chest out while maintaining a small arch in your lower back.

This will put your body into the proper position right from the get-go in order to increase the activation of the lats while decreasing the activation of other surrounding muscles.

Proper Lat Pulldown Form: Tip #2

From there, lean your entire body back at about a 70 degree angle. Don’t sit up completely straight throughout the exercise, or even worse, hunch your body over.

Remaining too upright will shift more stress onto your rear shoulders and upper back in comparison to your lats, while leaning slightly back will do the opposite.

Proper Lat Pulldown Form: Tip #3

Next up, pinch your shoulder blades together slighty and keep them that way throughout the entire lift. This is one aspect of proper pulldown form that most people ignore, but you’ll really feel the difference here if you give this one a try.

Proper Lat Pulldown Form: Tip #4

You have now have the entire setup properly in place: your chest is puffed out and lower back is arched, you’re leaning back at a roughly 70 degree angle, your shoulder blades are pinched together, and you’re now ready to pull the bar down and execute your first rep.

However, instead of simply pulling the bar down using force from your wrists, forearms and biceps, instead imagine that these joints and muscles are nothing more than “hooks” that are attaching you to the lat pulldown bar.

From there, focus on doing all of the pulling through your elbows instead. This one takes a bit of getting used to but is perhaps one of the most useful lat workout tips out there and can be applied to any back exercise you perform, whether it be a pulldown, pullup or row.

lat muscles

Proper Lat Pulldown Form Recap

– Puff your chest out and maintain a small arch in your lower back.

– Lean back at a 70 degree angle.

– Pinch your shoulder blades together slightly.

– Pull the bar down using your elbows rather than your wrists, forearms and biceps.

Here are a few other quick lat workout tips to keep in mind…

Behind the neck pulldowns should always be avoided, as they put the shoulders and spine into an awkward position that increases the chances for injury. Instead, always pull the bar down in front of your head and to your upper chest.

– Utilizing a set of lifting straps or lifting hooks is a great way to further reduce bicep involvement and get a deeper contraction in your lats. These can be used for any pulling exercise and are a great tool to make use of if your primary goal is muscle hypertrophy.

– Instead of thinking about pulling the bar down to your chest, imagine that you’re actually pulling yourself up toward the bar as you would for a pull up or chin up.

Utilize these 4 tips in conjunction with a properly structured back routine and you’ll be well on your way to those thick, wide, well-developed lats you’re after.

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