T Nation

Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups vs. Lat Pull-Downs

how do most members on here feel regarding the pullup/chins vs. lat pulldown debate?..if there even is one anymore. in my earlier training days, it was ingrained into me that pullups/chins are far superior than lat pulldowns.

consequentially, i never did pulldowns during this time. however, since i have gained more strength & size(currently weighing between 230-240lbs) i have found that lat pulldowns better stimulate my lats and upper back(which is what i obviously want.)

the answer is clear to me. i will do pulldowns since that is what is working for me now.

i just wanted to see how others feel regarding this. NOTE: i have never seen a truly large lifter do pullups outside of matt K.

many of these coaches, who are self-proclaimed “muscle-building experts” who had brain-washed me in my earlier days, would condemn pulldowns to such a degree that they would lead you to believe that any and all muscle-building progress in your back would come to a screeching halt if pulldowns were favored over pullups/chins.

I mean, you can do both?

[quote]bugeishaAD wrote:
I mean, you can do both?[/quote]

true. there was a time when i did do both in the same back workout. i just figure now that if pullups aren’t giving me the results i desire, that i should drop them to conserve strength for other exercises. if they are not serving a purpose, then they would only be having a negative impact.

Ive done both. I think that weighted chinups and pullups are superior but if you are having trouble doing them, the lat pulldown is the next best thing. I bet you would be a lot better at them if you lost some bodyfat however. May be worth it.

no, lat pulldowns aren’t the devil, but being able to do full range bodyweight pull ups are a good indication of complete upper body strenght

[quote]elano wrote:
Ive done both. I think that weighted chinups and pullups are superior but if you are having trouble doing them, the lat pulldown is the next best thing. I bet you would be a lot better at them if you lost some bodyfat however. May be worth it.[/quote]

i used to be able to do sets of 10-20 reps of pullups/chins. my bodyfat hasn’t increased to any noticeable degree. i can see some abs. how ever i am very heavy in the lower body(legs and glutes) from leg work.

I think bodyweight work is a better option when you are first trying to establish a foundation. I hadn’t touched a pulldown machine in about 3 years until last week when I started doing neutral grip with an 80% lean in really isolate a specific area of my lats.

I certainly don’t feel I’m lacking in either the size or proportion dept, but there are times when you see someone else’s physique, and it makes you realize that you could push yourself just a little bit harder in some regard, or that a specific area may be lacking.

Would I recommend this to a newb, or even an intermediate trainee? Not instead of bodyweight work.

S

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=TXO6urbPFwc

this dude’s got a 948 deadlift in comp so he’s a strong mofo. if you check out some of the related clips on him you’ll see he’s huge. still, with regards to your situation i agree - experiment and if you find somethin that really works for you why wouldn’t you use it?

good work bro. also worth checking out an article on this site - i think it was poliquin - specifically on various types of chins. some super challenging stuff there!

You might want to do a search on this topic… It has been covered ad nauseam.

Welcome to T-Nation.

Fred

Pull downs are easier to progress on consistently. I put on a lot of weight and my pull up progress really stalled. You won’t weigh the exact same every day too.

Also, unless you’re doing weighted pull ups with lots of weight for your working sets, it’s hard to pyramid up, which I like to do for pull downs. That’s just me.

What are your opinions on assisted pull ups? The ones with a pad that you kneel on that takes weight off of the pull ups. I don’t like the feel of them.

Also, do you do vertical pulling or horizontal pulling first in a workout?
I start with wide grip pull downs, then closed grip pull downs, then straight bar rows, and I finish with T-handle cable rows.

I like these T-handle rows a lot, so I’ve thought of doing them first, but I don’t want to sacrifice my pull down strength.

[quote]Artem wrote:

What are your opinions on assisted pull ups? The ones with a pad that you kneel on that takes weight off of the pull ups. I don’t like the feel of them.[/quote]

i would never be caught dead on that machine. i am all for being open-minded, especially when it comes to finding new ways to progress in strength and size, but the assisted pullup machine is where i draw the line.

-i think some people may be missing my point here. i CAN do pullups/chins. the only thing in question here is their effectiveness versus the effectiveness of lat pulldowns for my development.

[quote]Artem wrote:
Also, do you do vertical pulling or horizontal pulling first in a workout?
I start with wide grip pull downs, then closed grip pull downs, then straight bar rows, and I finish with T-handle cable rows.

I like these T-handle rows a lot, so I’ve thought of doing them first, but I don’t want to sacrifice my pull down strength.[/quote]

if i’m doing pullups, i always do them first in my back workout. i feel that they require the most effort.

[quote]Animal_Mother wrote:
Artem wrote:

What are your opinions on assisted pull ups? The ones with a pad that you kneel on that takes weight off of the pull ups. I don’t like the feel of them.

i would never be caught dead on that machine. i am all for being open-minded, especially when it comes to finding new ways to progress in strength and size, but the assisted pullup machine is where i draw the line.
[/quote]

Is it a manliness thing?..

For some reason I havent quite figured out I seemed to have aggravated a tendon or muscle near the elbow when doing chins/pulls, so began using lat machine again. I find I can feel the pulldowns more in the stretch and contraction, and have more control over the stretch. Maybe its still a strength thing.

However, I would never rely on lat pulldowns as a primary movement, though I did with chins/pulls. Now I do bent over bb rows, and bent over db rows for primary.

[quote]Artem wrote:
Animal_Mother wrote:
Artem wrote:

What are your opinions on assisted pull ups? The ones with a pad that you kneel on that takes weight off of the pull ups. I don’t like the feel of them.

i would never be caught dead on that machine. i am all for being open-minded, especially when it comes to finding new ways to progress in strength and size, but the assisted pullup machine is where i draw the line.

Is it a manliness thing?..[/quote]

yea. i think that thing is pretty gay.

I dont belive that anything should be totally condemmed from your training toolbox. Use whats useful to you.

You can always use pullups/chins first then use pulldowns as a secondary exercise.

i do them both and they fry my lats, usually change grips though

I’ve done my chins 1st, when I’m fresh so that I can add weight,… I’ve done them 2nd, after a pre-exhaust exercise like pullovers or scapular retractions… and I’ve done them last, when I’m fully toasted as a finishing exercise. They’re quite versatile. As far as the assisted machine… if that’s all you can do to work your way up to bodyweight work, then by all means do it. But if you’re still banging away being assisted after a year’s time… then it becomes a manliness thing.

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
I’ve done my chins 1st, when I’m fresh so that I can add weight,… I’ve done them 2nd, after a pre-exhaust exercise like pullovers or scapular retractions… and I’ve done them last, when I’m fully toasted as a finishing exercise. They’re quite versatile. As far as the assisted machine… if that’s all you can do to work your way up to bodyweight work, then by all means do it. But if you’re still banging away being assisted after a year’s time… then it becomes a manliness thing.

S
[/quote]

like i said before…i CAN do pullups/chins. im just questioning their effectiveness for ME.