Does Lat Pulldown Work Your Traps? (Crucial Tips, Hints, And Variations)
The lat pulldown is a staple exercise at the gym and is great for building strength in the main muscles of the back.
The thing is, does the exercise work any other muscles apart from the Latissimus dorsi (back muscles) and biceps?
Does Lat Pulldown Work Your Traps?
The answer is yes, the lat pulldown does work the traps. This is because the movement effectively targets the muscles in this area. The thing you have to realize is that there are three parts to the Trapezius to consider. The traps are made up of the upper, middle, and lower sections. Depending on how you do the lat pulldown, you can target all three parts. The most common way to do a lat pulldown is with a pronated (overhand wide) grip, this grip will target the two lower parts of the trapezius. Try the variation with the same grip, but lowering the bar behind your head (with less weight), to target the upper section of the trapezius. Being able to do this variation will depend on your range of motion and biomechanics, so bear that in mind. Finally, to target the lower traps, do the lat pulldown with a narrow grip. This will help to engage the lower traps more effectively.
What muscles does the lat pull down work?
The lat pulldown works a variety of muscles, including:
- Latissimus dorsi (back)
- Trapezius (traps)
- Rhomboids (upper back)
- Pectoralis major (chest)
- Biceps (arms)
Introduction to the lat pulldown exercise and its benefits
The lat pulldown is a great exercise to add to your workout routine, especially if you’re looking to work on your back muscles. This exercise can help to build strength and definition in the upper back and shoulders, and can also be a great way for beginners to get started with weightlifting.
While the lat pulldown does require some equipment, it is a relatively simple exercise to perform and can be done at most gyms. Additionally, using proper form and technique is important to ensure that you’re getting the most out of the movement and avoiding injury.
How to do the lat pulldown exercise
If you’re new to the lat pulldown exercise, here’s a quick overview of how to do it:
1. Start by sitting down on a lat pulldown machine and adjusting the seat so that your thighs are snug against the pad.
2. Grip the bar with an overhand grip, making sure that your hands are shoulder-width apart.
3. Start with your arms extended overhead, then pull the bar down in front of your chest until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
4. Pause for a moment, then slowly return the bar to the starting position.
5. Repeat for 8-12 reps.
Tips for proper form and technique
When doing the lat pulldown exercise, it’s important to keep the following tips in mind:
1. Use a weight that is challenging but not too heavy. You should be able to complete 8-12 reps with good form before reaching muscle fatigue.
2. Use a pronated grip (overhand grip) for the most effective results.
3. Keep your core engaged and your back straight throughout the exercise.
4. Avoid using momentum to swing the bar up or down – focus on using your muscles to control the movement.
5. Breathe steadily throughout the exercise.
How does behind-the-neck variation compare?
The behind-the-neck version is great for your rhomboids, your rear delts, and your traps.
This variation of the lat pulldown can help target the upper traps, but it does come with a higher risk of injury.
This is because the position of the arms behind the head puts unnecessary strain on the shoulder joints. For this reason, it’s important to use a light weight and focus on proper form and technique.
When performing the behind-the-neck pulldown, as with any other exercise has positive and negative portions.
On the positive focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together and bringing that bar down using your rhomboids and your rear delts.
The sweet action is happening on the negative though. Really flex your traps and resist the negative on the way up. Go for a 6-second negative and keep flexing the traps as hard as possible.
Safety is also important so make sure you keep a neutral spine ( meaning straight neck/slightly tucked in the chin). Weight is not of importance here.
No other exercise will fire your traps like this one.
Exercise variations that work the trapezius
In addition to the lat pulldown, there are a few other exercises that can help to work the traps.
Other good exercises for your “trap day” are as follows:
- Upright rows (barbells, dumbells, smith machine, cables)
- Face Pulls
- Shoulder Press (dumbells, barbells, behind the head)
- Wide grip Low cable row
If you don’t have access to gym equipment or any of the above and you are pushed for space, there are a few exercises you can do which will have a similar effect:
- Loaded carries
- Farmer’s walks
Related: Is Progressive Overload Important On A Calorie Deficit? (4 Things To Achieve Maximum Overload)
Genetics and biomechanics
Both of these can limit some people’s ability to fully develop their traps. However, with the right exercises and programming, everyone can make significant gains in trap development.
Doing variations of the lat pulldown is a great way to build strong and muscular traps. Additionally, adding in other exercises that target the traps can also be beneficial. If you are new to exercise, it’s always a good idea to consult with a certified personal trainer or coach before starting any new workout routine.
It is important to warm up before any workout, but it is especially important when you will be working your traps. Warming up helps to increase blood flow to the muscles and can help reduce the risk of injury.
A simple warm-up for your traps could include:
1. Neck rolls – Slowly roll your head from side to side for 10-15 reps.
2. Shoulder shrugs – Lift your shoulders towards your ears, then release them back down. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
3. Arm circles – Extend your arms out to the sides and make small circles. Do 10-15 reps in each direction.
4. Jumping jacks – Start with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Jump up and spread your legs wide, then bring your arms up overhead. Jump back to the starting position and repeat for 30-60 seconds.
After completing your warm-up, you’ll be ready to start your trap workout!
The lat pulldown is a great exercise for working your traps, as it effectively targets the muscles in this area.
The behind-the-neck variation of the lat pulldown can help target the upper traps, but it does come with a higher risk of injury. This is because the position of the arms behind the head puts unnecessary strain on the shoulder joints.
For this reason, it’s important to use a light weight and focus on proper form and technique. Additionally, other good exercises for working your traps are upright rows, face pulls, shoulder press, wide grip low cable row, and deadlifts.
If you are new to exercise, it’s always a good idea to consult with a certified personal trainer or coach before starting any new workout routine. Warming up before your workout is also important to reduce the risk of injury.
By following these tips, you can effectively work your traps and build strong, muscular shoulders!