Cable Lat Pulldown Machines offer a variety of exercises that focus more on the resistance side of weight training. The back muscles are a necessary workout, but often get overlooked. With these machines, they will absolutely be worked on. Luckily for you, it will not just be your back getting the workout as this machine has many different components. Included in these machines are exercises that include working out triceps, biceps, and other exercises that will target different areas of your back.
Besides the variety of uses these machines give, you are also afforded the opportunity to have better tempos within each rep. This allows for better focus on individual muscles for that well-sculpted back that everyone should be aiming for. In this article, we will look at the benefits, taking advantage of the opportunities the machine offers, and proper form as well as the set up of the machine itself.
What is a LAT Machine?
A LAT Machine (short for latissimus dorsi) is a free weight machine that is freestanding with a padded seat. It targets the upper body muscles. When talking about free weights, we mean that gravity is used for the resistance. The exercises that can be done include lat pulldowns, tricep press downs, bicep workouts, and more. It is used for weight training, but its uses have a wide range due to the different types of grips that can be used. Narrowing vs. widening the grip allows for different parts of the arm muscles to be worked.
Benefits of a Lat Machine
One of the big parts of the appeal in having your own lat machine is that it is a good beginner workout machine. It is easy to use and has a range of benefits that center on controlled movements to really hone in on while performing resistance training. You are able to work out your biceps, triceps, and lats all in one machine, which many machines you may find will not offer. Another benefit to this machine is the speed at which you my find yourself increasing strength, endurance, and muscle mass. This is due to the controlled positive and negative movements of lifting.
Things to Consider Before Buying your Lat Pulldown Machine
In order to benefit the most from this all-encompassing upper body machine, you need to take a look at a few factors:
Adjustable seat: If you are tall like I am, you will want to make sure that the seat is adjustable. Not having an adjustable seat can cause an uncomfortable workout. Besides being uncomfortable, the many types of exercises you can do with this machine require some adjusting of the seat.
Weights: Generally, when looking at the Lat Pulldown machine, you will find that there are weight stacks. The amount of weight on the machine should not be an issue; rather, if you find that it is instead plate loaded, you will need to buy free weights. If you are ok with buying free weights, or have some laying around the house, than this is not an issue.
Quality: This one is self explanatory, but check the reviews! Look to see what people are saying about the material and length of time they have had the machine, which brings me to my final point.
Warranty: Look for companies that offer warranties for the machine or individual parts that sometimes have issues, such as the frame.
Who are Lat machines good for and what areas of the body they work on.
As previously mentioned, this is a great all-around machine. It is perfect for beginners as well as veterans at the gym. As a beginner, if you are attempting to do a pull-up and cannot reach one, look no further. This machine helps build the necessary back muscles to getting that first pull up.
The beauty of this machine lies within how you use it. By that, I mean what kind of grip you use on any given exercise. Grip as well as hand position can give you different results in targeted muscle areas including your back, in addition to biceps and triceps. When doing a lat pulldown, the process of pulling the bar down to your chest will engage the lat muscles. With a narrower grip, you are targeting more of your bicep muscles.
How to set up and use a Lat pulldown machine
If you have received your Lat pulldown machine and are excited to start, but do not have any idea how to assemble it, please first look to see if there is a manual and set up from there. If you are unable to find a manual, contact the company or look online to see if there is any manual available.
In order to use a Lat pulldown machine, you will want to first look at how you are setting yourself up on the machine. The first thing you will do is sit down on the seat and adjust the leg-restraint pad to your comfort. Your feet should be flat on the floor, and the pad should keep your legs in place.
After doing this, adjust the weight through what will probably be adjusting the pin in one of the holes in the stacked weights. If there is no pin and you are working with free weights, you will want to add those before sitting down.
From there, you will want to pull the bar down toward your chest level while exhaling, followed by inhaling and extending your arm so that the stacked weight does not slam, but should come close to touching.
Common mistakes when using a Lat pulldown machines
I know at this point you are probably eager to start lifting heavy, but you must remember form, form, and form! Movement should come from the elbow and shoulders- but do not worry, we will further expand on that point.
If you have ever been to the gym, you may see someone using the lat pulldown machine by taking the bar and pulling it behind their head. This puts a heavy strain on your spine rather than working your muscles. Another common mistake is loading the weights too heavy, and letting the shoulders sneak up toward the ears. You will want to try to be mindful, and feel where the muscles are being worked. Target those muscles you want to be worked out.
Another common mistake in the general use of the lat pulldown machine is using momentum. In order to get the full benefit of this machine, use lower weights that challenge you, but do not cause you to lose proper and controlled form. This may lead to injury, which will postpone your desired results.
