How To Perform Kneeling Lat Pulldown Properly

The kneeling lat pulldown is a total-body variation of the standard lat pulldown, that you perform with your knees on the ground instead of sitting on a bench or machine. They both have similar benefits, in addition to providing further activation to the core and lower body.

You will need a cable pulley machine or lat pulldown machine to carry out the movement. It works and strengthens various muscles, like the core, back, shoulders, and arms and improves lower-body stability. You should incorporate it in your upper body workout routine.

When doing the exercise, ensure you squeeze your glutes and tighten your abs once you get into position. This gives you stability. Continue squeezing your glutes and abs as you pull the bar down.

Once you get used to this exercise, you can also add variations like close-grip and wide-grip lat pulldowns in order to target different muscles even further.

HOW TO DO KNEELING LAT PULLDOWN

Here is a step-by-step procedure of how to do the exercise:

  • Get down on your knees in front of an adjustable cable pulley machine with a lat pulldown bar positioned at a high setting. To avoid unnecessary discomfort, place pads under your knees. Your body should be straight from your shoulders to your knees.
  • Grasp the bar with a shoulder width, overhand grip with your arms fully extended.
  • Without moving your torso, pull down the bar to your chest, then pause for a second while squeezing your back.
  • Now, slowly let the bar back up returning to your starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of sets and reps.

KNEELING LAT PULLDOWN MUSCLES ENGAGED

This exercise primarily targets the latissimus dorsi muscles, also commonly known as the “lats”. This is the muscle located just under the armpits and spreading across and down the back. They are the wing muscle that you see on somebody who has a defined back. Essentially, they are the largest muscles in your back. If you isolate the back muscles with this exercise, you will be able to particularly focus on them without tiring out the biceps or triceps.

The lats are responsible for adduction, internal rotation of the arm, extension and horizontal abduction. They also help with lateral flexion, respiration and even extension of the lumbar spine.

There are also secondary muscles synergistically or simultaneously targeted with the lats in this exercise. They include; pectoralis major, lower and middle trapezius, brachialis, brachioradialis, teres major, rhomboids, biceps brachii, infraspinatus, flexors of the wrist and hand, and abdominals

Interestingly, changing how you grip the bar during the exercise emphasizes different muscle groups

KNEELING LAT PULLDOWN BENEFITS

The movement has several benefits like:

  • Strengthening the lats (latissimus dorsi), upper back, and biceps muscles.
  • Activating and strengthening the core and glutes more than the lat pulldowns.
  • Activation and contraction of the core and glutes further activates the lat muscles
  • It can be performed using either the cable pulley station or the lat pulldown machine, In case one of them is unavailable.
  • Strong back muscles help maintain proper posture and make it easy doing pulling activities like doing a pull-up, opening a door or even swimming.
  • Strong lats also help to relieve some kinds of back pain.

KNEELING LAT PULLDOWN VARIATIONS

LAT PULLDOWN

The lat pulldown is an upper body strength exercise which targets the upper back. It also improves stability in the lower back and core.

UNDERHAND-GRIP LAT PULLDOWN

The underhand-grip lat pulldown improves and strengthens the back, biceps, and forearms while engaging the biceps more than the traditional overhand-grip.

TOWEL PULLUP

The towel pullup increases strength in the back, biceps, and forearms. It is a progression of the standard pull up. Using the towels increases the use of the forearms to improve grip strength.

BAND ASSISTED CHINUP

The band-assisted chin-up also strengthens the upper back, biceps, and forearms. It is a beginner-focused variation to the traditional chin-up. Using bands decreases the resistance, and this allows beginners to learn and progress through the movement pattern

GENERAL PULLUP

The general pullup is quite a challenging exercise that develops the entire back while strengthening the biceps, forearms, and core. It also increases stability throughout the shoulders. To really engage your full back, begin each rep from a dead hang with your arms fully extended. Then, pull your elbows into your ribcage and squeeze your lats as you pull your body up.

WIDE GRIP LAT PULLDOWN

The wide-grip lat pulldown is an upper-body strength exercise that targets the back specifically the outer lats. This reduces the resistance placed on the biceps and forearms

KNEELING LAT PULLDOWN MISTAKES TO AVOID

You will need to avoid the following errors in order to avoid injury and maximize your benefits from this exercise. The mistakes include:

ARCHING YOUR BACK

You need to sit upright, maintain a straight back and keep your chest lifted as you pull the bar down. This can help protect your lower back from injury. Do not lean back to pull weight down.

USING YOUR FOREARMS

Ensure you do not pull the bar down using your forearms as you want to fully engage your back. Pull down from your armpits if you want to activate your lats.

HOLDING THE BAR TOO WIDE

Do not grab the bar too wide, it should be just outside of your shoulders. Ensure your elbows are pointed down as you lower the bar and not out to the sides.

PULLING DOWN TOO FAR

When pulling the bar down, lower to your chin or just below. Do not continue to the point where your elbows would need to go backward to continue pulling the cable down as this would put excessive stress on the shoulder joint.

USING MOMENTUM

As with most weighted exercises, doing the exercise quickly uses momentum and reduces the use of the targeted muscles. It should be performed slowly and with control.

CONCLUSION

Maintaining proper form during any exercise is important in order to reduce injury risks and maximize the benefits. The kneeling lat pulldown is no exception.