If you want to build a strong back and upper body, pull-ups and chin-ups are typically the best bodyweight exercises you can do.
But if you’re not yet strong enough to do a complete pull-up or chin-up, lat pulldowns can help.
This exercise is done with a lat pulldown machine but as you can see in this video, I simply use a pulley system with Kettle-bell which is perfect for the home gym set up.
NOTE: The setup is almost identical to the Pull-Up.
1. Sit down on a pull-down machine with a wide bar attached to the top pulley. Make sure that you adjust the knee pad of the machine to fit your height. These pads will prevent your body from being raised by the resistance attached to the bar.
2. Grab the bar with the palms facing forward using a slightly wider (1-2 inches) than shoulder width grip. NOTE: Using an excessive wide grip adds no additional benefit to this exercise.
3. With a firm grip, act as if your bending the bar in half, trying to point your elbows towards each other. This will “lock in” the lats and engage the serratus anterior muscles much more effectively. Try and maintain this tightness throughout the movement of the exercise.
3. Bring your torso back around 30 degrees or so while creating a curvature on your lower back and sticking your chest out. This is your starting position.
4. Bring the bar down until towards your upper chest by drawing the shoulders and the upper arms down and back. Tip: Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. The upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the bar; therefore do not try to pull down the bar using the forearms.
5. After a second at the contracted position squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position when your arms are fully extended and the lats are fully stretched. DO NOT allow the shoulders to pull forward at the top of the movement. Keep your lats and serratus anterior engaged as in step 3.
6. Repeat this motion for the prescribed amount of repetitions.
Variations: The behind the neck variation is not recommended as it can be hard on the rotator cuff due to the hyperextension created by bringing the bar behind the neck.
Are you struggling with getting started on your fitness journey?
Maybe you’ve fallen off course and can’t find the motivation to get back on track…
Here is a different perspective you may not have considered yet as to why you’re allowing yourself to surrender to your insecurities and some steps to Knock Out Your Excuses so that you can get going again, TODAY! ✊
I apologize for video quality but I swear its a great message 🙏
What Back Issues?
In 1999 I was out processed from the #army with degenerative disc disease… At the age of 23 they said I had a back of a 60 year old and would require surgery.
At that time I had 2 choices…
Give in and live a life of misery, pain and excuses or FIND A WAY. .
Boy am I glad I didn’t decide to quit and give in.
Currently I’m 42… No surgery and still getting it in. .
Maybe not as strong as I’d like to be and definitely have my share of setbacks but I’m never going to allow someone’s opinion stop me from doing what I love to do.
And that is Lift Heavy Objects Until I Can Lift Heavier Objects.
What about YOU? Are you currently giving in or giving it all you’ve got?
I’m here to tell you that no matter what you may be going through, it’s up to YOU to decide whether or not you’re going to LIVE your life or merely exist.
Hit me up if you’re currently struggling but want a better quality and stronger life 👊👊👊
Cardio Makes You Good At Cardio, Strength & Conditioning Makes You Great At Everything!
I’m just going to get right out there and say it, traditional Cardio SUCKS! Nothing is more mind numbing and pointless than climbing on a treadmill and running for hours on end. Hell, 5 minutes on that thing and I’m ready to shoot myself.
For anyone who’s starting a weight loss program, there’s no question that Cardio is by far the most commonly performed exercise when it comes to fat loss.
People decide they want to lose weight and off they go to hop onto the ﬁrst piece of cardio equipment they ﬁnd. After all, cardio burns calories and upping your calorie burn is the fastest way to fat loss, right?
Not quite. It is true that you must burn off more calories than you consume over the course of the day to burn off body fat but there is more than one way to go about doing this.
Yes, you could use your actual calorie burn during the workouts to expend the extra energy or you could format your workouts in such a way that they cause you to expend more energy all day long.
Which sounds better to you?
