We are off to a great first week here at the Bernhardt Wellness Center. As the Wellness Director, I have been helping the students and faculty during their workouts. Unfortunately, many people perform exercises incorrectly. You should be able to answer the following questions for each exercise: why am I doing this particular exercise, what muscles am I working, and am I performing it correctly? One exercise that I commonly used incorrectly is the lat pull down. Some people pull the bar behind their head. This is a contraindicated exercise.
You must understand that exercise is always about risk and reward. I will explain why the behind the neck lat pull down both increases your risk and lowers your potential reward.
The lat pull down is a great exercise for strengthening the muscles in the back. It should be performed by pulling the bar straight to your sternum. The exercise works your latissimus dorsi, biceps, and partially your rhomboids.
Some people choose to do this exercise behind their head. Articles claim that it is better for your back; this is absolutely wrong. Scientific studies have proven muscular activation is greater when puling in front of your face. Not to mention, the risk of injuring your shoulder and cervical spine when pulling behind the head.
As you can tell, both anatomically and physiologically, this exercise is not worth it. Be sure to pull this exercise from your routine and if you see someone doing it, inform them of the risks and problems that may arise.