How To Do The Cable Lat Pullover Properly

Although not among the most popular lat exercises, the cable lat pullover is a powerful movement that uses the cable machine pulley to isolate and build your lats.

If you’re looking to widen your back and increase your upper body strength, this exercise should not be missing in your upper body workout routine.

However, the cable lat pullover can be a double-edged sword. As much as it delivers great results, it can also damage your arms and back if done incorrectly.

Here are the steps to follow if you want to do it correctly:

  • Stand straight facing the cable machine with a bar attachment that goes a bit higher than head height.
  • Grab the handle of the machine with an overhead grip. The grip should be about shoulder-width apart.
  • Take a few steps back.
  • With your shoulders pushed down and back, and your core tight, set your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hinge forward slightly at the hips.
  • Start pulling the bar down, with your arms straight. The driving force should be coming from your lats.
  • When the bar attachment reaches your thighs, pause for a few seconds and squeeze your lats.
  • Slowly return your arms to the starting position while maintaining your hip hinge.
  • Do as many reps as you desire.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE CABLE LAT PULLOVER WORK?

At first glance, this exercise might look like an arm workout but in real sense, it primarily works the lats on your back.

When done correctly, this exercise uses power generated by your lats to drive all your motions.

However, your lats are not the only muscles involved in the movement.

The cable lat pullover also uses your pecs, triceps, rhomboids, teres major and posterior deltoids to extend your shoulders during the motions.

The core muscles also act as stabilizers as you perform this exercise. They stabilize your body so that you are able to maintain a straight and solid spine from start to finish.

CABLE LAT PULLOVER BENEFITS

STRENGTHENS YOUR UPPER BODY

The cable lat pullover is a fantastic way to increase your upper body strength.

This it does by working major muscle groups on your upper body like your lats and core, which are largely responsible for upper body strength.

STABILIZES YOUR CORE

As much as your lats do most of the heavy lifting in this exercise, other stabilizing muscles like the obliques and rectus abdominis in your core also provide support to them and in turn, they get strengthened too.

SHOULDER EXTENSION

Lat isolation is one of the main benefits of the cable lat pullover. It works your back muscles by extending your shoulders.

Most back movements tend to leave out shoulder extension and instead focus on horizontal and vertical pulling. Not the cable lat pullover though; it specifically applies shoulder extension to extensively work your back and build your upper body strength.

IMPROVES FLEXIBILITY

Cable pullover motions can help stretch your muscles and loosen the tightness in your chest, lats, shoulders, upper back and wrists.

ALTERNATIVES TO CABLE LAT PULLOVER

DUMBBELL PULLOVER

The dumbbell pullover hits your upper chest, core and lats just as well as the cable pullover does. The only difference between the two is that while the dumbbell pullover mainly gives you more stretching tension, the cable pullover offers greater contraction tension.

For this exercise, you first need to find a bench, and then follow the steps below:

  • Lie flat on the bench, face up.
  • Grab a dumbbell and hold on to it with both hands.
  • With your arms extended, bring the dumbbell back down behind your head. At the end of your range of motion, your upper arms should be resting by your ears.
  • When you get to the bottom position, squeeze your lats before bringing your arms overhead as you lift the dumbbell and extend your arms once again.

Make sure you maintain a solid grip on the dumbbell throughout the movement to prevent it from falling and hurting you.

Also, don’t forget to contract your lats to get the most out of this movement.

CABLE LAT PULLOVER MISTAKES TO AVOID

NOT ENGAGING YOUR CORE

This is one of the most common mistakes people make while doing this exercise. Disengaging your core can have negative implications on the whole exercise.

Core strengthening and stabilization is one of the main benefits of cable lat pullovers, and if you fail to engage your core you might end up using an improper form which will render the movement ineffective.

From the start of this movement where you grab the handle, through the shoulder flexion and hip hinge to end where you put the handle attachment back at the pulley site, your core should be as tight as possible.

OVERBENDING YOUR ELBOWS

Bending your elbows too much while doing this movement shifts the focus from your lats to your triceps.

For you to keep the focus on your lats, keep a slight bend in your elbows so that you allow your back muscles to be properly engaged.

EXCESSIVE RANGE OF MOTION

When your arms are extended directly over your head, you might find it easy to let your shoulders move up and come into contact with your ears.

This should not be the case; they should stay down to keep your lats fully engaged and prevent you from overusing your shoulder joint.

MOVING TOO FAST

The cable pullover is not one of those exercises where speed is important.

For this movement, you should use slow and controlled motions that allow you to maintain the correct form and focus on the target muscles.

FINAL WORD

If you do it correctly, the cable lat pullover will not only strengthen your lats but also work your chest and arms.

Keep in mind that feeling tension in your muscles as you do this exercise is normal, but you should not feel uncomfortable.

Should you feel overly uncomfortable, stop doing it immediately.

Follow the steps suggested above and you might be well on your way to getting that wide back, strong chest or toned arms you are looking for!