August 2018 Newsletter


August 2018, let’s talk back & specifically Latissimus Dorsi.

Are you genuinely lean, dedicated, serious & / or athletic enough to bust a gut or have a coronary over selecting a tiny narrow V-Bar grip handle over the standard attached wide bar grip that hangs off virtually every single commercial Lat-Pulldown station? Never mind the numerous stations manufactured with fixed lateral wide handles.

Be honest with yourself (& your trainer for that matter), if you are that serious, then do yourself the genuine courtesy of taking a twin-cabled, (twin stacked if available) iso-lateral, two-handled station with individual stirrup grips & hit your latissimus dorsi from all angles accurately with iso-lateral movement from each side of your body.

Do you really need to switch out the variable biacromial-use (width across the shoulders), super wide to very narrow lateral-bar & grab extra narrow V-Bar attachment when doing Lat-Pull Down on the Precor or Cybex Lat-Pull Down stations?

The old-fashioned, body builder’s mantra will dictate, yes, but that really is 1970’s bunkum, outdated, unresearched, hand me down mythology from the days of poorly designed, zero biomechanics 1970’s built Universal gym equipment systems. As mistaken a theory as is the opposite advocating that you must use the widest possible grip when executing lat-pull down.

Sorry but it is & has been carried forward by gym instructors & personal trainers needing to over think themselves useful. Based on what criteria does a narrow V-Bar pull down assist the growth of lats or rhomboids for the average punter, gym enthusiast? Exactly, based on elite body – sculpting for body builder’s peaking, fine-tuning pre-competition along with a dose of mythology & what has always been done from back in the pre-Arnie days, that’s what.

Far preferable is to grip a wider lat-bar attachment that positions the hands at least shoulder-width apart for acceptable range of motion & a second & third set very narrow (for longest range of motion) & even wider which will reduce your range of motion (not ideal) but will also hit the lateral of the lats if you will.

Despite common belief, all grip widths on the pulldown bar will hit your lats equally, well, much research backs this up & other research disputes it. Remember that you can use a narrow to medium-width grip too & the narrower the grip with reversed supinated hand position will also target the biceps more.

So just find a width that feels most comfortable to you, it’s generally accepted that a wider grip on the pulldown bar activates the lats slightly more than a narrow one, though as above, this can be argued against. This theory is ostensibly founded in the world of bodybuilding. That said, it is somewhat evidence-based.

A few studies published findings that the wide-grip pulldown produced greater muscle activity than pulldowns using a closer, underhand grip. The contradiction within the studies is that they didn’t necessarily compare different overhand grip widths when running the controls.

Other case studies compared maximum rep loads & electromyography, [in basic terms physiologically measured electrical currents in muscular activity], using different pronated grip widths & other studies using supinated grips also at different widths.

Those who executed lat pull-downs with narrower, medium & wide grips the (varying biacromial width across the shoulders) distance had marginally differing results & I do mean marginally.

The studies proved that only a little more biceps were involved with medium grip & a lesser range of motion the wider the grip (obviously); the lats were equally stimulated. This can indeed be translated by coaches into not taking such a wide grip.

So, it can strongly be debated that the wider the grip the greater the lat activation & ditto the narrower the greater or lesser the lat activation.

Just remember that. If your objective is to add in some extra biceps work while doing lat pulldowns with a supinated narrow or medium-grip width? Well then yes, you could indeed. You can mix up grip widths to add subtle variety to your lat pulldowns without imagining that you’re missing out on the much talked of specific bodybuilder’s lat building techniques of using a V-bar super-narrow or overtly wide grip.

What is not debatable is your getting stuck into a serious lat-pull down session & seated lat row, both will hit the lats successfully.

Most significantly, please remember that the dual plane motioned Cybex VR2 (Variable Resistance along 2 plains of motion) will activate far more muscular contraction & so greater muscular fibre engagement & so in turn create more hypertrophy than any standard single plain of motion cable lat-pull down work.

Hit that back in August.

Daniel