T Nation

Why the Hatred of the Lat Pulldown

I don’t think that the argument that “pull-downs are better because you feel them more in your lats” is valid. For example, when you squat, you can’t feel your ass growing, but it definitely does.

Well, it sounds like most people don’t really have a problem with the lat pulldown, which makes me wonder even more why the authors hate it. I forget who wrote that article. Maybe Shugart?

Anyways, the main critiques seem to be centered around either the kind of people it attracts (skinny biatches wanting to impress the ladies) or improper form–neither of which address the usefulness of the exercise itself.

The only people who directly argued for the superiority of the lift are these three–

[quote]Dedicated wrote:
Actually doing pull-ups is more effective for building strength.[/quote]

[quote]Ghost22 wrote:
There were some actual biomechanical reasons why pullups were superior.

Something about fore-arms needing to be perpendicular to the floor. [/quote]

[quote]undeadlift wrote:
Lat pulldowns are less CNS intensive than pullups. Hence, it’s a good exercise at the end of a workout. However, I’m a bang-for-your-buck guy, and if you want your lats to be stronger, I find pullups at the beginning of the workout to be superior. You can do both though.[/quote]

All I’m hearing here is blanks assertions of the pulldown’s superiority. And what exactly do you mean by it being more “CNS intensive”? The movements are functionally identical, the only difference being the part of our body that moves–with pull ups it is the proximal end (your torso); with pull downs it is the distal end (your arms/the weight).

I’m looking for an explanation here, and simply saying it is more “CNS intensive” does not explain why it is so. That’s like saying global warming is not good because it is bad for the environment.

People seem to be making vague references to an article lying around on the site. If someone could post a link, I’d be happy to read it.

[quote]rmexico wrote:
I don’t think that the argument that “pull-downs are better because you feel them more in your lats” is valid. For example, when you squat, you can’t feel your ass growing, but it definitely does.[/quote]

You’re a moron if you do not think that being able to feel your targeted muscles doing the work matters when it comes to giving them size.

[quote]Fiction wrote:
All I’m hearing here is blanks assertions of the pulldown’s superiority.[/quote]

Those people would be wrong, as well. Both movements have their proper place within a routine, depending on the individual and his (or her) goals.

It’s just another example of the elitist mindset and segregation of the weight lifting world today.

It seems like a lot of people feel the need to discredit, mock and trivialize others who’s goal might be different from their own. Either that or they are in actuality very insecure people and try to bring down those who they are in actuality jealous of (for what ever reason). It is also used by some as a way to show that their methods are somehow superior and that others must not know what they’re talking about if they use different methods.

Think about it, machines vs. free weights, full body vs. splits, “functional” vs “non-functional”, and the list goes on.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with lat pulldowns, nor are they in any way an ineffective exercise (unless perhaps you’ve maxed out the weight stack). Anyone who says otherwise probably has an ax to grind.

God I love when Sentoguy posts because then I can just nod my head and sing the NWO themse song since howie posted in here.

I did pulldowns for the first time after doing months of pullups and my lats were on fire, and my forearms felt like they were going to burst out of my skin.

I prefer pull ups/chins to the pulldown machine because I can do less weight, and i feel weaker.

I love the lat pulldown. I can`t do pullups and it has really been helping me build my back strength now that i have learned how to do it properly. I think lat pulldowns have a bad down from all the dumb fucks that think they can pulldown 250 lbs and have to use their entire body to do it and then let the weights smash down like a clumbsy goof.
Yup, lat pulldown is easily one of my favourite exercises… but only when I am the one doing it.

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
It’s just another example of the elitist mindset and segregation of the weight lifting world today.

It seems like a lot of people feel the need to discredit, mock and trivialize others who’s goal might be different from their own. Either that or they are in actuality very insecure people and try to bring down those who they are in actuality jealous of (for what ever reason). It is also used by some as a way to show that their methods are somehow superior and that others must not know what they’re talking about if they use different methods.

Think about it, machines vs. free weights, full body vs. splits, “functional” vs “non-functional”, and the list goes on.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with lat pulldowns, nor are they in any way an ineffective exercise (unless perhaps you’ve maxed out the weight stack). Anyone who says otherwise probably has an ax to grind.[/quote]

So a person can’t have an opinion based upon their own experience in the weight room and what gives them or people they’ve worked with results? Unless of course it agrees with your assertion, then I suppose it’s ok? I in no way think my word is the end all be all, but I do have an opinion on the matter again based on my experience and not on having an ax to grind.

D

I can do tons of pull-ups can’t do that much weight on the lat pull downs.

To be honest it may hit some similar muscles but I don’t feel it hits identical muscles. My back tends to get a little wider when I hit the lat pull downs consistently and with reps

People just down it because it’s fun, except those extreme bodyweight is everything guys they jsut don’t like wieghts anyway. Most people in the gym have used it one time or another.

I can’t do nearly as much weight with pull-downs as I can with pull-ups (because the bar pulls my light ass off the seat.

