Why Do I Feel Lat Pulldowns In My Core? Find Out Here

L J Kudos
Why do I feel lat pulldowns in my core?

Why Do I Feel Lat Pulldowns In My Core? Find Out Here

Do you ever find yourself in the middle of a lat pulldown set and suddenly notice your core is starting to burn?

Have you ever wondered why that was happening, even though your abs seem like they should be just fine during this exercise?

If lat pulldowns make your core muscles feel like they’re doing extra work, you are definitely not alone! Lat pulldowns can often feel like an ab workout for many people.

However, why is this the case and what can you do to prevent it from happening again? Read on to learn more about why doing lat pulldowns can be felt in and around your core…

Why do I feel lat pulldowns in my core? 

The main reason why doing lat pulldowns can be felt in and around your core is due to poor form. Poor form typically stems from having too much core tension, weak core muscles, imbalances, holding your breath, leaning back, the angle of pull and/or improper grip width. When you have any of these problems, your body will try to find a way to complete the exercise by using other muscle groups and that is where your core can become involved. The best way to ensure that you do not feel lat pulldowns in your core muscles is by ensuring that your form is perfect before you start each rep. Your seating position should be proper (make sure your hips are tucked right into foam pads) and you should be in control of the bar (not jerking it around), making sure to pull it down far enough. Also, make sure to warm-up your body prior to doing lat pulldowns as this will help reduce any risk of injury such as a hernia or other problems that could arise from having poor form. By paying attention to the advice above, you should be able to feel lat pulldowns where they are meant to be felt (in your lats) and not in any other part of your body such as your core. If you do find yourself feeling it in your core, then take a step back and assess your form! 

What is the function of your core?

The role of the core during any type of exercise is to provide stability and control. During lat pulldowns, the abs need to help keep your body in the correct position while you are doing the exercise (including keeping your spine straight) and they also act as brakes when you are returning to the starting position.

Without proper core engagement, you will not be able to complete the movement correctly and thus, you may end up relying on other muscles to help out. This is why it is so important to make sure that your form is perfect before starting each rep. 

If you find yourself straining your core more than your lats when doing lat pulldown, it’s time to pause and assess why. Make the adjustments necessary so that you can ensure proper form and maximize progress from this powerful exercise.

Poor form

This is the main reason why you may be feeling lat pulldowns in your core because poor form can lead to using other muscle groups to complete the exercise. This can be particularly common amongst newbies who haven’t quite mastered the exercise or those who are trying to lift too heavy a weight.

To ensure that you don’t fall into this trap, make sure that you are focusing on your form and technique before adding more weight. 

With proper form and core engagement, you can be sure that your lat pulldowns are working the right muscles. This will help you avoid feeling lat pulldowns in your core and allow you to focus on the lats and biceps instead. 

If you are new to the exercise, then it’s going to take you a little time to master it. But with practice and patience, you will soon be able to do lat pulldowns like a pro. 

Too heavy

Another common reason why you may be feeling lat pulldowns in your core is due to using too heavy a weight. If the weight you’re using is too heavy, then it will be difficult to maintain proper form and this can lead to other muscles being used in order to complete the exercise.

It is best to start light and gradually increase the weight as you improve your form and technique. This will allow you to focus on doing the exercise correctly and will help you to progress safely.

We have all seen those people at the gym that think they are lifting a heavy load, but the reality is their form is terrible and they are not getting the full benefit from the exercise. Don’t be one of them! 

Ensure you are investing time to perform the exercise accurately because once you understand it well, it will feel like a completely different workout than what you have been struggling to do with heavyweights.

Why do I feel lat pulldowns in my core?

Tension

It is also possible that you are feeling lat pulldowns in your core due to having too much core tension. When the body is tense, it can cause other muscles to be used in order to complete the exercise.

If you are attempting a big lift, you may find that you are tightening your core in anticipation of the exercise. This can cause other muscles to be used and result in feeling lat pulldowns in your core.

To avoid this, make sure that you are taking the time to relax your body and focus on your breathing. Take slow breaths in and out throughout the exercise, this will help to relax your muscles and enable you to focus on the movement.

It is also important to make sure that you are not holding your breath during the exercise as this can lead to increased tension. 

If you are lifting something that’s considered heavy for you, your body will naturally clam up and brace itself for the load – this is why it’s important to stay relaxed and focused on your breathing which will help you maintain proper form, plus your muscles require the much-needed oxygen to perform the exercise properly. 

