Lat Pulldowns Using the Isolator and other Lat Pulldown Alternatives
Working lats at the gym is what helps men, in particular, to develop those coveted triangular shaped upper bodies. A fellow may spend hours building his shoulders, arms and back, but without lats, they won’t look quite right. To achieve that look the best option is lat pulldowns. Alternatives are available, though, for people who for one reason or another can’t quite manage the lat machine.
What’s the Problem with Lat Pulldowns?
Once positioned, the first movement in a lat pulldown involves grasping a bar above one’s head. There are a number of shoulder injuries that can prevent this movement. Any damage to the rotator cuff or decrease in shoulder mobility can dramatically prohibit the upward motion required to complete a lat pulldown properly
Arthritis often targets shoulder joints as does bursitis, capsulitis and other inflammatory disorders. Muscle tears and sprains can prevent full extension of the arm above the head as well. Spurs within the shoulder capsule are increasingly common with age and can actually damage the surrounding tissues; anyone with these kinds of challenges will find using the lat machine painful and often detrimental.
Perhaps worse is the risk of greater damage to a healing injury or risking delayed recovery simply to use a particular machine. Fortunately, there are other options.
Chin Ups/Pull Ups
If the problem involves nothing more than the ability to lift the arm for structural reasons, than chin ups, which are done with the hand facing inwards, or pull ups, with the palm outwards, are great choices. These exercises work the back as well as the arms and lats. Each achieves a slightly different objective, so try to hit both if this is your alternative.
This exercise is performed in a partial bend so that the arms dangle downwards and never need to rise above the shoulders. Bending over, reach down and grasp a single dumbbell, two dumbbells, or a barbell. Slowly bring the weight to the chest and return it to full extension. Repeat as dictated by the workout routine.