VIDEO: Developing Mind Muscle Connection In Lat Pull-Downs Or Pull-Ups

If you want to engage lats properly in a lat pull-down or pull-up, you’ll need to develop mind muscle connection. So starting with first things first, what is that?

The mind-muscle connection is something that countless body builders talk about. The basic idea is that it’s advantageous to be able to isolate and control certain muscles. You want the ability to tap into certain muscles to really ‘fee’ them working. Even if you’re not interested in building huge muscles this idea still holds water.

Now let’s take the example of the lat pull down.


If you do a lat pull down without consciously engaging the lats, what happens? The lat muscle will still work and contribute because the body is so integrated it doesn’t have a choice.

But here’s where you could be missing out:

  1. You might be getting out of optimal alignment. When the right muscles aren’t pulling their weight the body will find another way to get the job done. Often this results is less than ideal postures. You’ll see an example of this in the video.

  2. You might not be developing optimal strength and control of the lat muscle through its full range of motion. We see this when people can’t feel their glutes getting tired doing a glute bride, for instance.

  3. Many times the reason the muscle isn’t fully contributing is because it’s too weak to do what you’re asking, so other muscles contribute more. Continuing to let your body work around that weak link only makes the problem worse as the other muscles get comparatively stronger and even more out of balance.

In my experience, developing mind muscle connection to the point of being able to feel the right muscles working for each repetition of the entire set builds better strength and control; I also believe it leads to more muscle development. At first, this mind-muscle connection is difficult to achieve. But over time you’ll find that using the ‘right' muscles becomes second nature. Once this becomes automatic, you can do virtually any exercise without having the think and it will turn out right. That’s the goal.