Behind The Head Lat Pulldown
Primary Muscle Group: Latissimus Dorsi
Secondary Muscle Group: Traps, Biceps
Equipment Needed: Lat Pull Down, Wide Straight Bar attachment
The Benefits of Behind The Head Lat Pulldown
The Behind The Head Lat Pulldown is a variation of the lat pull down and an exercise used to build the muscles of the back and traps. While the exercise will primarily target the lats, you will also notice a fair amount of bicep and shoulder activation.
Behind the neck exercises are seen as a dated practice as the range of motion can put the shoulder joint in an unfavourable position. Some tension can be alleviated by stopping the rep at the top of the neckline.
That said, if you are experiencing pain while performing the exercise, it may be beneficial to experiment with other pull down variations.
If you are looking for other exercises that are the best for building muscle or wanting to lose body fat then you should check our Free Workout Plan or our Workout Plans With Coaching for professionally designed workout plans that have been proven to get results.
The Risks of doing Behind The Head Lat Pulldown
This exercise has certain risks if performed incorrectly so it is important to properly educate yourself to optimize technique. This is one of those exercises where less weight is used and the tempo is slowed to properly concentrate on the movement. Behind the head Lat pulldowns place stress on the rotator cuff if the bar is pulled down too far. It will also strain the subscapularis muscle by stretching it to the point that they cannot properly support the joint in the shoulder.
How To Do Behind The Head Lat Pulldown
1. Attach a wide grip handle to the lat pulldown machine and assume a seated position.
2. Grasp the handle with a pronated grip (double overhand) and initiate the movement by depressing the shoulder blades and then flexing the elbow while extending the shoulder.
3. Pull the handle behind your neck until it nearly touches at the base of your traps and then slowly lower the handle back to the starting position under control.
4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
For Perfect Technique
Keep some tone through your abdominals as you pull the bar into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through the spine.
Don’t allow momentum to dictate the movement, control the weight throughout the entirety of each rep.
If you feel your biceps being overused and your back remaining under active, consider utilizing a false grip (i.e. don’t wrap the thumb around the dumbbell).
Once you have mastered the Behind The Head Lat Pulldown exercise you can try alternative exercises that target similar muscle groups such as;
How To Do Deadlifts
1. Position the bar over the top of your feet and assume a hip width stance.
2. Push your hips back and hinge forward until your torso is nearly parallel with the floor.
3. Reach down and grasp the bar using a shoulder width, double overhand grip.
4. Inhale and pull up slightly on the bar while allowing your hips to drop slightly.
5. As you drop the hips and pull up on the bar, set the lats (imagine you’re trying to hold a tennis ball under your armpits) and ensure your armpits are positioned directly over the bar.
6. Drive through the whole foot and focus on pushing away from the floor.
7. Ensure the bar tracks in a straight line as you extend the knees and hips.
8. Once you have locked out the hips, reverse the movement by pushing the hips back and hinging forward.
9. Return the bar to the floor, reset, and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
How To Do Cable Seated Rows
1. Set the appropriate weight on the weight stack and attach a close grip bar or V-bar to the seated row machine.
2. Grasp the bar with a neutral grip (palms facing in).
3. Keeping your legs slightly bent and your back straight, pull the weight up slightly off the stack. You should be sitting straight upright with your shoulders back. This is the starting position.
4. Keeping your body in position, pull the handle into your stomach.
5. Pull your shoulder blades back, squeeze, pause, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.