Move of the Week with Jana McDermid: Lat Pulldown

And we’re back! After a holiday season that’s been both relaxing and productive, your favourite personal trainer and diva of demonstration Jana McDermid from our Pickering club is back with her Move of the Week series! Each week, Jana teaches you the proper form for an important exercise. To book a session with Jana or any of our other personal trainers, call our Pickering location or fill out our online form.

The pulldown or ‘lat’ pulldown – which works out the laterals, hence the name – is an exercise mainly for the back, although the shoulders and arms get some workout as well. The equipment for the cable pulldown is usually a weighted cable pulley station with adjustable weights and seat; you can find at least one of these at each Womens Fitness club.


  • Sit in the machine and anchor your body by securing your thighs under the pad. Brace your core and abdominal muscles.
  • Grasp the bar with the hands wider than shoulder-width, palms facing forward and thumbs wrapped around the bar. With your elbows straight overhead, pull your shoulder blades down and back.
  • Do not allow your back to arch. Lean back slightly.
  • Keep your feet on firmly on the floor and your head aligned with your spine.
  • Maintain these engagements throughout the exercise.



  • Pull the bar in a motion that brings your elbows toward the sides of your torso, driving your elbows toward the floor.
  • Do not lean back any further as you pull the bar down.
  • Pull the bar down until the bar nears or touches your chest, or more importantly, when your elbows are no longer moving downward, but are beginning to move backward.
  • Pause briefly. In a slow and controlled manner, straighten your elbows and return the bar to starting position, finally allowing your shoulder blades to rise slightly. Repeat.

Please Don’t!:
Don’t pull down behind the neck. For many reasons, this could be dangerous. The shoulder and neck joints may end up in positions in which they are vulnerable to injury.

If you’d like to work with Jana, or any of our other expert personal trainers or kinesiologistscall your club or fill out our online form and we’ll get you set up asap!