Our electronic-dependent society seems to facilitate a perfect storm that can prevent you from having a strong back and possessing great posture. Whether you sit at a computer, stand hunched over a cash register or a filing cabinet, work your iPhone etc., the events that fill our daily lives just tend to coax our shoulders forward and this eventually will cause your upper back to round up.

Now you can settle for a weak and drooping upper back like most of our society, but this would make your shoulders sag and curl forward as if you were retreating into a cocoon. While it is not necessary to throw out all your electronic devices or change jobs, doing nothing will only make you look 20 years older than your real age. Wide-grip lat bar pull downs will rescue the muscles around the shoulders, back and scapula (shoulder blade) and strengthen the upper pillars of your postural musculature to turn back the biological clock.

Wide-grip Pull down

The lat bar pull down stresses the extension and abduction functions of the humerus of the arm, which means that the latissimus dorsi, teres major, trapezius and scapular part of the deltoid muscles are all strongly activated.

  1. Sit in the seat of the lat pull down unit and place the thigh bar snugly across the anterior part of the middle regions of both thighs with your feet firmly on the floor.5
  2. Take a wide pronated grip (palms facing away from your body). This will tend to de-emphasize the biceps and brachial is and stress the back.
  3. Pull the lat bar down to the top of the chest and make sure to avoid a collision of your chin with the bar. Draw the elbows back as far as possible.
  4. Hold the bar at the chest level for a count of two.
  5. Slowly return the bar to the starting position allowing the weight to stretch your muscles. Do not let the weight stack touch at the bottom.
  6. Immediately move into the next downward pull, and continue this sequence until your set is complete

The wide grip on the lat bar will provide a direct line of pull and an optimal stretch for the teres major. Control the upward movement in the lat pull down so that it is slow and controlled. Under no circumstances should you allow the weight to “jerk” your shoulders upward at the end of each repetition, otherwise you may overstretch the rotator cuff muscle group and de-stabilize your shoulder structures. With the bar in the top position, you should then hold the stretched position for a count of two before moving to the next repetition.

The wide-grip lat pull down will strengthen the postural muscles around your scapula and spine. It will reduce back stress6 and reverse the rounding effects that are imposed by prolonged use of sitting while working your mobile apps. Instead of looking older than you are, a few months of dedicated wide-grip pull downs will create a strong back musculature2,3,4 and spine7 that together will move you closer to preventing that aging-like posture slump.