Dreaming of becoming a better swimmer? Here’s an exercise that’s great for developing the latissimus dorsi muscle, or the large muscle on the trunk situated behind the arm. Developing this muscle would in turn strengthen the arm and give you more power navigating through water. Or even if you were not a swimmer, stronger arms and upper body strength would definitely be a plus as you go through life’s demands.
This exercise is the stiff arm lat pull downs. Here’s a quick tutorial:
- You need exercise equipment with a lat bar or lat pulldown, which is common in gyms and fitness centers. This is the part with a wide handlebar at the top and attached to weights at the back. You pull down this handlebar to tone your muscles and increase your upper body strength.
If you want to purchase one, it’s good to note that many multifunctional exercise machines carry the lat bar as well. These kinds of exercise machines are more expensive though, and it usually costs about $400.
Stand with your shoulders back, and your feet shoulder width apart.
Face the exercise machine with the lat bar and raise your arms toward it, while bending your body at a 45-degree angle. Remember: you need to keep your arms straight and unbent all throughout, hence the name of this exercise routine.
Although there are several variations in positioning the hand while gripping the lat bar, we can focus on technique called the wide grip pull down wherein the hands are placed one and a half times shoulder width apart. This is most effective in working the lat muscle. Grip the bar with your thumb on the same side of the bar as the other fingers. Pull down the lat bar up to your knees, keeping the motion smooth and controlled. Also, focus on targeting the lat muscle, acquiring the force to pull down the bar from that area. Avoid rocking your body to gain momentum for the pull. Remember to keep your shoulder level, your elbows locked and your arms stiff.
As you pull down the bar, hold it for one count and then bring it back up at about head level. You may do 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions each. Remember, it’s better to use lighter weights with more repetitions than heavy weights right away, to avoid back and muscle strain. This is also so you can better control how hard your work out will be.
It is important to breathe properly during this whole routine. Just remember to inhale when you’re releasing the lat bar, and to exhale when you’re pulling it down.
As with any other exercise regimen, remember to consult a doctor before you undergo this strength training. Once you’ve gotten your doctor’s go signal, it’s important to stay committed to this routine so to best reap its benefits. Before long, you and everybody else will see that the time and energy you’ve invested to exercising is definitely worth it. Happy exercising!