Grip Pulldown is very similar in
appearance to the Chin-up.
The Pulldown machine allows you to use weights
that are less than your bodyweight, which
is useful for beginning trainers. It also
allows you to use more than your bodyweight,
which is useful for advanced trainers.
to do Close Grip Pulldowns:
in the pulldown machine with your
hips right up under the pads (they
are hip pads, not knee pads).
Take a slightly less than shoulder-width,
underhand grip (palms facing you)
on the bar.
with the body vertical, arms straight
over your head.
the movement by arching your lower
back slightly and sticking your
the bar down to your lower chest,
leaning slightly and smoothly backwards
as you pull.
major muscle in the back that this
works is called the Latissimus
Dorsi. It is a fan-shaped muscle
and the leaning back spreads the
load over the whole fan of muscle,
giving you a more efficient workout.
your chest up to meet the bar and
try to squeeze your shoulder blades
together behind your back at the
bottom of the movement.
the bar up slowly then repeat.
for Performing Close Grip Pulldown More Effectively:
Two part movement
movement should be done as a two-part movement
to work your back best. Try this little exercise
to get a feel for the movement:
Knee in the back
by sitting in the pulldown machine grasping
the bar with your arms fully extended overhead.
your shoulders to shrug up, letting the
weight stretch your shoulders.
try dropping your shoulder girdle. This
is the opposite movement of when you shrug
your shoulders; it is the down part. The
arms should not bend in this part of the
movement. Your shoulders should just drop
down a few inches.
this short movement a few times.
you have the feel for that, add this to
the pulldown movement by first shrugging
down, then pulling the bar down the rest
of the way.
should feel a difference in your back immediately
as this technique will lock your lats into
Repeat this technique at the start of every
good way to get the feel for the proper technique
at the bottom of the movement is to have somebody
put his or her knee in your mid-back on your
will force you to wrap your back around
it, arching the back and puffing out the
on trying to squeeze the knee with the shoulder
blades to feel the movement.
is a little known but important trick that
you should breathe backwards when doing pulldowns
and chins (especially pulldowns). Here is
Getting into position
the top, inhale deeply, hold it and pull
Exhale as you let the bar up.
reason for this is that the chest should
be puffed up when you are pulling down to
maximize tension on the lats.
you exhale, you collapse your chest, caving
it in and increasing the work on the biceps.
This is the opposite of what you want to
holding a deep breath, you puff the chest
more and arch your back more, greatly increasing
the effect of the exercise.
If you have
trouble getting the weight into position at
the start of the rep, try this trick.
- First, remove
the pin from the weight stack.
- Then, pull
the bar down to a level where you can easily
reach it from a sitting position under the
place the pin back inside the stack at the
weight you will be using for your set.
This trick will
allow you to get into and out of the pulldown
machine without worrying about what is happening
to the bar and the weight.
Errors in the Close Grip Pulldown:
Jerking the weight with the lower back
error is often made by people who are using
too much weight in an effort to use momentum
to get the weight moving. This reduces the
effectiveness of the exercise by taking tension
off the target muscles. It also can potentially
damage your lower back.
Pulling down in a vertical body position
your torso is vertical when you do a
close-grip pulldown, your biceps will
take up much of the work, limiting the
work your back muscles get. It is important
to lean back slightly, puff your chest
out and arch your lower back slightly.
Be sure not to arch excessively, though.
Using too much or not enough weight
are using too much weight if you must
use your lower back to start the weight
moving, you lean back excessively, and/or
you jerk the weight.
using enough weight can be just as
bad as using too much weight.
using enough weight will not allow
you to lean back sufficiently to use
proper form as there is nothing to
exert tension on to keep your torso
from falling over backwards.
you can pull the bar down to your
hips or if you find you must keep
your torso vertical or you fall over,
you are probably not using enough
Leaning too far back
This reduces the effectiveness of the
exercise by decreasing the tension on
the lats. Leaning too far back is often
a symptom of using momentum from your
lower back to pull the bar down.
Jerking the shoulders at the top
This error is caused by not controlling
the weight on the way up. The weight
must then be stopped by the shoulder
joints. This can lead to shoulder injury.
Going too fast on the way up also reduces
the amount of tension on the muscles.
Remember, control the weight at all