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How Lat Pulldowns Can Cause Shoulder Pain When Done Wrong

March 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Rotator Cuff

lat-pulldowns-shoulder-painDid you know that your Latissimus Dorsi muscle, also known as your back muscle, is the largest muscle in your body?

If you are like many people who exercise in a gym or fitness center, one of the most popular exercise that targets your back muscles are Lat Pulldowns.  This exercise is normally performed on a Lat Pull Down Machine or some sort of high pulley or cable machine.

This is an exercise that many people get wrong which can result in a rotator cuff strain.  From swinging way too far back, to using too much weight, too working the biceps.  This can all lead to shoulder pain and injury, especially to your rotator cuff muscles.

You may notice that after a few months of using the pull down machine, lat pulldowns cause you shoulder pain!

The Lat pull down exercise is meant to strengthen your Latissimus Dorsi muscles and nothing else.

A word of caution: If you do lateral pull downs behind your neck, it stresses the back of the neck and the shoulder blade, unnecessarily, and you run a risk of compressing your rotator cuff or even worse causing compression of your spine.

You should NEVER perform this exercise where bring the bar down behind your neck.  It honestly causes more harm than good!

The safest and most effective setup for this exercise to really hit and target your back muscles is to recline your torso to about 20 degrees and then slowly pull the bar down in front of you to the top of your chest.  Squeeze your shoulder blades together and downward.

Focus on maintaining a stable spine position throughout the movement and avoid jerking the weight or leaning back to use your body weight to pull the bar down to your chest.

If you still want to perform this exercise at home without a machine, you can use tubing.  Simply secure the tubing over the top of your door or perhaps on the door handle.  You can sit and position yourself on the floor.

lat pulldowns shoulder pain

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