How To Do V-Bar Pulldown Properly

It is a compound resistance workout that targets the latissimus dorsi, mid traps, teres major, and rhomboids. V-bar pulldown is often mistaken for the close grip pulldown.

Note that the v-bar pulldown uses a smaller grip than the standard pulldown.

The mid-portion of the lift involves shoulder rotation, scapular retraction and rotation, and elbow flexion. The latissimus dorsi is the most involved muscle in this movement.

The goal of this workout is to strengthen the lats, rhomboids, teres major, and trapezius and provide hypertrophy benefits.

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Targeted Muscles: Latissimus dorsi, Traps, Teres Major, Rhomboids

Required Equipment: Cable Machine, V-bar attachment

Exercise Type: Strength, Hypertrophy, Muscle endurance

Exercise Mechanics: Compound

Force: Pull (bilateral)

Difficulty Level: Beginner

STEPS:

  • Fix the v bar to the cable machine and get into a seated position.
  • Hold the handle with a neutral grip and start the motion by contracting the shoulder blades.
  • Flex the elbow as you extend your shoulders.
  • Pull the v bar towards your body such that your elbows are aligned with your torso.
  • Bring back the handle gently to resume the starting position. Do this in a slow and controlled motion.
  • Repeat until you achieve the recommended sets of reps

TIPS:

  • Keep your abs toned as you pull the bar attachment towards your body to ensure you don’t arch your spine excessively.
  • Do not let the weight control you. Also, don’t let momentum dictate the motion. Control the movement throughout the reps.
  • Do not wrap your thumb around the bar. Instead, use a false grip to avoid overusing your biceps and back.
  • Avoid jutting your head as you pull.
  • Make sure your shoulder blades move on the ribcage.
  • To increase lat activation, pull your elbows to your sides and towards your back instead of cranking your arms.
  • When the bar touches your chest, resume the starting position, and remember to do this in a slow and controlled manner.

MUSCLES WORKED BY THE V BAR LAT PULLDOWN

LATS (LATISSIMUS DORSI)

The latissimus dorsi is the focal point of this workout. When you stretch your arms up and out in front of you, the humerus attachment moves far, stretching the lats to the maximum.

BICEPS BRACHII

Since the elbow joint closes when you perform, the biceps will be active. However, note that you pulling your elbow down is better than cranking your arm- to activate your lats more.

The v bar lat pulldown activates many synergist muscles that aid stability as you work out. These muscles are the mid-back, shoulders, and brachialis.

BENEFITS OF V-BAR AT PULLDOWN

IMPROVE UPPER BODY STRENGTH

Isolating and training the lats let you emphasize building them without overworking your delts and biceps. This exercise strengthens the lats, making you execute pulling activities with much ease.

When you improve your compound pulling strength, you will ultimately improve your upper body strength. Likewise, you will improve your mobility and flexibility.

POSTURE AND AESTHETIC IMPROVEMENT

Apart from strength gains, you will gain postural and body-shaping benefits. This is because the lats facilitate stability of the lumbar spine, which prevents the inward sagging and makes you stand up straight.

This exercise also compresses and adducts shoulder blades, thereby improving shoulder functions and correcting body posture gradually.

IMPROVES STABILITY

The V bar pulldown primarily trains the lats. However, it has other athletic benefits that improve performance in other exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and bench presses. Stronger lats aid better stability when executing these other exercises. If you are weak in these areas, consider doing other strengthening exercises before you do the v bar pulldown.

ALTERNATIVES OF V-BAR PULLDOWN

RESISTANCE BAND KNEELING LAT PULLDOWN

When performing the resistance band kneeling lat pulldown, the resistance adds with every downward pull. This means you’ll have to put more effort into the training.

STEPS:

  • Fix a resistance to a raised hook and kneel on the floor.
  • If your resistance band has handles, stretch your arms upwards to hold the handles and ensure your palms are facing forward. You can alternatively grasp the band with a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • Engage your core and move your shoulder blades down.
  • Pull the band down to your chest level.
  • When you reach the bottom of the rep, pause and hold the position. Contract your lats and slowly resume your initial position.
  • Keep the tension in your core and repeat.

See also: cable straight arm pulldown

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING V-BAR PULLDOWN

USING MOMENTUM TO PULL THE BAR

This often happens when you use heavy and inappropriate weight or when you perform too many sets of reps. Using momentum when pulling the v-bar shortens the motion range, hence targeting the lats less effectively. It can also pose the risk of injury if you arch your back while you perform this exercise.

Correct this by pulling the bar in a slow and controlled manner to alleviate potential injury and work your muscles effectively.

PUSHING THE BAR FORWARD WITH YOUR ARMS

This is another common mistake made with the v-bar pulldowns. Beginners often push down their hands with their elbows pointing towards the back when the bar is already at chest level. This disengages the lats and shifts the tension to the shoulders and the forearms.

Ensure your elbows face down as you execute this workout to focus on the targeted muscles safely and actively.

USING A VERY WIDE GRIP

There is no point in using a very wide grip since it will shorten the range of motion. It is also a surefire way to irritate the shoulder joints if you have experienced strains or injuries in the delts before. It is ideal to use a grip slightly wider than the shoulder width for optimum gains from this workout.

CONCLUSION

If your workout goal is to develop back strength and build bigger wider lats, the v-bar pulldown is an ideal exercise for you. It is a compound workout that mainly focuses on the back musculature and is very result-oriented, and will improve your overall pulling strength.

Do not pull down behind the neck for safety purposes. Rotating the shoulder joint can cause shoulder injury. Poor technique will also pose you to spinal injuries. Do the exercise in a slow and controlled manner to make sure you use the right movements.

If you have experienced shoulder, wrist, or elbow problems, consult a certified fitness trainer to gauge whether this workout is appropriate for you.

If you feel any pain when performing, stop immediately. Check on your form and consult a physical therapist first.

Take time to train your muscles and gain the fitness and health benefits of the v-bar pulldown.