One of the most 'classic' gym exercises and a good one to perfect before you move on to learning pull ups. With very similar movement patterns, once you've nailed the lat pulldown your pull ups should progress well too.
The 3 Key Mistakes & how to fix them
- Swinging through the torso - lean back slightly and then brace with your abs to maintain that angle through your body as you draw the bar down. Don't let the pull of the bar going back up pull you out of alignment.
- Gripping overly wide - The grip should be slightly wider than the shoulders The position you're aiming for is when the bar is at the chest the angle of the forearms should be vertical (not angled in or out). This best grip will help to fix the following mistake.
- Incorrect bar path - Pulling only with the arms, or too low on the chest can have the bar travelling incorrectly. Draw the bar to the top of the chest by squeezing back and down with the shoulder blades and lat muscles. The arms just connect these working muscles to the bar and are not the primary workers.
If you already have a good lat pulldown technique and are looking for a new challenge, start to work on your pull up ability. Optionally, to get more variety from the pull down you could try the reverse grip lat pulldown as shown in this video.
The basic cues are the same; torso stays steady and the lats and shoulder blades draw the bar down to the top of the chest. The main difference being the grip - palms supinated (facing back towards you) and positioned at shoulder width or a little narrower.
This version requires more bicep and forearm recruitment than the standard lat pulldown.