If you have wanted that V-tapper look, the banded pulldowns should be your go-to routine. This exercise will help build your back muscles with ease, with a tool that is perfect to be used anywhere; a resistance band.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS TO CONSIDER
If you have pre-existing conditions such as wrist, elbow and shoulder problems, talk to a doctor or physician first to see if the exercise is good enough for your condition.
Similarly, stop this exercise if you feel any pain or excess stress on your shoulder joints.
The number of reps you will do will be guided by your experience level or your individual strength as too much of the move might cause injuries.
HOW TO DO BANDED PULLDOWNS PROPERLY
Banded pulldowns majorly target your lats. Additionally, they work your chest, triceps, shoulders and upper back.
If you keep your back tight throughout this move, you will be lucky enough to engage and work your abs.
Below is a step-by-step guide to efficient banded pulldowns.
- Attach your resistance bands with handles to an elevated hook such as a door anchor.
- Facing your door, slightly arch your back so that you are bending at an angle. Place your hands at shoulder-width apart.
- While keeping your arms straight, grab one handle in each hand and keep your palms facing down.
- While maintaining a tight back and core, engage your lats and pull the handles down to your thighs. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
WHAT MUSCLES DO BANDED PULLDOWNS WORK?
The lats or latissimus dorsi are the main muscles worked by this exercise. They are broad, flat muscles located in the middle and lower back, connecting your arm to your spine.
The functions of these muscles include:
Helping to protect and stabilize your vertebrae.
Provides shoulder and back strength.
Helping with shoulder and back movement.
The banded pulldowns also incorporate the biceps, forearms, abs, deltoids, and upper back. While during the move your lats do most of the work in pulling down the band, your biceps and forearms get to contract as well.
ALTERNATIVES TO BANDED PULLDOWNS
If you enjoy the banded pulldowns, try out these alternative back exercises to improve your upper body training.
STRAIGHT ARM DUMBBELL PULLOVER
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the ground. Hold a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and extend your arms straight above your chest.
Bring your arms back slowly until the dumbbells touch the ground. Squeeze your lats to bring them back to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps.
BARBELL PENDLAY ROW
This alternative will require the use of a barbell. Set up a barbell on the ground with light to medium weight.
Take a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Ensure the barbel is over the middle portion of your feet.
Hinge at your waist, such that your back is roughly parallel to the floor. Grab the bar with an overhand grip with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.
While keeping your elbows slightly tucked, brace your core and contract your lats to drive your elbows up and back, bringing the barbell towards the bottom of your chest.
Squeeze your lats at the top, pause for a moment and slowly bring the barbell back to its starting position on the floor.
Remember to maintain tightness in your core and back and for the exercise to be effective. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
1-ARM KETTLEBELL Y BACK
To start this off, grab a kettlebell with one hand and hinge at the waist until your back is roughly parallel to the ground.
With your palm facing back, keep your arm straight as you contract your lats to bring the kettlebell back on a diagonal path slightly away from your body.
Pause for a moment at the top and slowly return to the starting position. Exchange and use the other hand to complete one rep.
Keep alternating your hands throughout the exercise in order to balance the amount of work done by each.
These alternative grips could also be used to get the same results as in banded pulldowns. Try wider, narrow, under or overhead grips to target specific muscle groups in your body.
If you want to work your biceps and middle back, consider using the middle-distance grip with forearms upright and hands about shoulder-width apart.
On the other hand, a wider grip will engage more back muscles compared to the close grip pulldown which will emphasize your forearm muscles.
COMMON BANDED PULLDOWNS MISTAKES TO AVOID
Avoid the following common mistakes in order to get the most out of this exercise and also to prevent strain and injury.
ARCHING YOUR BACK
Avoid arching your back as you do banded pulldowns. Have your chest lifted as you pull the resistance band down.
This will help maintain a neutral spine which will in turn help in preventing your lower back from injuries.
USING YOUR FOREARMS
Avoid engaging your forearms while pulling down the resistance band. This should be done by your muscles from your back.
To achieve this, consider activating your lats from your armpits while doing the banded pulldowns.
HOLDING THE BAR TOO WIDE
Inasmuch as you are advised to grab the band outside your shoulders, don’t do it extensively, especially if you are a beginner.
Ensure to have your elbows pointed down as you lower the band and not out to the sides.
PULLING DOWN TOO FAR
Stop at the point where your elbow would need to go back to continue pulling the band down. Otherwise, if the resistance band goes backwards, you risk putting excessive stress on your shoulder joints.
As with most weight exercises, this one too should also be done with extra caution. Pull the band down slowly with maximum control.
Doing it fast uses momentum and reduces the use of targeted muscles.
Banded pulldowns are one of the best exercises for strengthening your back and improving your posture. Additionally, it is a versatile and effective exercise for people of all fitness levels.