The best way to boost your fat loss success is get your body burning more calories 24/7. When you do this, you can’t go wrong. You’ll be melting off fat 24 hours per day, even while you sleep dream come true, right?
This is the big reason why strength training is so effective for fat loss. Because it causes the body to expend numerous calories after the workout is done while you’re recovering, you’re going to ﬁnd that it really produces results quickly.
Traditional cardio, on the other hand, really doesn’t cause much of a post-workout calorie burn. But, when you combine Strength and Conditioning together, you will see the best results possible FAST!!
While I have nothing against interval cardio training – it is a very effective way to burn fat, I can guarantee you that combining strength along with your conditioning program is THE superior choice. Let’s get to how and why.
The reason for this is because with Strength and Conditioning (S&C) style workouts you get large metabolic increases from the interval training along with the high post-workout calorie burn from the weights, plus you have the added FUN element in there to break boredom!
Then to add to that, because you’re working both strength and conditioning training in the same workout, you now no longer need to dedicate as many total gym sessions per week to your training.
Before I continue, I do want to mention that if you are someone who just loves their cardio and really enjoys that time alone spent running outside or along on the machine, then you can add some in, but there are a few things you should know about it.
First, lots of moderate paced cardio training can eat away at your muscle mass. And it’s that muscle mass that essentially helps you burn calories all day long. So really do try and keep it to modest amounts. No one hour sessions, seven days a week. If you’re doing that much to lose weight, something is not right. You either need to make some serious changes with your diet or you need to look at what you’re doing in addition to that cardio (which in these scenarios is usually nothing).
Second, remember that all that cardio training is going to eat into your recovery ability. If you are planning on doing at least three to four strength workouts a week, which I would highly recommend that you do so, you’re going to ﬁnd that all that cardio makes it more difﬁcult to get through those sessions. Again, this leads to numerous problems.
Now, not only are you not seeing the results you should from your intense weight lifting workouts but you’re also losing muscle mass from all that cardio.
End result? You become a smaller, yet softer or ﬂabbier if you will version of your current self. Now, how appealing does that sound?
Hopefully this does convince you to start changing your ways. Old, moderate paced cardio methods have been proven far less effective than workouts that combine strength and conditioning. All the current research points to this old school way of training that will lead to far superior fat loss and ﬁtness level increases.
Listen, unless you’re training for a Marathon there is no reason for you to be pounding your joints and wasting your valuable time with running, treadmills, ellipticals, cycling, etc… again, unless you really enjoy those things.
But for me, I prefer hard charging, strength and conditioning sessions that will give me all the benefits of Fat Loss, Cardiovascular Fitness and even more STRENGTH that I desire.
Here is a list of some of my favorite Strength & Conditioning drills to ramp up your results fast. These can be performed as a stand alone sessions or combined into any workout.
In no particular order, here are my Top 10 Strength & Conditioning Strategies:
- Hill Sprints / Stair Runs
- 40 Yard Dash Sprints
- Sled Pushes
- 20 Rep Squats
- Strongman Medleys
- Heavy Carries
- Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM)
- As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP)
- High Intensity / Low Intensity Intervals
- Rep Challenges such as the Crossfit hero WOD, Murph
Sometimes special equipment may be needed for these workouts but often times its just a barbell and / or bodyweight.
Special Equipment Used:
- Strongman Tire
- Strongman Yoke
- Strongman Farmers Bars
- Slam Ball
- Battle Rope
- Weighted Vest
An example of putting a couple of these together would be a Strongman Medley AMRAP that includes Heavy Carries.
Strongman Medley – 20 Min AMRAP
Set the clock for 20 Minutes and see how many rounds you can complete of the following
- Tire Flip – 40 Feet
- Farmers Carry – 40 Feet
- Sandbag Shouldering – 5 / Side
- Sledgehammer Chop – 20 Reps – I like to call these Hulk Smash
Follow these workout suggestions or create your own Strength and Conditioning Challenges. When you do, be sure to share them with me.
Keep Pounding 👊