Pull-ups I can add up to 40% percent of my own weight w/ a dip belt and do sets-- and it is a mental struggle to keep hanging on that bar, much much more challenging. Which feels more like a compound exercise.

I do enjoy doing 50% of my weight (about 80 lbs) on the lat pull down and busting out reps for a good lactic acid build up though after doing pull-ups.

Plus, I can do much more variations with a pull-up bar that I feel make me stronger quicker (offsets, towel pull-ups, assisted one-arm pull-ups, etc.).

But, I don’t kick the pull-down to the curb…

[quote]DanErickson wrote:
I think lat pulldowns have a bad down from all the dumb fucks that think they can pulldown 250 lbs and have to use their entire body to do it and then let the weights smash down like a clumbsy goof.
[/quote]

That’s how I do my pull downs, minus the part about letting the weights smash. I almost always use body english for my pull downs and rows.

[quote]malonetd wrote:
DanErickson wrote:
I think lat pulldowns have a bad down from all the dumb fucks that think they can pulldown 250 lbs and have to use their entire body to do it and then let the weights smash down like a clumbsy goof.

That’s how I do my pull downs, minus the part about letting the weights smash. I almost always use body english for my pull downs and rows.[/quote]

I really do appologize for saying anybody who does it that way is a dumb fuck, it was a stupid thing for me to say. I think the reason I say it is because everybody at my gym who does it this way always gives me looks like I have 2 heads for using a weight that I can do a strict motion with and it pisses me off.
P.S Thanks for not letting the weights smash down :slight_smile:

[quote]DanErickson wrote:
malonetd wrote:
DanErickson wrote:
I think lat pulldowns have a bad down from all the dumb fucks that think they can pulldown 250 lbs and have to use their entire body to do it and then let the weights smash down like a clumbsy goof.

That’s how I do my pull downs, minus the part about letting the weights smash. I almost always use body english for my pull downs and rows.

I really do appologize for saying anybody who does it that way is a dumb fuck, it was a stupid thing for me to say. I think the reason I say it is because everybody at my gym who does it this way always gives me looks like I have 2 heads for using a weight that I can do a strict motion with and it pisses me off.
P.S Thanks for not letting the weights smash down :)[/quote]

Relax, I didn’t think you were calling me a dumb fuck. I do my pull downs this way because it matches my goals and what I train for. It’s what everyone should do.

[quote]malonetd wrote:

Relax, I didn’t think you were calling me a dumb fuck. I do my pull downs this way because it matches my goals and what I train for. It’s what everyone should do.[/quote]

How come everybody should do it this way?

[quote]DanErickson wrote:
malonetd wrote:

Relax, I didn’t think you were calling me a dumb fuck. I do my pull downs this way because it matches my goals and what I train for. It’s what everyone should do.

How come everybody should do it this way?[/quote]

No. Everyone should train according to their own personal needs and goals.

[quote]Dedicated wrote:
Sentoguy wrote:
It’s just another example of the elitist mindset and segregation of the weight lifting world today.

It seems like a lot of people feel the need to discredit, mock and trivialize others who’s goal might be different from their own. Either that or they are in actuality very insecure people and try to bring down those who they are in actuality jealous of (for what ever reason). It is also used by some as a way to show that their methods are somehow superior and that others must not know what they’re talking about if they use different methods.

Think about it, machines vs. free weights, full body vs. splits, “functional” vs “non-functional”, and the list goes on.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with lat pulldowns, nor are they in any way an ineffective exercise (unless perhaps you’ve maxed out the weight stack). Anyone who says otherwise probably has an ax to grind.

So a person can’t have an opinion based upon their own experience in the weight room and what gives them or people they’ve worked with results? Unless of course it agrees with your assertion, then I suppose it’s ok? I in no way think my word is the end all be all, but I do have an opinion on the matter again based on my experience and not on having an ax to grind.

D
[/quote]

When did I say that someone couldn’t have an opinion?

What I said was that anyone who says that pulldowns are a useless exercise or “wrong” has an ax to grind. If someone says, “I like pull-ups more, they work better for me.” Then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

It’s the difference between stating preference and stating things in absolute terms.

[quote]Legcutter wrote:
Those people would be wrong, as well. Both movements have their proper place within a routine, depending on the individual and his (or her) goals.[/quote]

Assuming proper technique is carried out, I’m not even sure a distinction can be made between the two.

So…does anyone have a substantive critique of the lat pulldown?

Let’s get Boyle’s ass in here. I’m really curious what he has to say.

Here is the article I was talking about initially: http://www.T-Nation.com/readArticle.do?id=1389282

Unless he was full of shit (God forbid).

[quote]Legcutter wrote:
You’re a moron if you do not think that being able to feel your targeted muscles doing the work matters when it comes to giving them size.[/quote]

It depends on how/what you’re doing. When I was into body-building type workouts, I could never get my calves to significantly grow regardless of various types of stimulation.