Return to Homepage


Pulldowns -- exercise to strengthen the back

The pulldown is an excellent exercise to strengthen the back as well as the biceps muscles in the arms. The exercise will develop the entire back -- especially the lats (latissimus dorsi) that make up the largest part of the back musculature.

Pulldowns and pullups work the same muscle groups. With pullups you are raising your entire body, so you have to be quite strong.

But when you do pulldowns you are pulling a bar attached to a weight stack, so you can vary the weight from almost nothing up to your full body weight. That is one great advantage of pulldowns.

Start by holding the bar with your arms outstretched

Pulldowns -- starting position

Pulldowns -- starting position

Your knees should be firmly under the knee rest to make sure you stay stable throughout the exercise. Your arms should be extended with a good firm grip on the bar.

Smoothly contract your muscles and pull the bar down until it is at the level of the upper chest. As you get a feel for this exercise you can concentrate more on the arms or on the back.

Bring the bar down to the front of the chest

Pulldowns -- second position

Pulldowns -- second position

Contract the muscles and hold for a second. Then smoothly and slowly return the bar to the starting position.

You will also work the muscles in the forearms with this exercise. It is very good for developing the grip.

Vary the exercise position to emphasize the lower back

Pulldowns -- alternate position

Pulldowns -- alternate position

If you lean back when you do the exercise you can work the muscles in the lower back (erector spinae muscles.)

When you do this make sure you don't jerk the weight. Do all exercises smoothly with good form. It is fine to work out hard, but keep proper form at all times so you don't get injured.

Don't bring the weight behind the head

You will see people in the gym bringing the weight down to the back of the neck. They are trying to vary the exercise for increased development.

But this is dangerous. When you bring the weight down behind your head you flex your neck, and when the neck is flexed it is in its weakest position.

It puts pressure on the discs that sit between the vertebrae (the bones in the neck). You don't want to injure a disc. So keep your head up when you do this exercise.

Where to start:

There is a lot of information on this site. The links below will get you off to a good start.

Most popular pages:

These are some of our most popular pages. They are also some of the most helpful if you are finally ready to lose weight.

You can always reach us:

  • 28960 US Highway 19 North, Suite 115
  • Clearwater, FL 33761
  • (727) 771-8282

  • Or to use our contact form click here.

top of the page