What is a Lat Pull Down Machine?

A lat pull down machine is a regular part of the set of fixed weight stations that you will find in your local gym. This machine helps you work some muscles that might not often get used otherwise. Most gyms include this machine, as well as many others for working upper body or lower body areas, including limbs as well as the “core” muscles that help the body balance and achieve various mobility and weight load goals.

The Lat Pull Down Machine in Your Gym

Chances are, if you look around the fixed weight area of the gym, where various steel-framed machines hold weight plates on pulleys and cables, you’ll see the lat pull down machine among other regular machines like the chest press, leg extension and bicep curl. The lat pull down machine is one of the upper body machines. It works the “lats” or latissimus dorsi muscles in the upper back through a simple pull down exercise that also helps to define a larger set of upper body muscle groups.

Exercises for the Lat Pull Down Machine

The main exercise that people do with a lat pull down machine is the basic “pull down.” Proper form is very important for this exercise, since the actual cable is somewhat free standing. To do this  properly, you should pay proper attention to posted instructions or ask the resident trainer. Generally, users should grab the handle of the pull down with a hand on each end, then bring the bar down to the upper chest level. If you put your head back slightly, you should be able to comfortably bring the bar down to your chest without straining your back, neck, or arm muscles. If the pull down feels uncomfortable, play with it at a low weight load until you get it right. For the best results, add weight slowly and do more reps with less weight rather then struggling with an overloaded bar.

Calories Burned on a Lat Pull Down Machine

Although you can burn some calories with a lot of weight repetitions, the lat pull down machine is not built to burn fat, but to tone and train the lats for other activities. However, don’t overlook the role of muscle toning in a greater fitness plan. When you have better toned upper body muscles, you are able to lift more items safely, accomplish more physical tasks from kayaking to climbing, and generally burn more calories when you take on greater fitness challenges. Think of fixed weight exercises like the lat pull down as preparation for more challenging, fat burning fitness activities in the gym or out in the world.

Next time you’re at the gym, take a look at the lat pull down machine and other fixed weight options, and take a few minutes to craft a regular fixed weight training schedule that includes this important muscle trainer and others for the arms, legs and core.


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