A Quick Look at these Machines:
Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial Olympic Lat Pull Down & Low Row Cable Attachment
The Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial Olympic Lat Pull Down & Low Row Cable Attachment combines both a lat pulldown and low row cable attachment. This machine also comes with a high lat pulldown bar as well as low row cable pulley systems. This allows for you to perform over 30 training positions! It was designed in combination for safety and ease of use to support/maximize strength results. The height of this machine is 81 inches in height and gives you the option of 360 lbs. of real weight plate capacity.
Attachment post is chrome plated to prevent scratches and dents
High tensile strength nylon coated cable pulleys
No weights included- must purchase Olympic or standard weight plates
Akonza Lat Machine Low Row Cable Pull Down Fitness Closed Handle Attachment Pulldown
The Akonza Lat Machine Low Row Cable Pull Down Fitness Closed Handle Attachment Pulldown offers a way to speed up the way you enhance your strength, endurance, and muscle mass from home. With this machine, you can perform a wide variety of upper body building exercises while being supported by comfortable, multi-position foam rollers that lock you into place for your high pulley lat workout. The seat height is adjustable allowing for you to not feel restricted in your movements.
Heavy gauge steel construction
High and low pulley stations
Maximum load capacity of 395 lbs.
No weights included- must purchase free weights
Valor Fitness CB-12 Plate Loading Lat Pull Down
The Valor Fitness CB-12 Plate Loading Lat Pull Down machine is a small but powerful machine. You are able to perform a variety of exercises, and you have a strong steel frame measuring two inches by two inches with 12 gauge steel tubing. The machine comes with storage pins for extra plates, which allows for a counter balance when doing low cable exercises. The seating options are given in four different positions.
High density, tapered, dual-layer seat pad
Storage pins for an organized look
No weights included- must purchase free weights
Difficult to assemble
XMark Lat Pulldown and Low Row Cable Machine XM-7618
The XMark Lat Pulldown and Low Row Cable Machine XM-7618 is a smooth operating machine that boasts 400 lbs. of maximum load capacity. This machine works the upper back, shoulder, and arms. It includes 11-gauge steel, nylon coated aircraft quality cables, an extra-thick Dura craft cushion, a flip-up footplate for use with the low row bar, and two chrome Olympic sleeve adaptors. In addition to this, XMark offers machine attachments that are compatible with this machine.
400 lbs. weight capacity
14-inch Olympic plate adaptors
Aircraft quality cabling
Tall people may not be able to get a full stretch
Powerline PLM180X Lat Machine
The Powerline PLM180X Lat Machine is a free weight lat machine that targets the upper body muscles. The dual-position 8-inch foam rollers hold you securely in place by supporting you in the many workouts that can be performed on this machine. The Nylon bushings allow for an incredibly smooth operation. This machine boasts that more efficient movements and a larger range of motion can be performed, compared to typical machines or basic exercises.
Extended range of motion
Smooth nylon bushings
Weight plates not included- must purchase
Body-Solid Pro Lat Machine
The Body-Solid Pro Lat Machine is a free weight machine that features a no-cable-change technology. This allows for the between high and low pulley exercises to be smooth. This means that you can go from high to low cable moves with no adjustment. The foam rollers are fully adjustable, and are eight inches and lock your legs into place when you find a comfortable position.
High and low pulley
Instant change pop pins
Foot plate for seated rowing
Too short for tall users
Must purchase free weights
Body Solid Pro Clubline Lat Pulldown Mid Row
The Body Solid Pro Clubline Lat Pulldown Mid Row boasts gym-quality material in for your home. With two by four inch high tensile steel and a strong 11 gage, you can rest easy knowing that this is commercial quality. The setup comes with an extra long lat pulldown bar, allowing for different muscles to be targeted depending on what grip you choose to use. This machine comes with a 210 plate-loaded weight stack and a lifetime warranty, so you do not have to worry about ever going without this machine again.
210 plate-loaded weight stack included
High pulley directly overhead
With many options to choose from, it is important that you have considered what you are looking for in a lat machine. There is something for everyone in this list. If you are looking for one that gives you access to a wide range of exercises, we might suggest the Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial Olympic Lat Pull Down & Low Row Cable Attachment with 30+ exercises. If you want top-notch material, and to feel like you want the most gym-like workout at your home, we would send you over to the Body Solid Pro Clubline Lat Pulldown Mid Row. We hope that this list has given you enough information to make a well-informed decision. Earn those back muscles!