You’re doing that wrong!

Behind the neck pulldowns. The evil cousin of bell bottoms; ineffective, difficult, and just plain wrong.


Behind the Neck Lat Pull Downs. 

Yes! I said it. For the devoted gym fan that has been doing this exercise for years I want to add that I too did this is very exercise before I learned the truth. Unless you are incredibly flexible, which most of you are not, this exercise does more damage than good. Let me explain why.
Now, the most common argument I get about this exercise is that it has to be performed this specific way in order to target certain muscle groups.  By the way, when ever I ask what specific muscle groups are targeted I never get a straight answer. If you look carefully, her neck is clearly out of alignment and her shoulders are pulled back in order to bring the bar behind the neck. In truth, we train for our everyday lives and to improve our bodies. How many times in life have you ever had to perform this specific motion outside of the gym? Never. Why do we feel it’s necessary to do it in the gym? This exercise mimics a pull up, it’s the same muscle groups here just a different amount of tension. I’m not a pull up master but whenever I do attempt one I’m usually looking up at the bar and not down at  my feet. Next time you are at the park please try to do a pull up as you look at the ground; it’s awkward, unnatural and uncomfortable. Your body tells you right away that this motion is wrong and yet we don’t listen. Your shoulders hurt your neck strains and you can’t see what you are doing. But alas, I will not leave you without the proper correction.

Fix it: Lean back from your pelvis, grab the bar the same way you would if you were going behind your neck but this time bring it to the top of your chest. Your elbows should be pointing straight down to the floor as you pull the bar down. The muscles you are training here are your lats, rhomboids and, if you are contracting properly, the bottom portion of your traps. Your shoulders should stay down and back as you bring the bar back up to its starting position. Take your time. When you are training with weights the important thing to remember is that you are building muscle not running a marathon. Injuries happen in seconds so give your body the undivided attention it deserves.

Happy Training.

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