Take a deep breath as you prepare to pull the bar, then as you pull the bar down, slowly exhale and contract your lats. Hold for a moment before releasing the bar back to the starting position.

This too can make a massive difference to your form and provide the much-needed core engagement to ensure that you are performing the exercise correctly. 

Weak core muscles

Having weak core muscles can also be a factor in feeling lat pulldowns in your core. If you lack the strength and stability within your abdominal and back muscles, then other muscles may be called upon to complete the exercise.

This might also be the case if the exercise is new to you, as your body will not be used to the stimulus that’s been placed on it, therefore it will be trying to find a way to complete the exercise.

That being said, this is an easy fix – you just need to start developing your core strength and stability. This can be done through bodyweight exercises, resistance training with weights or bands, as well as from doing Pilates or yoga. 

Doing exercises such as planks, sit-ups, and bridges can help build strength and stability in your core muscles. 

Kettlebell training can also be a great option as it requires you to use your core to stabilise each exercise which can be very beneficial for developing your midsection strength and stability.

Once your core is strong enough, you can then focus on properly performing lat pulldowns with the correct form and this will help to ensure that you do not feel it in your core.

Related: Why are pull ups harder than dips?

Imbalances

Another reason why you may be feeling lat pulldowns in your core muscles is due to imbalances. If you are doing the same exercise on both sides of the body but one side is stronger than the other, then this can lead to imbalances. 

The same applies if you only ever do upper body exercises and never work on your lower body muscles. Eventually, this can lead to imbalances which can cause improper form and lead to a poor posture too.

Imbalances can happen for many reasons, from not having a well-rounded fitness program to recovering from an injury.

Imbalances can then cause other muscle groups to be recruited in order to complete the exercise, causing you to feel it in your core for example.

To help prevent and correct any imbalances, it’s important to make sure that you are doing a variety of exercises on both sides of the body. Make sure to perform equal reps on both sides, and if one side feels weaker, then focus more on that side.

You can also do exercises such as single-arm rows or unilateral dumbbell presses to help even out any imbalances that you might be experiencing.

Leaning 

Leaning back too much during lat pulldowns can also lead to feeling the exercise in your core because you are in effect “rowing” the bar towards you.

Leaning back causes your torso to shift away from the bar and then your core muscles will be called upon to bring you back up.

To prevent this from happening, make sure that when you are doing lat pulldowns, you keep your chest up and drive your elbows down towards the floor while bringing the bar down to your chest. 

Make sure that you keep the bar close to your body, and avoid leaning back as this will help ensure that your core muscles are not being recruited and that the exercise is focusing on your lats.

The same applies if you are leaning into the bar as it’s pulled towards you. This will cause your core to fight against the bar to help shift the load.

Remember, when doing this exercise you should be isolating your latissimus dorsi muscles and only engaging your core for stability. Make sure that you keep your back straight and pull the bar straight down towards your chest in a controlled manner.

Angle of pull

This ties into leaning backwards or forwards when pulling the bar towards you. The angle of pull can make a difference when it comes to feeling lat pulldowns in your core. 

If you notice that the cable isn’t horizontal when pulled to the ground, but is instead angled downwards towards your chest then this can mean that you are relying on your core muscles to keep you in place.

To ensure that you are doing lat pulldowns correctly, make sure that the cable is pulled horizontally to the ground and that the bar is pulled towards your upper chest.

This will help to ensure that your core muscles are not being recruited and that the exercise is focusing on your lats.

Try removing your thumb from the bar to perform a false grip and you may find that it helps to keep the angle of pull more horizontal. 

Plus it will also help to use your hands as hooks and pull with your elbows, as opposed to pulling with your hands. This makes the movement feel more comfortable and decreases the risk of feeling lat pulldowns in your core.

Why do I feel lat pulldowns in my core?

Grip width

The width of your grip on the pulldown bar can also affect how much you feel the exercise in your core. 

If your grip is too wide, then this can cause you to lean back and shift your body weight. This will in turn result in your core having to work harder to keep you in place.

Your grip should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your thumbs should be pointed outwards to ensure that you are pulling with proper form.

Likewise, if your grip is too narrow then this can cause you to pull the bar further away from your chest which will put more strain on your shoulders and arms.

The way the body moves anatomically speaking, you should not be able to lower the bar further than your pecs, due to the fact your range of motion is at its maximum.

Therefore, if you find yourself being able to lower the bar much further than your chest then this is a sign that your grip is too narrow and you aren’t using the correct muscles to do the exercise.

