Ok, here I go again! Let me address a topic that I briefly touched upon in a previous post, why Behind head lat pulldowns are bad. There would be no debate about this if everyone was fully educated in anatomy and physiology. So I took the time to research the topic and found that the general consensus is the risks outweigh the benefits of this exercise. Men’s Health (www.menshealth.com) addresses the topic by defining the myth, the truth, and the alternative. Below is an excerpt of an article on their website:
The myth: The best way to perform the lat pull-down is to pull the bar behind your head, down to your upper back
The truth: Unless you have very flexible shoulders, this exercise is difficult to do correctly, and can increase your risk for shoulder impingement syndrome—a painful condition in which the muscles or tendons of your rotator cuff become entrapped in your shoulder joint.
The alternative: Simple—just pull the bar in front of your head, down to your collarbone. You’ll work your back just as hard, but with less risk for injury.
From my training and research it is apparent to me that there is truth in the Men’s Health article. This is supported by numerous medical studies and teachings of Certified Personal Training Organizations. Furthermore, the U.S. Air Force Academy banned the technique.
I cringe every time someone in the gym is doing this exercise with the poorest of form. Most, if not all, Lat Pull-Down machines do not allow the body to get close enough to the machine to have the cable go behind the head over the vertebral column (spine). This puts extreme stress on the shoulders and spine. This exercise may pinch or tear the rotator cuff . To achieve this position the head has to move forward and take the body out of alignment.
Finally, this morning there was an ad on TV for the Toyota Camry that showed a young lad doing this exercise. Why they choose this exercise over all the possible exercise blows my mind!
Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the advice of your physician or other health care professional. Consult your physician or other health care professional before following any nutrition program, using any supplements or if you have any medical condition or are taking any prescription medications.
Member of ISSA
Mark Bloomfield, CPT
Certified Personal Trainer
Keep It Simple Fitness, LLC
235 Taunton Avenue
Seekonk, MA 02771
Post Title: Behind Head Lat Pulldowns are bad!
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