Lat pulldowns

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by cheez whiz, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. cheez whiz

    cheez whiz Brown Belt

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    ...
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  2. enright3060

    enright3060 Brown Belt

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  3. lilevil93

    lilevil93 Orange Belt

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    at the gym at school, i see tons of kids use the bands over and over again. they just kind of build a dependence on them. pull ups are difficult for beginners, and it takesa certain kind of person to be really good at them. the way i see it, doing 3 or unassisted pull ups is better and more challenging then 15 with a band.
     
  4. cheez whiz

    cheez whiz Brown Belt

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    First off, do new lifters typically have bands?

    Secondly, how do you rig bands so that a 185 pound person who can do pulldowns with 60 pounds will be able to do pullups?

    I'm looking at your log. It's nice to have the discussion to clear the air but maybe you should qualify... Do you even lift weights?
     
  5. rckvl

    rckvl Blue Belt

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    Lat pull downs will not translate to pull up strength. You can rep your bodyweight on the lat pull down and still not be able to do one pull up. Pull-ups are also a closed chain movement while a lat pull down is an open chain movement. Generally speaking, closed chain movements are the better choice.

    Besides what's more functional than being able to pull yourself up with just your upper body?
     
  6. cheez whiz

    cheez whiz Brown Belt

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    Yeah I don't endorse one of those.
     
  7. fatcat669

    fatcat669 Green Belt

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    it really is a no-brainer. theres nothing wrong with lat pulldowns. nobody shit-talks seated rows on this forum, but lat pulldowns get a bad rap for some reason.
     
  8. cheez whiz

    cheez whiz Brown Belt

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    Absolute BS. I could train exclusively on lat pulldowns for a year and improve my pullups, for one thing.

    And again, pull up, pull down, same movement as far as your body is concerned - what matters is range of motion, resistance, and stability. There's nothing about lat pulldowns that "violate" the benefits of pullups in those regards.
     
  9. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    The lat pulldown isn't a similar to pull-ups as you seem to think. First, with pull-ups you have to pull yourself up, that is, the force exerted must be perpendicular to gravity. With pull downs, you can pull at any angle. So you can see people do stuff like lean back to finish a rep with pull downs. Second, with lat pulldowns you are anchored at two points. So you don't have to stabilize the movement as much (not as bad as with machines the have a fixed path, but still). Additionally, pull-ups are a closed kinetic chain exercise, and pulldowns are an open kinetic chain exercise, which doesn't qualify one exercise as better or worse, it does mean that the physics of the movement is different.
     
  10. fatcat669

    fatcat669 Green Belt

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    i truly dont think there is much carryover from experience.
     
  11. cheez whiz

    cheez whiz Brown Belt

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    Yes one can cheat on pulldowns. I see people cheat on pullups, too. Done strictly, they are similar, but enough different that I include them both in my routine.

    Open and closed chain - like me doing bench press with dumbbells one workout and barbell the next, yes. Hitting the same muscles but with enough variety to stimulate more gains? I think that's a good thing.

    Are we agreeing that pulldowns are a useful movement that works the same muscles in much the same way as pullups, or not?
     
  12. rckvl

    rckvl Blue Belt

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    That is not an example of closed chain versus open chain.
    No.
     
  13. cheez whiz

    cheez whiz Brown Belt

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    Okay, I agree -- If I were going to enter a pullup contest I would train for it by doing pullups. That would make sense.

    If I wanted to get stronger in the lats, biceps, rear delts, and lower traps, I'd do pullups and pulldowns. Which is what I do, "carryover" notwithstanding.
     
  14. elevate

    elevate Orange Belt

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    Assisted pull ups with bands have their place. I just did a few months with bands and broke through a long standing rep plateau. Because you're constantly working with a fixed weight (your body) it's very difficult to get the kind of variation and weight progression you can with other lifts unless you step back with higher rep band work.

    re: pull downs. While I agree that pull downs are not the same as smith machine squats--most folks would agree that cable machines are far better than fixed path machines, my body can certainly tell the difference between a pull down and a pull up. Pull ups require you to stabilize your body in space to ensure the most efficient pulling path. Pull downs allow you to brace yourself against something for better leverage. Additionally, between reps of pull ups, you're hanging from a bar, which taxes you further.

    As someone who went from barely being able to hold onto the bar and shrug down my shoulders a little to being able to do a sad, but improving number of reps, I'm very glad to have gone straight to various pull up progressions.

    That being said, if it fits with your goals, who cares what other people are saying.

    edit-ah tosa beat me to it.
     
  15. rckvl

    rckvl Blue Belt

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    I should clarify that I am saying no they don't work the same muscles in much the same way. Not that lat pull downs are useless.
     
  16. cheez whiz

    cheez whiz Brown Belt

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    Oh I see. I'm looking at those definitions.

    "# In open chain joint movements, the proximal joint member is fixed or stable while the distal member moves. Reaching to grasp an object in space, or kicking a ball are examples of open chain movements.

    # In a closed chain joint motion, the distal joint member is fixed or stable, and the proximal member moves. The stance phase of walking involves closed-chain motion, as do rising from a chair, or performing a pull-up."

    Right?

    So how does one movement differ from the other in that respect?
     
  17. fatcat669

    fatcat669 Green Belt

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    Yep me too. i train with a 300lb strongman and hes sure as shit not doing many pullups but he trains lat pulldowns often. It is a good movement when done right.
     
  18. rckvl

    rckvl Blue Belt

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  19. cheez whiz

    cheez whiz Brown Belt

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    This is good information. Thank you.

    I see a picture on this page of a gymnast on the rings. It makes me think:

    If there are two people, side by side, sitting on chairs. Above both of them are gymnastics rings suspended within their reach. One reaches up and pulls on them. They are fixed, and his pull raises his body off the chair towards the ceiling. He's doing a pullup!

    The other guy pulls on his rings and finds they are slung over a pulley and attached to weights. The rings come down towards him. He's doing a pulldown!

    Same movement, essentially. And if they aren't quite the same, even better, because I do both. But what I'm saying is that pulldowns get a bad rap for no good reason.
     
  20. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    The difference between open chain and closed chain has to do with whether what you're are applying force to moves. In a pull-up, you apply force to the bar, but you move. With a lat pulldown, you apply force to the bar and it moves. By itself, this doesn't make one exercises better or worse, but it doesn mean they are different and they won't have as much carryover to eachother.

    With bodyweight exercises, the best way to become better at them is to work progressions, and/or do more reps. So if someone can't do pull-ups, then they should use bands, negatives, assisted pull-ups (ideally assisted by a person and not a machine) etc.

    Also, if someone can do a pull-up, I see no benefit to using a lat pulldown to poorly mimic a pull-up movement. What would the benefit to this be?

    So, in conclusion, I don't really see a place for lat pulldowns.
     

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