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Stay injury-free: The lat pulldown

The lat pulldown is a fantastic exercise to strengthen the latissimus dorsi muscle, the broadest muscle in your back, which promotes good postures and spinal stability. Form is crucial when performing a lat pulldown to prevent injury and reap the best results.

“As exercise physiologists at the gym, we see all kinds of wrong form and wrong techniques that can possibly hurt you,” says Clinton Maclin, an exercise physiologist at Piedmont. “You want to come in and do it the correct way so you can benefit and not harm yourself.”

Do’s and don’ts for the lat pulldown machine

DON’T:

  • Lean back as you pull the levers toward your chest. You won’t hit the target muscles this way.
  • Lose control of the weight as you return to the top of the move. This can overstretch your back and lead to injury.
  • Come off the seat as you return to the top.

DO:

  • Make sure you have the right amount of weight selected on the machine. You should be able to perform eight to 15 reps with proper form. If you cannot maintain good form, decrease the amount of weight.
  • Start by using the inside handle grips and keep your bottom on the seat. Engage your lats as you pull the lever down toward your chest.
  • Exhale as you pull the weight down and inhale on the way back up. Think, “exhale with exertion.”
  • Keep your elbows in close to the body and maintain control as you lift and lower the weight. Avoid rocking back and forth.

“Remember, form is everything,” says Maclin.

For more fitness tips, click here

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