Supine Tabletop Lat Pulldown
How to Do the Floor Band Lat Pulldown | In-Depth Guide [VISUAL LEARNERS]
Proper Form & Common Mistakes | Home Resistance Training
VIDEO TUTORIALS HEREWRITTEN TUTORIAL + IMAGES BELOW
MAIN MUSCLES WORKED IN Tabletop Band Lat Pulldowns
OTHER MUSCLES WORKED:
- Lower and mid traps
- Pectoralis major
- Serratus anterior
- Teres major
HOW Tabletop Band Lat Pulldowns SHAPE OUR BODY
Good posture, slim V waist (hourglass shape).
WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY
ALL WE'RE DOING:
Pull both ends of the resistance band down towards your torso, letting your elbows bend.
This lat pulldown variation is done lying down with the face up. This is a back-strengthening exercise that uses a resistance band. The tabletop position will challenge the abdominal muscles by removing the legs so that they are unable to help keep the torso stable.
If you find this exercise just a bit too challenging for your core muscles, you can regress it just a touch by doing the version that has a stability ball under your feet.
The abdominal muscles will have to work harder to hold the spine in neutral against the pull of the legs being held up. This variation adds the benefit of a core workout to the lat pulldown.
PROPER FORM: Tabletop band Lat Pulldown
EQUIPMENT, SETS & REPS
Main set (3: Light/Med/Heavy):
X-Heavy Band (I recommend getting this too if you plan to use resistance bands frequently).
Washcloth to support neck
SUGGESTED STARTING WEIGHT FOR WOMEN:
Moderate - heavy resistance bands
SETS & REPS:
2 sets of 8 reps
Moderate pull down - with control and back stability, and slower return to start.
BODY POSITION FOR THE Tabletop band Lat Pulldown
BAND: Anchored low, about 12 inches from the floor. Band is coming from behind your head when lying down, your body should be positioned so that the band is taut when your arms are overhead. Arm positioning can be overhead as far as you can keep your spine in a neutral position and your shoulders are comfortable. This will be dependent on the length and strength of the band, where the band is anchored, and the mobility of your shoulders. You should be able to pull your upper arm down to your sides.
BODY STANCE: Lie on the floor, knees bent with your feet on the floor. Activate your abdominals and lift one leg up to the table top position - hip positioned so that your thigh is perpendicular to the floor and your shin is parallel to the floor. Lift your second leg up to line up with your first leg. Hold the position as you complete the exercise. Neutral spine, sternum lifted. Put a folded washcloth under your neck if you need the support.
ARMS: Back of shoulders pressed into the floor, your arms are stretched overhead (depending on comfort and how much tension is on the band - the goal is to pull your upper arms all the way to your torso.
HAND/GRIP: Wrap one end of the band around each hand. Palms up when arms are overhead. The band should come from the thumb side of the hand and cross the palm.
HOW TO DO
HOW TO DO Tabletop band Lat Pulldowns
CUE: Concentrate on feeling your lats pull your arms down. Activate your abdominals to prevent your ribs from rising up - or arching your low back.
Leading with your elbows, pull your upper arm down and towards the sides of your body. Your elbows will bend as your arm comes down.
Continue moving your upper arms down, in towards your torso and slightly behind your torso.
Pause at the end of the movement and then slowly return to the starting position.
HOW TO SAFELY GET OUT OF THE EXERCISE
Return to the starting position and release the bands.
WHAT TO AVOID WITH THE Tabletop band Lat Pulldown
Guess what? Good news! Many avoids are the same for most movements. Once you learn the basics, there's really only a few extra avoids for each individual movement.
1. Avoid pressing neck to floor
AVOID: Arching the neck or pushing the head into the floor
- This can strain the neck muscles and encourage forward head posture.
WHAT TO DO:
- Try to monitor the neck throughout the exercise because it is fairly common to let the chin come up and then the neck arches.
- Place a folded washcloth under your head or neck to adjust the position.
2. Avoid arched/flattened back
AVOID: Arching/flattening your low back
WHAT TO DO:
- Maintain a neutral spine position to prevent low back joint injury, muscle strain, or damage over time.
- If your ribs lower ribs flare upwards or your belly is lifted up - this indicates you are arching your low back. Your pubic bone and front hip bones should be in one plane - can check by placing your fingertips on the pubic bone and setting the base of your palm on your hip bones - your hand should be flat.
- To prevent arching - avoid taking your arms up too far overhead: move your arms down
- You should not be able to feel your low back pressed onto the floor, you should be able to slip your hand between the floor and your low back. Try:
- Lower your tailbone to the floor and lengthen the front of your torso, and activate the core muscles gently to hold this position.
- Your shoulders are not anchored to the floor: press the back of your shoulders into the floor.
- Relax the muscles of the lower body (especially the gluteus maximus, and concentrate on the core and upper body.
3. Avoid Hands too close
AVOID: Hands too close.
- The hands will move in, closer to the shoulders.
- This will move the resistance closer to the shoulder joint and the muscles will not need to work as hard.
WHAT TO DO:
- Keep your hands about 2 inches wider than shoulder width apart.
4. Avoid Elbows Flaring Out
AVOID: Letting your elbows flare out.
- This will decrease the muscle activity of the lats - the lats pull the upper arm in (adduct) and flaring the elbows out is the same as the upper arm being out from the side of the body (abduction).
5. Avoid Shoulders Rounding Up
AVOID: Rounding the shoulders.
- Lifting the back of the shoulder off of the floor can result in shoulder impingement
- Exercising in poor posture (rounded shoulders) will work the muscles on the front of the torso, not the muscles of the back.
- This will encourage poor posture.
WHAT TO DO:
- Pull the shoulder blades down.
WHAT & WHY
BENEFITS OF TRAINING THE LATISSIMUS DORSI
Lat pulldowns are different from lat pushdowns in that you let your elbows bend, rather than keeping the arms straight. This motion lets you use more resistance than in a pushdown AND reduces how much the triceps contribute to the exercise.
Pulldowns work many muscles of the back and shoulders, with a focus on the largest muscle of the back, the latissimus dorsi - often referred to as the “lats”, while minimizing the work done by the triceps. Lat pulldowns involve stabilizing the torso while pulling the arms down and in towards the sides of the body (extension and adduction). This exercise trains posture and core stability, during the movement of the shoulder blade and arm.
WHY DO WE EVEN CARE?
TRAINS YOU TO LIFT MORE WEIGHT + REDUCE INJURY RISK
The latissimus dorsi is a large flat muscle that runs across your back from about mid spine all the way down to the pelvis, it crosses the bottom part of your shoulder blade and runs under your armpit to attach to the upper arm bone. The latissimus dorsi can pull the arm down and back (extension), in towards the body (adduction), and internally rotate the arm. The attachments to the spine and the pelvis make it an important muscle for holding the torso still - it is like a large back brace of muscle and fascia (fascia is thin, strong connective tissue).
Lat pulldowns involve stabilizing the torso while pulling the arms down. Training your core muscles, including the large lat to hold your torso still will allow you to move more weight and decrease your risk for injuries.
BALANCE OUT OUR COMMONLY TIGHT FRONTS
Not only do the lats stabilize the spine and move the arms, they also pull the shoulder blades down the back. This is important for healthy shoulder movement and good posture. Most of our daily activities involve working in front of us, using the muscles of the front of the body. The muscles on the front of the body pull the shoulders and the shoulder blades forward. It is important to balance this out by working the muscles of the back of the body that pull the shoulders and shoulder blades back.
TRAIN WHAT CONNECTS OUR UPPER & LOWER BODY - SEEMS LIKE A SMART THING TO DO?
The latissimus dorsi connects the upper body with the lower body, it is broad and covers more area than any other back muscle.
As such, it helps coordinate something called reciprocal movement of the arms and legs during walking and running, sports - like batting, golf, tennis. If that term is confusing, it was to me! I was like recipro-what? Insert raised eyebrow. This is just a technical term to describe the way in which we naturally move our bodies when doing things like walking- meaning when your right foot takes a step forward, your left arm naturally swings forward as well. And vice versa. This is what creates balanced movement for us along with a little momentum that helps propel us forward so that it doesn't require as much effort to move our bodies through space.
In more scientific speak, the force is transmitted from the ground, up the legs across the low back and to the arms - this is the cross pattern - one leg to the opposite arm - and the lat plays an important role in this. If this connection is weak it leads to decreased power, speed, poor posture, poor alignment of the lower body.
The lat also plays an important role in walking and running - it helps to coordinate the reciprocal movement between the arm and leg movement. When the lats are weak or tight, it can affect the activity of the gluteus maximus - resulting in a shorter walking stride - shorter steps because the leg is not moving behind the body as far. The lats connect the lower body to the upper body to transfer energy from your legs to your arms - think about swinging a bat or a golf club, you plant your foot and rotate the upper body to transfer all of the energy up and across to the other arm to hip the ball.
EVERYDAY LIFE &
HOW WE USE OUR LATS MUSCLES IN EVERYDAY LIFE
1. PULLING THE ARM DOWN (EXTENSION FROM A FLEXED POSITION)
- Cross country skiing
- Chopping wood
- Golf swing
- Driving - turning the steering wheel
2. PULLING YOUR BODY UP WHILE KEEPING THE ARMS STABLE
- Using crutches
- Pushing up out of a chair
- Pushing yourself out of a pool (hands on edge of the pool)
3. MOVES AND STABILIZES THE SHOULDER BLADE - DURING ALL ARM MOVEMENTS
- Depresses (pulls down) the shoulder blade
- Holds the shoulder blade down to provide a stable base for your arm to work off of
4. HOLDS THE TORSO IN A HEALTHY UPRIGHT POSTURE
5. STABILIZES THE LOW BACK
How to Feel What Muscle is Working
Sitting on a chair with a hard seat. Take your opposite hand and place it on your back (towards the side of the body) about 5 inches lower than the armpit. Place the hand on the side you will be working on the seat of the chair. Push down into the seat as if you were going to lift your bottom up off the seat. You should feel the latissimus dorsi contract.
SPIFFILICIOUS FACTS ABOUT MUSCLES & MOVES
This movement works the muscles of the back used to bring the arm down (against resistance) from an abducted position, to adduct the arm (move in towards the side of the body). This is a good exercise for training good posture and core stability, during the movement of the shoulder blade and arm. Along with the lower and mid traps, pectoralis major, rhomboids, and serratus anterior, the latissimus dorsi moves the shoulder blade down and inward as it pulls the arm down and in. This action will reinforce good movement patterns to keep the shoulder joint and soft tissues healthy.
The latissimus dorsi connects to the spine and pelvis through a strong layer of connective tissue, called the thoracolumbar fascia. Interestingly, the thoracolumbar fascia also attaches to the gluteus maximus, traps, and hamstrings. This connection ties in with the stability of the shoulder to the spine, the pelvis and the hips. The latissimus dorsi can pull the arm down and back, pull the arm in towards the body, internally rotate the arm, move and hold the scapula down, and when the arms are straight down and stable - it can lift the pelvis - as in crutch walking. The latissimus dorsi also plays a role in helping to expand the rib cage during inhalation (breathing in). It is an interesting muscle because, despite all that it can do, it depends on other muscles to help it out. So even though it is a very important muscle that can do a lot, it is not the sole muscle for any one of its functions. Because of this, the muscle can be in reconstruction or wound repair surgeries.
The lat attaches to the thoracolumbar fascia, so when the lat is tight it can pull the pelvis into an anterior tilt. An anterior pelvic tilt shortens the iliopsoas muscle - which is a hip flexor - when the iliopsoas muscle is tight it can limit hip extension, and lead to gluteus max weakness.
There is a bit of a chicken and egg thing here because weak glutes can cause an anteriorly tilted pelvis which can cause tightness of the iliopsoas and lats. it is the tight or hypertonic iliopsoas that limits the hip extension.
The posterior oblique sling is made up of the lat, thoracolumbar fascia, and the contralateral gluteus maximus. The thought (the research varies on the exact mechanism) is that when the arm moves forward and the contralateral leg moves forward (the reciprocal movement) the lat and glute are stretched - and the fascia is stretched. This increased tension on the muscles and fascia builds up kinetic energy in the tissues. The energy is released as the muscles shorten.
You can kind of feel this if you pull your finger back as far as possible and release it - it bounced back to the neutral position.
The lats run under the arm and internally rotate the upper arm. In a slouched posture the shoulders are forward and the upper arm is internally rotated. Tons of people have tight lats - they get stretched when you extend the arm up overhead, lengthen the spine, and with a posterior pelvic tilt. Many undertrained muscles are tight. There used to be a common belief that tight muscles were strong muscles and weak muscles were losers. This is not true. You can have weak and tight muscles.
ALLLL MUSCLES & WHEN
ALL MUSCLES WORKING & WHEN DURING THE Tabletop band Lat Pulldown
The arms begin overhead, neutral shoulder position (no internal or external rotation). In this position the shoulder blade is rotated upward and pulled slightly into protraction - this is passive - no muscle activity because the resistance of the band is holding the arm in this position.
The abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, pelvic floor) will be working to hold the legs up in the tabletop position. The latissimus dorsi and teres major work concentrically to pull the arm down from abduction, the lower fibers of the pectoralis major also help when there is enough resistance. As the arm comes down the biceps contribute to bending the elbows. The mid trap, lower trap, rhomboid, and serratus anterior work to move the shoulder blade to control the positioning of the shoulder joint, including retracting (pulling towards the spine) and depressing (pulling down the back), and rotating the shoulder blade down and to hold the shoulder blade to provide a stable base for the arm to move off of.
To return to the starting position the same muscles will work eccentrically to reverse the motions and control the pull of the band as the arms are lifted back up.