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Pulldowns behind neck

Kay here is what happened this one trainer today told a client of mine to do pulldowns behind her neck. Now I have heard that this is bad for different reasons. One because it puts undo stress on the shoulder/rotator cuff and also because it is not as effective. Now, I know, I know pullups are the best. But I want some good information to tell this guy why he is wrong and why doing pulldowns to the chest is the better of the two. If I am wrong then please tell me and correct me. Please I need help. I am so frustrated. Also this guy did a diet for a client of his and the dumb shit had chips on there. I am so angry right now. Please help.

I, too, cringe at the sight of someone performing lat pulldowns to the back of the neck. However, it’s mostly from the trainee/newbie’s head and shoulders hunkering down as they lower the weight. Yes, pulling the weight down to the back can cause your shoulder joints more stress. BUT as was explained by Ian King in article here in T-Mag (was it a year or two ago?), he pretty much put it in perspective.

I still wouldn't prescribe pulldowns to the back to anyone new to weight training. I've always preferred pulling to the front and used pulldowns to open people up to the glorious world of proper posture (chest out...shoulder blades back...)

It’s got something to do with the line of pull or something that makes it bad for the rotaator cuff. Pulldowns aren’t as effective because your body just sits there & you just move the thing around your body, while with pullups you’ve got to move your body around something.

You are absolutely right. But untill you are actually ASKED for advice, do not say a damn thing. Why should you care?

I’m not an expert by any means but I think that when doing pull-downs the traps do get worked more effectively pulling down behind the neck.It focusses on the particular muscle better and calls in fewer other muscles as helpers. (Experts here?) However, having said that, if the client feels any kind of soreness or discomfort in doing that they should be told that pulling down in front is okay too. Depending on the client’s age and physical abilities, either can be effective–it’s just a matter of what is comfortable. As for the chips–well…

well if this trainer designed a diet with chips included in it, he’s already full of it!
but i don’t agree that behind the neck pulldowns are evil, some people shouldn’t do them, but most can with good form. Read Ian King’s second installment of 12 weeks to super strength, he talks about this. A lot of the hard and fast gym rules (only squat to parallel) and some crazy new ones (benching should only go to where your arms are level with the floor) shouldn’t be accepted without question.

True, some people CAN perform pulldowns behind the neck WITHOUT problems but they are more the exception than the rule. In fact, I have NEVER seen a male do them correctly. Generally females have much greater upper body flexibility and CAN do the exercise but I don’t see the point. MRI studies have shown the pulldown to the front to be much more effective for the muscles of the upper back (the point of doing the exercise in the first place). Also - the pullup is more effective than the pulldown because it is more similar to what occurs in nature. The same goes for pulldown in front vs behind. There are many instances where you may need to pull yourself up. But you’ll always pull yourself with your arms in front of you not behind your neck!

Frustrated Trainer, take a look at Paul Chek’s article about behind the neck lat-pulldowns.

www.chekinstitute.com/ articles.cfm?select=10

It should give plenty of good scientific information to show up that trainer.

I know Chek warns against behind the neck presses and pulldowns, but some powerlifters like Ed Coan have been doing behind the neck presses for years without problems…

An alternation between behind the neck and to the chest has always seemed to be the most logical position to take on this subject. Also don’t judge his diet on what he writes down for a client. Most people lack the will power to stay on a strict diet. Some people have to have junk food time to time or they will quit a diet all together. You have to remember most people want to loose some fat not be a competetive bb. Remember you are in a business and you have to know how to market yourself. IF he successfully gets 80% of his clients to loose an average of 15 pds of fat through reasonable dieting, and you get 20% of your clients to loose an average of 30 pds. he is going to be the most successful of the two. Frustration is a part of life you must learn to make heads up decisions in the face af pressure and frustration. This is your livlihood.

Thank you so much for all the help people. Alot yall gave me great information or great places to check out. I am surprised I have not read that Ian King Article and Paul Chek I will HAVE to look into. Sounds awesome. The only problem I have is with Burton. I am the type of trainer who does not baby anyone. It is all or nothing. I will not tell someone its okay to stuff a bag of fucking chips in their mouth on a daily basis. I do agree its okay to have a cheat day. But this was a regular day thing. I do not have great genetics. For me to get lean or ripped I have to be super strict with my diet, especially if I am not using any supplements or drugs to aid in fat burning. So with that said I want my clients to get results, I do not except excusses. If you want something bad enough you sacrifice. I just merely weed out the people who want it bad. I did a diet for a woman and she didn’t follow it and blamed her damn kids for taking up to much time. Well boo fuckin hoo…I know nurses who work 12 hour shifts and straight from work hit the gym. Now thats tough. Anyways the point is that people are full of excusses…its to hard…I have kids…etc…the point is if you manage your time and want it bad enough you can follow anything. I hate fucking tuna, but I eat on a daily basis, because it quick and loaded with protein. Well I gotta run…will check back later. Thanks again to all.

Didn’t the International Olympic Commission ban such moves about 30 yrs. ago due to inherent unsafe nature of behind the neck moves? (military press I think)?

Quest is that true??? That sounds interesting…does anyone know anything about that???

Do you think if you went light w/ behind the neck pulldowns you could use it to rehab a rotor cuff?

To specster…umm no that does not sound like a good idea…it puts alot of stress on the rotator cuff…there are alot of good exercises for the rotator cuff…i do not know the names just know how to do them…go buy Poliquin Principles…he has some good exercises to do in it…or type in rotator cuff and use the search engine on here.

You are referring to the Olympic clean and Press which used to be the third Olympic lift through the 1972 Olympics. No, the IOC did not remove the Olympic Press from competition due to its danger, but rather due to subjective judging standards (i.e., pressing the weight “without excessive back bend”) which made judging scandals (many politically motivated) common. There is a thread discussing the history of the olympic clean and press on the goheavy olympic weightligting forum. J.V. Askem also has some articles discussing it on his web site.

With the press, the lifter cleaned the weight, so the bar was in front, not behind the neck. It was dropped because the judging was becoming less & less impartial. They let the lifters push too much with their legs & lean back way too far so it was more like a standing bench press than an overhead one. This is what passed for a good lift in a contest www.olympus.net/personal/ cablebar/BACKBE1.gif