The Missing Back Movement; What Everyone Forgets About

In the bodybuilding community, oftentimes movements are identified with muscles. Which is useful, but it's better to understand what the function of a muscle is versus just knowing the movement associated with it. An example being, we think of doing rows and lat pulldowns, we know thats for back. Why is this for back? The main reason is shoulder extension, which is basically bringing the arm back towards neutral. This occurs when doing a pulldown or a row.

The Movement: Lat Push Downs

  1. Hinge At The Hip
    1. Keep your upper body pretty flat to the floor while in full extension
  2. Set The Cables As High As You Can
  3. Use A Straight or Angle Bar
  4. Pull With Elbows Locked
    1. Pull towards the hips
  5. Once you get back to the top, elevate the scapula
  6. Depress as you pull down and think of sticking your chest out

This is essentially a row combined with a push down while not letting the elbows bend. This movement should let you feel a nice contraction throughout the whole lat. Doing this movement can actually help you get a better mind muscle connection with the lat, which is super hard for a lot of people.

How do we incorporate this in our training program?

A good option for this is typically an upper lower, it can also be done with legs, push, pull and full body routines. Remember, because this is not incorporating elbow flexion, this is not a bicep movement. It will however hit those triceps. If you are doing an upper body day and have bench, row, OHP and lat pulldowns, you wouldn't want to slot in lat push downs between two push movements as it's also hitting the triceps. So do it either at the end or early during a back day.

  • If it's upper body day -> do it at the end
  • If it's back day -> Do it at the beginning and still stick to the compounds. (maybe at the end)

How Many Reps Do I Do?

The Lat push down is what we would classify as an easier movement. Easier movements means we want to focus more on the mind muscle connection. This will really help you get the most out of the exercise. Overall we want to start light, focus on that connection and once we have it down, then we can move on to heavier weight.

  • Start in the 12 to 15 rep range, can even go up to 20 (start light)
  • Once you get the movement down then switch over to the 6 to 12 range at the heavier weight
  • Overall we like to stick somewhere between the 8 to 15 rep range

Closing Statements

This isn’t a replacement for rows and pulldowns. This is a great addition to those movements to really help bring up a lagging back and focus on the mind muscle connection.


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