The lat pulldown can be a very useful exercise to help you train your back. Having the different attachments can help you target the muscles from different angles and the fixed path of travel makes it a safe exercise. With that said, we all know that pullups are clearly the better exercise and the number one reason an athlete will choose to opt for pulldowns is because they can’t do pullups.
By Roger Lockridge
Why are pullups better? You’re working with your bodyweight, pulling up targets the muscles more effectively, and they target the stabilizer muscles you can’t focus on with pulldowns. So now we’re in agreement. You should be doing pullups but there is still the issue of the lack of strength. The only way you’re going to get better at them is to do them. Use these three tips to help you incorporate pullups into your routine and you’ll start seeing improvements in a hurry.
Most gyms nowadays have one of these machines. You can select the amount of assistance it provides, stand on the moving platform while holding the pullup handle, and start performing reps as you would if you were doing it by yourself. This machine can help you increase strength because as you improve you will be able to decrease the amount of assistance that it provides. There are two other ways you can use assistance. You can have a partner hold your feet and spot you as you go up or use the support of a power band. You take the band and loop it around the handles, stand in the opening at the bottom, and it acts like an assistant machine. Be cautious about this technique. If you don’t think the band will support you or you get uncomfortable, don’t do it.
Your muscle fibers are challenged the most when you’re lowering a weight. So the negative portion of a rep is more beneficial than the actual lifting itself. You might be thinking that you can’t perform negatives if you can’t get up there to begin with. In this case, you can either use the assistant techniques from the previous tip or you can simply jump up and pull yourself as high as you can once you reach the apex of your jump. Once you’re at that point, hold yourself there as long as you can before lowering yourself back down to the stretched position. Repeat this drill for the amount of reps you want to do.
If you can’t perform a free weight movement or machine exercise with a certain amount of weight, you lower it, right? It should make sense that losing overall bodyweight will help you improve at doing bodyweight exercises. While it obviously isn’t as easy to take weight off yourself as it would be to change weights or a pin in a stack, committing to an overall weight loss program can help you improve on pullups. You might amaze yourself how much stronger you get thanks to losing as little as 10 pounds combined with incorporating the other techniques shared here.