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 Post subject: Pullovers and Pulldowns
PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:48 am 
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I'm currently doing lat pulldowns and bent dumbbell rows as my lat exercises. But I feel like I need to do something to get at my lats better... my biceps are taking on too much of the work.

Maybe dumbbell pullovers? Are those more of a chest exercise?

I'm not sure what you would call the exercise I tried the last few times: it's like doing a triceps cable pulldown except keeping my elbow stiff so I'm using my back/chest more.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:33 am 
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the biceps is always the limitating factor at the most back exercises. so, it's normal.

you can try wide grip pull ups for more lat involvement and less biceps involvement.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:19 am 
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chrisl wrote:
I'm currently doing lat pulldowns and bent dumbbell rows as my lat exercises. But I feel like I need to do something to get at my lats better... my biceps are taking on too much of the work.

Maybe dumbbell pullovers? Are those more of a chest exercise?

I'm not sure what you would call the exercise I tried the last few times: it's like doing a triceps cable pulldown except keeping my elbow stiff so I'm using my back/chest more.


your biceps shouldn't be the limiting factor on back work, you need to get better at recruiting your lats.

Try and flex your lats at the bottom of every rep of pulldowns. Really flex those lats hard. Also pause for a couple of seconds in the contracted position.

A form cue that generally helps is to think about the movement as coming from your elbows. So instead of pulling with your hands, you're pulling with your elbows and everything above the elbow is just along for the ride.

The exercise you mentioned with the cables is called a Straight Arm Pulldown and it's a fantastic lat builder. Make sure you are REALLY squeezing the bottom of each rep for a couple of seconds. If you want to get really fancy, try doing three or four sets of straight arm pulldowns BEFORE your regular pulldowns. I guarantee you'll feel your lats working with that. Ouch!

hope that helps. Remember, the most important things are pulling with your elbows and squeezing the reps.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:21 am 
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Robertscott gave me some great advice to get my lats involved. It works doing pulldowns.

Start with a light weight. Use only one arm, and reach your other arm around to touch your lat so you can feel the muscle. The more under-handed (supinated) your wrist, the more your bicep will be involved, so go neutral at least and bit pronated if you want.

Initiate the move by concentrating entirely on pulling your elbow down. It helps if you don't grip the handle too tightly (that will activate the bicep) and instead think of the hand as a "hook" that is just holding the handle. Do at least 10, switch sides.

If you absolutely cannot get the weight down by pulling your elbow, then remove weight. If you can pull your elbow down and feel your lat for more than 15 reps, add weight.

Do lots and lots of reps, it is practice. I do this 2-3 times/week because it does not require much recovery afterward, I'm really learning to "wake up" my lat rather than push it very hard. Naturally your own case may be different.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:22 am 
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good to see that someone actually listens to me round here!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:29 am 
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ephs wrote:
you can try wide grip pull ups for more lat involvement and less biceps involvement.


That's a myth. It's the same amount of lat activation wherever your hands a placed on the bar during pulldowns as long as you use an over hand grip.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:46 am 
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Proper Knob wrote:
ephs wrote:
you can try wide grip pull ups for more lat involvement and less biceps involvement.


That's a myth. It's the same amount of lat activation wherever your hands a placed on the bar during pulldowns.

do you mean pull ups compared to pulldowns? there the lat involvement is the same with equal grip size. i didn't say anything else.

or do you mean the biceps involvement does not decrease as you widen your grip at pull ups?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:20 am 
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https://moniquesfitness.wordpress.com/2 ... pull-down/

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:43 am 
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stuward wrote:
https://moniquesfitness.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/research-grip-width-and-forearm-orientation-effects-on-muscle-activity-during-the-lat-pull-down/


always good when science proves stuff we already knew :)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:56 am 
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chrisl wrote:
I'm currently doing lat pulldowns and bent dumbbell rows as my lat exercises. But I feel like I need to do something to get at my lats better... my biceps are taking on too much of the work.


Doing pulldowns and rows with a pronated (palms facing down) grip puts the biceps at a mechanical disadvantage, while doing them with a supinated (palms facing up) puts them in the strongest position. Avoid supinating your grip when doing back exercises to decrease biceps involvement

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:05 am 
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stuward wrote:
https://moniquesfitness.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/research-grip-width-and-forearm-orientation-effects-on-muscle-activity-during-the-lat-pull-down/

do i get it right that the width is not important, only the forearm orientation?

i was assuming that grip width is important for level of lats/biceps involvement, maybe cause i have only the two options: pronated wide pull ups or neutral shoulder width pull ups. good to know, thanks for the link, sir!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:07 am 
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Dean Somerset also had an awesome tip video on proper form of pulldowns. Check it out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... AY6xQm9_o#!

The main point are:
- Make a double chin / Bring the chin back
- Only sligthly lean back.
- Do a controlled pull, elbows to your side, with a hard lat contraction at the bottom. Tension through lower back. Also contract your glutes while on the bottom.

Worked wonders for me. The other exercise where I have gotten most bang for my buck is the landmine row. Or as John Meadows weirdly calls it, the one arm barbell row. Which it is, but it sounds confusing. Check this video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExuDK5iWKM8

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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 7:15 pm 
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Can use isolation movements to pre-exhaust or post-exhaust the lats. Or alternate back and forth as needs dictate. If biceps are getting tired, could give them a rest doing pullovers or straight-arm pulldowns which, if they exhaust any elbow-crossing muscles, it would be the triceps.


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