There are many things that I believe exist in our world because they have been around for a long time and no one has thought to question why they exist. With fitness, I see this a lot. For example, I’ve stated that the bench press, squat, and numerous bar exercises are bad and that I don’t do them. However, I’d like to talk a little bit about lat pull-downs today. Someone told me they saw one of my films on Lats but never thought to attempt it with cables.
This is a man who exercises out frequently and vigorously. He told me that after doing back day with cables one time, his Lats were sore. He’d always brought the Lat bar to his collarbone, as his high school football coach had taught him. However, he claimed that focusing on dropping his elbows down to his sides while gazing up significantly improved his workout. One of the things I try to explain to folks is this. Just because something is done frequently does not imply that it should be.
In the case of Lats, many people lean back and drag the weight down to their collarbone or mid-chest. This is a rhomboid row, not a lat workout. That is a center-back exercise, not a side-back exercise. If you utilize cables, you can reach up and out, allowing you to bring your elbows directly down to your sides in the direct plane of your Lats. You can’t do that with a bar because it would have to go through the center of your head. Another reason to avoid using bars while lifting. Use wires for Lats if you want to build your wings or make your waist appear smaller.
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Dr. Matt Chalmers
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