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How To Do Lat Pulldowns

Just can't manage a pull-up? Try the easier lat pulldown to help build strength until you're ready.


  • Step 1: Do three sets of 15 repetitions, or whatever your training program calls for. Then flex up. A few weeks of this and you'll be ready for a rematch with the pull-up bar.
  • Step 2: Adjust the height of the thigh pads on the seat. They should feel snug, yet allow you to extricate yourself from the seat while holding onto the bar.
  • TIP: Don't pull the bar down behind your head, as it's too stressful on your joints.
  • Step 3: Slowly let gravity pull the bar upward until your arms are nearly straight but not locked.
  • : Always consult a physician before attempting any exercise program.
  • FACT: People who can do countless pull-ups will use the lat pulldown machine to lift weights in excess of their body weight.
  • Step 4: Choose a weight that you can lift 10 times.
  • Step 5: With your back straight but leaning slightly back, pull the bar down in front of your face until it's below your chin.
  • TIP: A sign that you've exhausted your key muscles is if you start leaning further back while performing your pulldowns.
  • Step 6: Grab the ends of the bar, palms facing out, and slide down into the seat.
  • TIP: To build up to a pull-up, adopt a pull-up grip with your hands shoulder width apart on the bar.

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