In order to build strength in your back and maximize your pulldown exercise, you need to make sure that you are using the right grip and performing the movement correctly. For the reverse grip lat pulldown, place both hands on the bar so that one hand is facing forward and the other hand is facing back, closer to your body. This will be the starting position of this exercise. As you inhale, slowly lower the bar until it touches your upper chest and then exhale as you pull the bar back to the starting position as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
You’ve seen it in gym class or at your local gym. One person is lying down, their head supported by a bench, while someone else stands behind them and pulls them up by their hands. It may look simple, but there’s actually quite a bit of technique that goes into performing a lat pull down machine exercise. Underhand grip bars have been linked with better back workouts than overhand ones because you can achieve better range of motion as well as greater muscle activation in your back. Simply put, it’s one of the best exercises for building muscle mass in your upper body—and isn’t that why we go to workout in the first place? Here are two ways you can do it safely and effectively
Studies have shown that exercises that target your back are beneficial in preventing and treating lower back pain. This is true because strong muscles support weak or injured areas of your body, especially those in your lower back. And when these muscles become damaged by injury or overuse, they lose their ability to hold your spine properly. The reverse grip lat pulldown is one exercise you can perform if you want to develop your back and strengthen those supporting muscles and ligaments surrounding your spine.
Kneel down or stand in front of a cable machine. Grab both handles underhand and place your hands behind your head. Position your knees slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, slowly pull both cables together until you feel your lats stretch. Return slowly back to starting position. Repeat 10 times with minimal rest periods in between reps and sets.
If you’re using an underhand lat pulldown machine, make sure that your palms are facing in toward each other, and that you’re gripping each bar so that your hands are even. You can use an overhand grip if you prefer, but it’s important to take note of which muscle groups will be targeted during your workout – underhand grips build up lower lats while overhand grips work out upper back muscles more. (You might see some variance based on how many reps you do; higher rep counts target lower lats while fewer reps target upper back muscles.) If your gym doesn’t have an underhanded lat pulldown machine, it may have a low row bar instead. Use these as substitutes if needed!
To perform an underhand pulldown, grasp a lat pulldown bar with your hands positioned slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Make sure that your hands are in an underhand grip (also called an overhand grip). To do so, lower yourself until your chest touches the bar by leaning back slightly and then extend your arms to raise yourself back up. Lowering yourself down is commonly referred to as negative reps; raising yourself back up is commonly referred to as positive reps. Another way of saying it is: as you lower, you’re performing negative reps; and when you raise, you’re performing positive reps. Repeat ten times.
You’ll want to stretch your lats out before performing reverse grip lat pulldowns because it increases your flexibility and helps prevent injury. Simply put your palms down on top of an overhand bar as if you were about to perform a traditional lat pulldown. Instead of pulling yourself up, however, lean back slightly so that your body is angled at about 45 degrees; keep leaning back until you feel a good stretch in your lats. You should actually be able to feel them stretching without looking in a mirror, but make sure that you don’t move from there or cheat yourself out of proper form. Hold that position for 5 seconds and then relax before moving on to step 4.
This is where you grab onto each end of your lat pulldown bar, using whatever grips you’re most comfortable with (either overhand or underhand), and then lower it down until it touches your upper chest. This should be easier than pulling it down, so don’t worry about going heavy here; in fact, try not to use any more weight than you did on step three. Then just lift yourself back up again. You might need to add weights if you’re finding that 10-15 reps (or even just five) are too easy.
The reverse grip underhand lat pulldown is a classic biceps workout. But if you want it to work your back, keep your hands as close together as possible. Placing your hands together will emphasize your back more than moving them apart. When in doubt, mimic tennis players: They always place their hands together when playing tennis. This simple change can do wonders for developing that wide look people love on backs.