Fit Tip: Lat Pull Down Exercise

Fit Tip Lat Pull Down Exercise with Keith Kohanek Blog Cover

In your daily life, your lats are tasked with many of your standard “pull” motions. The lats, or latissimus dorsi, are the large flat muscles that cover the width of your middle and lower back and are the upper body’s largest muscles. Think of opening a door, picking up that giant bag of dog food, pulling luggage out of your car trunk – all of these actions rely on the power from your lats. In addition to pulling from all angles, your lats assist with nearly every movement happening in the shoulder, aid in good posture (tall spine, shoulders down, and back), and even help with breathing! 

Bearing so much responsibility for body movement requires strength, and the Lat Pull Down exercise is one of the best ways for you to target this muscle. In today’s Fit Tip, personal trainer Keith Kohanek demonstrates some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when performing the Lat Pull Down. 

How to Perform the Lat Pull Down

1.  Adjust the leg guard so that it rests comfortably on top of your thighs. 

Lat Pull Down Exercise with Keith Kohanek - Thigh Guard Resting Properly Against Thighs

2. Grasp the bar with a closed, overhand grip that’s slightly wider than shoulder-width. 

Second Step of Lat Pull Down Exercise with Keith Kohanek - Wide Grip on Bars, Slightly Wider Than Shoulders

3. Straighten your spine with a strong, engaged core and tilt your torso backward slightly at the hips. 

Third Step of Lat Pull Down Exercise with Keith Kohanek - Straighten back, engage core, and tilt torso back slightly

4. Squeeze your shoulders towards one another and down your back, opening up through the chest and activating the lats. 

Fourth Step of Lat Pull Down Exercise with Keith Kohanek - Squeeze shoulders towards each other, then down the back.

Bad Variation of Fourth Step of Lat Pull Down Exercise with Keith Kohanek - Shoulders are hunched together and pulled up to the ears.

5. Keeping your shoulders down and back, exhale as you pull the bar towards the chest slowly and with control. 

Fifth Step of Lat Pull Down Exercise with Keith Kohanek - Keep shoulders down and back, while slowly pulling bar down to the chest.

Bad Variation of Fifth Step of Lat Pull Down Exercise with Keith Kohanek - Don't let shoulders come up while pulling bar down.

6. Inhale to slowly release the bar, and extend the lats and arms while maintaining stability in the shoulder and core. 

Like THIS:

NOT like this:

7. Repeat for the prescribed reps. 

A sustainable fitness routine will combine strength training exercises, like the Lat Pull Down, with cardio training and proper recovery techniques like rest, nutrition, stretching, foam rolling, and massage. For assistance with all aspects of your fitness, reach out to Keith or a Castle Hill Fitness concierge


Once you’ve mastered the wide grip Lat Pull Down, change it up with a different grip! Instead of grasping the bar with a wide, overhand grip, use a narrow underhand grip. This will work your forearms, biceps, triceps, and more of your back muscles in addition to your lats. 

Underhand Narrow Grip Variation for Lat Pull Down Exercise with Keith Kohanek



Black and White Image of Personal Trainer Keith KohanekKeith Kohanek is a National Academy of Sports Medicine personal trainer, and he believes you should love your workouts! 

Train with Keith to demystify fitness and develop a strength and conditioning program that’s not only effective but fun! Whether you’re totally new to the gym, a lifelong athlete, or a weekend warrior, you can expect every session to be customized to your ability and goals with just enough “extra” to keep your body guessing and the results rolling. 

In addition to personal training, Keith teaches a total of four classes on our Winter 2020 class schedule – On Monday mornings, and Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Click here for his weekly schedule – you can even register for his class 48 hours in advance! 

Are you ready to jump into personal training sessions with Keith? Book a training session with Keith below.



Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments