Thursday, June 5, 2014

Close Grip Lat Pull Down

Have you ever been in the gym and watched those that can pump out chin ups as though there is a ghost boosting them from their feet?  My initial reaction is “Show off”; but you know what? Not fair.  It should be admiration.  I should not be jealous of someone that has obviously put in a lot of effort to achieve this exercise in good form.  My latest goal is to do 5 chin ups, without looking like a wind charm swaying from a tree in Wellington.  (FYI, Wellington New Zealand is currently the windiest city in the world.)  
I must admit the monkey bar fail at ‘True Grit’ event was a prompter for my new chin up goal. How do I achieve this?  I either loose 15kg, (so there is less weight to lift), or I gain more strength, (so I can lift that extra 15kg)?  I figure I’ve got this... no time limit on this goal friends, but I have put it in print, so now I am held accountable.

A few exercises that will assist my ambition:
1.       Isometric chin up
2.       Suspended pull up
3.       Eccentric chin up
4.       Band-assisted chin up
But, I am going to start with the Close Grip Lat Pull Down” 
   Main Muscle Group: Lats
   Secondary Muscle(s): Biceps, Middle Back
   Exercise Type: Strength
   Equipment Required: Cable
   Mechanics: Compound
   Force Type: Pull
   Experience Level: Intermediate
Now what:
1.            The close grip lat pull down is similar to the regular pull down, but close grip means that you have a close grip, duh… oh, and that your biceps are more involved in the exercise. Set up for the close grip lat pull by attaching a small triangle bar to the machine, (if you are itty bitty and on the short side, ask a trainer to reach it for you), set the weight on the stack (be realistic), and adjust the knee pad, (you don’t want to bob up and down like a toffee apple).
2.            Grasp the handles with determination and grip.
3.            Sit down on the machine with your arms fully outstretched. This is the starting position. This would be a good time to hold onto the bar otherwise you may look a little bit odd at this point with your hands randomly in the air.
4.            Keeping your back and body straight, slowly pull the weight down to your upper chest.  Lucky females, this may be a higher point for you then the men; but you get the general idea.
5.            Pause, and then slowly raise the weight back to the start position. Do not let the stack drop.  If you do, you will get nasty looks from staff and shocked looks from fellow gym goers.
6.            Repeat for desired reps.
 Performance pointer:
1.            Keep your elbows tucked in by your side when pulling the weight down. No chicken wings here please.
2.            Don't lean back at any time. You may find yourself in a slight lean but remember it makes the exercise easier - it's cheating! Shock horror, those grunters who do the lat pull down practically horizontally, not good form!
3.            Control the weight at all times - don't let it drop quickly. Once again you'll get annoying looks from bystanders.
4.            To add extra intensity pause for a count of 2 at the bottom of the movement squeezing through the lats. If you are with a trainer, more than likely we will get you to pause at the bottom, and midway at some stage of the set… (insert evil laugh here, bwa ha ha ha).
5.            Focus on squeezing the lats to move the weight. Your forearms should only be responsible for holding the weight. Breaths out as you pull, grunt if you must, a squeal is not necessary, although a song would be appreciated.