How to Use a Lat Pull Down Machine

The lat pull down machine focuses on the Latissimus dorsi mucle, or lats. This is a long muscle, extending from under the arms to the sides of the back. Focus on squeezing the muscles tightly for maximum benefit.

Select Proper Weight

Before beginning your workout with the lat pull down machine, carefully select the appropriate amount of weight. Using the metal selector pin, push it through the weight stack. While you want to be challenged for optimal benefit, be careful not select a weight that is too heavy to avoid injury. Avoiding heavy weights will keep you from leaning backwards when pulling down the bar, which can lead to back injury.

Correct Position

Once the desired weight has been selected, sit on the seat of the lat pull down machine. Place your feet flat on the floor, one on each side of the bench. Reach upwards and grasp the bar in an overhand grip where the metal bar begins to curve downwards.

Proper Method

After you are correctly positioned in the machine, slowly pull the bar downwards. Focus on pulling your shoulders downwards and trying to bring the shoulder blades together. The bar should come down to the collarbone or chest area. Try to feel the “pinch” as you engage your lats. Then, slowly release the bar upwards until the arms are straight overhead again. Repeat the exercises for a series of 15-20 repetitions or until muscle fatigue sets in.

Safety Precautions

To avoid injury it is important to fully understand how to properly use the lat pull down machine. If you have questions, consult a fitness trainer who can show you how to properly use the equipment. Additional tips include:

  • Keep the motions slow and controlled.
  • Do not lift more weight than you are comfortable with.
  • Stop immediately if you notice pain.
  • Too avoid back injury, do not use explosive force or thrusting while using a lat pull down machine.



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