How To Do One Arm Lat Pulldown Properly

One arm lat pulldown is an excellent exercise for correcting lat asymmetry and strengthening the back muscles.

When most people do exercises aimed at strengthening the back and increasing its thickness, it is usually with a fixed bar or long bar attachment.

While there is absolutely no problem with doing this, bilateral training makes the stronger side of the body compensate for the weaker part.

Doing this not only conceals the asymmetry but allows the stronger side to keep getting stronger while the weaker part remains weak.

Overtime bilateral training and overcompensation by the stronger side will create a visual imbalance in your back muscles, and nobody wants that.

Training one side at a time, also known as unilateral training, can fix this problem by putting each side to task independently. This way, the weak part can catch up to the stronger part.

HOW TO DO ONE ARM LAT PULLDOWN

Once you have attached a D-handle, get into position as if you are going for the traditional lat pulldown

Raise your hands and grab the handle using a neutral grip. Keep the posture erect, and puff the chest out, extend the arms fully. If you need to stand up and bring the handle down before you sit down, that is very okay.

Start with the right arm, lean back such that your body lies at a 10-15 angle and look forward.

Bring your shoulders back, tighten your core and inhale then pull the handle down. If you feel a contraction in your back, you are doing the right thing. Your elbow remains to your side. Hold this pose for a couple of seconds.

Release the handle slowly until your arms are fully stretched.

Take a deep breath and repeat this motion as many times as you wish.

USEFUL TIPS

When doing this exercise, avoid the temptation to use fast, jerky movements. Pull slowly and deliberately so the force can come from the right place, not your biceps and lower back

If you want to change things up and add some variations to this exercise, keep switching up the grip by making the palm face forward or backward.

If you wish to get the lats to do even more work, lean further back. This will also engage the muscles on your mid and upper back.

This exercise can also engage the rear deltoids if you flare the elbows to the side.

ONE ARM LAT PULLDOWN MUSCLES WORKED

LATISSIUMUS DORSI

This muscle is also known as the lats, is a very important muscle located in the upper body. It runs from the scapula’s lower back, all the way to the portion at the bottom.

The position of the lats makes the key player in the extension and flexion of the arms, movements that are very present when doing the lat pulldown.

Other muscles involved when doing lat pulldowns include the biceps, rear deltoid, rhomboid, and traps.

ONE ARM LAT PULLDOWN BENEFITS

FIXES IMBALANCES

Any imbalances that have accrued due to bilateral training will be laid out and corrected by this exercise. The stronger side can not come in and stand for the weaker side when every side is being trained individually.

It will prevent any future imbalances too by enabling you to catch both sides up.

ACTIVATES BACK MUSCLES

While this exercise aims at training the lats, it also to some extent involves other muscles in the upper, middle, and lower back. These include the rhomboids, traps, and rear deltoids.

LEG PAD

Once you have your feet secured under the leg pad, it creates some sort of resistance to work against. It holds you in place and pushes you to work more and reach the full range of motion.

ONE ARM LAT PULLDOWN ALTERNATIVES AND VARIATIONS

SINGLE-ARM LAT PULLDOWN WITH SUPINATED GRIP

The supinated grip, also known as the underhand grip, involves rotating the wrist in such a way that the palms face the body.

Using this grip is best if you want to get more bicep activation out of this exercise. It also spices things up if  you grow bored of the usual grip.

SINGLE ARM BAND PULLDOWN

Not everyone has access to a cable or lat pulldown machine, if you are one of those people, worry not. Get a firm band and attach to a spot overhead, and lengthen it enough to create tension.

If you want to add more challenge, pull the band down while on your knees.

ONE ARM LAT PULLDOWN MISTAKES TO AVOID

TOO MUCH WEIGHT

One of the most common mistakes people do when doing this exercise is using too much weight.

You have to keep in mind that you are working one side at a time, so you cannot go with the weight you would use when working both sides.

Keep the weight to a maximum of 40% of what you usually pull. When you keep the weight manageable, you can do more reps, and also you can explore the full range of motion of this exercise and reap maximum gains.

LEANING BACK TOO MUCH

While we recommend leaning back to work the muscles more, leaning back too much will shift the focus to other muscles in the back. This is a lat pulldown, so we focus on just the lats.

Unless you want to deliberately work the other areas of the back, keep the lean moderate. If you want to focus on other back muscles different from the lats, maybe you should try the incline lat pulldown.

CONCLUSION

The one arm lat pulldown is a fantastic exercise for correcting imbalances in your back muscles. It is very similar to the lat pulldown, but may be considered more beneficial because it enables you to work on one side at a time.

Take care to activate your muscles before beginning this exercise. If you are not careful, you can lose this whole workout to the biceps, which is not the muscle this workout is meant for.

Thus, pay close attention to the correct form so the focus can go where it is intended.