Are lat pulldowns necessary: A detailed discussion to clear your doubts

exercise fitness
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Doing pull-ups and improving the muscles are common for gym-goers. But when it comes to tasks like lat pulldowns, it gets confusing. Numerous questions come to mind. And the most frequent one is that are lat pulldowns necessary? For those who do not know what it is, here is a definition for it.

Lat pulldown is a move that helps strengthen the back muscle, specifically the latissimus dorsi muscle. It is the broadest muscle at the back. And gradually, it helps in shaping a perfect cobra back with highly improved lat muscle. The exercise not only promotes good postures but also enhances the stability of the spines. However, as pull-ups seem to be more effective for developing the back muscle, people often ask if lat pulldown is necessary to do or not.

In general, the lat pulldown is a great alternative for the situation when you cannot do enough pull-ups. But, this may not clear the confusion. So, let’s know in detail whether it is necessary or not.

Are lat pulldowns necessary?

To know if it is important for shaping your body or not, you first have to know how it is performed. Let us tell it here.

To perform a pulldown, sit with your spine upright and grasp the bar. Keep the upper part of your body static and pull the bar towards your chest. Do it with your elbows instead of your hands. Then, squeeze your body at the bottom position. Gradually, get back to the top without completely straightening the arms. Thus, your lats get strong.

For pull-ups, it is often considered as upper body squat. Why is it called so? As squat improves the lower body part, it helps strengthen the upper body part.  The process is much like the pulldown. However, it is more strenuous. Grasp a bar and bring it closer to your chest with the elbow. Once your chest touches the bar, lower your body slowly without straightening your arms fully.

The pros of lat pulldowns include the good opportunity to control the weight of the bar. Also, it develops the ability to stretch and squeeze your lats as much as you want. However, it does not develop that much strength in the upper body. Because the support muscles do not grow in it the way, they are developed with pull-ups.

But when it comes to performing pull-ups,  the biggest concern is that it is tough to do. Very few can do a proper pull-up. It requires a high amount of effort and consistency. And most of the individuals tend to fail in that.

So, if you ask are lat pulldowns necessary or not, we will suggest that it is needed until you are good enough to bear the stress of proper pull-ups.

Are lat pulldowns as good as pull-ups?

Well, pull-ups are a better option if it is for developing the back muscles and improving the core activation and body strength. But, if you cannot perform it properly, you can start with the easier version of it, the lat pulldown. It is not as beneficial as the pull-ups. But it can definitely help you to grow your stability and endurance. Later on, you can perform the real pull-ups perfectly.

How many lat pulldowns should I do?

When you are going for lat pulldowns, make sure to do at least three sets with the 10-12 reps. If it seems heavy for you, do it twice a week on alternative days. Try to increase the number of sets and the reps gradually.

Should you do light or heavy lat pulldowns?

Along with the necessity of the lat pulldowns, another dilemma often takes place. Which is more effective- heavy lat pulldown or the light one?

There are several variations of lat pulldowns. You can do it with weight or without weight. You can do heavy lat pulldowns or the light variation. Your choice of pulldown should depend on the goal you want to achieve through it.

For the following goals, you should go for heavy lat pulldowns:

  • If you want to gain strength
  • If you’re going to develop the muscle at the back
  • If you want to improve the size of the backside of your body

The light lat pulldowns are the best for simple hypertrophy and smooth blood circulation in the body. So, consider what you are aiming at and then go for the variation accordingly.

The takeaway

Lat pulldowns develops strength in the body to sustain the stress of pull ups. But to do that properly, you must fix a goal first. Only then can you do it effectively. Also, know the right posture to sit on the machine. However, you might think, what if you do not have access to the machine? Can’t you do the exercise then?

Well, as lat pulldowns are the initial phases to start the core pull-ups, many gym-goers prefer to do it frequently. And as a result, you may not get access to the machine every time you need it. So, you should learn how to do lat pulldown without machine. It will help you to avail of its benefits even if you do not have the machine near you.

So, in short, practicing lat pulldowns is necessary to achieve that dream cobra back of your favorite strength athlete.

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