Injury

If you have pulled a muscle, strained your back or experienced any other type of injury while performing lat pulldowns then it is possible that you could be feeling the exercise in your core muscles.

In order to help prevent injuries, make sure that you warm up before each workout and stay within comfortable ranges of motion. 

Also, don’t use too much weight as this can put extra strain on your body and cause you to sacrifice form.

If you have already experienced an injury or have tightness in any of the muscles used during lat pulldowns, then it is best to take things slowly and ease into the exercise.

You could have tweaked a muscle in your core due to improper form and it is important to remember that with any exercise, form comes first.

If the pain doesn’t feel like it is sore from a good workout and is more like a sharp, stabbing pain then this could be a sign that you should stop the exercise immediately and speak with a medical professional.

Hernia

It’s a little drastic, but worth mentioning anyway, if you have a hernia then it could be causing you to feel lat pulldowns in your core muscles.

A hernia is a protrusion of an organ or fatty tissue that occurs when the muscles surrounding it become weakened or stretched.

Since hernias can weaken the abdominal wall, this can cause you to rely on your core for stability when performing certain exercises. 

If you suspect that you may have a hernia, it’s important to speak with a medical professional and have it checked out.

Its crucial to get it taken care of as soon as possible as a hernia will not go away on its own and can cause further damage if left untreated.

Related: Why do my forearms get tight when I do back exercises?

Seating position 

Make sure your hips are tucked right into foam pads and you are in a seated position with your shoulders back, chest out and abs tight.

This will ensure that your core muscles are engaged and help to stabilize your body as you perform each rep.

Neglecting to do this may force you to compensate with your core muscles, potentially making the exercise more strenuous and difficult.

Sitting up close to the padded foam pads will also allow you to be seated in the correct position to pull the bar down at the correct angle too.

For proper form, ensure that you are sitting with your hips against the foam pads. This allows for a better posture and less strain on your lower back while also enabling you to pull down the bar correctly.

Doing this alone will again make the exercise feel very different and even more comfortable too.

Lack of control – Jerking bar

If you are jerking the bar down then this could be causing your core muscles to get involved.

Doing lat pulldowns too quickly can put unnecessary strain on your shoulders and arms, as well as potentially cause you to use other muscle groups to complete the exercise.

To ensure that you are pulling with proper form and that your core muscles are not involved, make sure to pull the bar down in a controlled manner.

This means that you should take 3-4 seconds to lower the bar and pause for 1 second at the bottom of each rep. This will ensure that you are using the correct form and engaging the right muscle groups instead of relying on your core.

To ensure optimal form, the eccentric portion of your lift must be completed with as much control and precision as you used for its initial pull. If this isn’t done correctly, your torso may be pulled or yanked as the bar reaches its beginning point.

Not warming up properly

Before performing any exercise, it is important to warm up correctly. This helps to reduce the risk of injury and prepare your muscles for the workout ahead.

A good warm-up before doing lat pulldowns should include stretching exercises that target shoulder, arm and chest muscles as well as dynamic exercises such as bodyweight squats or lunges.

This helps to ensure that your muscles are ready and able to perform the exercise without attempting to do the movement cold.

So make sure you take a few minutes to warm up properly before starting any workout session, as well as warming down afterwards, especially lat pulldowns. 

Final thoughts…

If you are still feeling lat pulldowns in your core then it may be worth speaking with a medical professional or personal trainer who can assess your form and make sure that you are performing the exercise correctly. 

It’s important to remember that correct form is more beneficial than hastily doing extra reps. Taking the time to ensure your posture and technique is accurate will help you maximize the benefits of lat pulldowns for your body.

Don’t rush it – get it right so you can see results!

Have you felt your core more when doing lat pulldowns? Let me know in the comments below.

If you enjoy sport and use CBD to help with your recovery in between gruelling workouts, then you are in the right place. Here at Sport CBDs, we train hard and recover the best way possible…

We have regular workouts (check out the YouTube channel), CBD news and CBD products to help you gain that edge! 

If you wanted to check out the reputable CBD we have on offer here at the site, then please head to the Sport CBDs Store (CLICK HERE). We also do fitness clothing and yoga accessories too. 

Until next time, all the best…

Beginners Upper Body Kettlebell Workout

Lee

Founder – Sport CBDs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

Which Muscles Respond Better To High Reps? Answers Here

Which Muscles Respond Better To High Reps? Answers Here When it comes to toning and strengthening your muscles, there isn’t […]
Which muscles respond better to high reps?