Bye Bye Flab! One-Stop-Shop For Sculpted Back & Arms
Want a better upper body?
One brief exercise could be your ticket to more defined arms, sculpted shoulders, and a leaner looking waist.
If you read our leg press article from a few weeks ago, you’ll recall that the leg press is the one-stop shop for just about all lower body muscles.
When it comes to the upper body, the Lat Pulldown is the one-stop shop.
The Muscles Used
In one set of the lat pulldown (LPD) – roughly 1 to 2 minutes – you can train pretty much all of the major muscles in the upper body.
These muscles are the prime movers in the lat pulldown.
- Latissimus Dorsi (the “lats” or wings of the back)
- Trapezius (“traps” or upper back)
In addition, there are other major muscles involved:
- Pectoralis Major (chest)
- Posterior Deltoids (shoulders)
- Biceps brachii (front of upper arm)
How it Works
With the LPD, you start seated in the machine with your arms raised in front of you, holding onto the handles. As you pull the handles down toward the ground, your shoulder blades are also pulled down, and the lower traps perform that action. As your upper arms come down, your elbows flex (or bend), bringing your wrists closer to your shoulders.
This is where your biceps come into play. Your forearms are heavily utilized in the LPD as well. The forearms have the most fundamental role in the pulldown: maintaining grip of the handles. And finally, your abdominal muscles are used significantly to stabilize your torso during the exercise.
how LPD blasts flab & sculps
You might be wondering how does this exercise eliminate a flabby upper body and leave me looking sculpted?
Training the lats improves the shape of your back. As lean muscle tissue is added to the lats, it gives a ‘V’ shape to your back. If you feel you have “love handles,” gaining muscle in your lats might help them become less noticeable.
The pulldown also helps improve aesthetics with your arms. As mentioned, your biceps and shoulders are key players in this exercise, and this exercise will help make your upper arm muscles more defined.
do the LPD, But do it right
To get the most out of the LPD, work with one of our Trainers to get proper coaching and guidance at any of The Perfect Workout studios.
In the meantime, here are some helpful tips:
When performing the pulldown, don’t think of the main goal as pulling your hands or the handles down. Focus mainly on pulling your elbows to your sides. The lats are the main muscle group used, and focusing on your elbows and upper arms can assist you in becoming more aware of the lats as you train.
As you transition from the positive (pulling down) to the negative (slowing letting your arms up), your shoulders will subconsciously rise (or shrug). Pull them down, or “unshrug,” This action will force your back muscles to work harder.
Fatiguing your muscles to “muscle success” is where you'll receive the most value with the LPD.
In just one short set performed one or two times per week, you are training the major muscles of the upper body while improving the shape, tone and strength of your back and arms.
Read about our client Tom Curry’s story of keeping up with his get-in-vacation-shape plan during quarantine and the surprising health improvements he made training at home.
Jordan Thomson is passionate about fitness and helping others live sustainably healthy lives. Jordan joined The Perfect Workout in 2013 as a Personal Trainer in Newport Beach, CA. Since then she has helped expand our company with new studios in Chicago, IL and led teams of trainers in Philadelphia as well as Los Angeles. Now she serves as a creative mind within the Marketing team to help spread our mission to revolutionize the way people exercise.