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Articles Fitness Nutrition

What Is a Lat Bar?

In today’s gyms and health clubs, a lot of different equipment is available to the fitness participant. However, the lat bar occupies its own niche in the vast selection of free weights, circuit training machines and plate loaded equipment that gym members have to choose from. Those in good health who are looking to develop their core and other upper body muscle groups should think about including a lat bar exercise in their fitness routine.

About the Lat Bar

A lat bar is different from a free weight like a dumbbell, barbell or medicine ball. It’s also different from most fixed weight machines. That’s because the lat bar is most commonly attached to a cable that runs through pulleys before connecting to the adjustable weight load.

Someone who is using a lat bar, therefore, has a free range with which to execute the motion that raises the weight plates and challenges the body. The lat bar is designed to particularly work the latissimus dorsi muscles, or “lats,” of the upper and middle back, as well as the chest and shoulders, and various core muscle groups that support the body.

Using the Lat Bar

To effectively use the lat bar, the trainer positions herself adjacent to the bar, with a symmetrical grip on either end of the bar, where two handles provide for a double-handed grip. Some alternative lat bars are designed for one hand only, but two handed designs are more commonly used.

The trainer pushes down on the lat bar, and the cable pulls against the weights, elevating her. This provides the resistance challenge for this versatile activity.

Because the motion of the lat bar is not guided or controlled by a metal arm, but by a free cable, users are able to modify their lat bar exercises a little. Personal trainers can show beginners the perfect form for a lat bar, where the body is not over-extended. When the body positioning is right, the lat bar provides a powerful workout for the upper body, similar to what trainers can get with a rowing machine.

The lat bar can be a great way to develop the upper body, build more muscle strength, and tone the core for better support of the spine and torso. However, lat bar exercises are not for everyone. Elderly participants, those with upper body joint conditions, or anyone with a weak shoulder should be cautious about using the lat bar, particularly with a lot of weight added. Only those who understand proper form should put a significant amount of weight on a lat bar.

Often, if the bar seems shaky and unstable to a user, she is not practicing good form and may not get a lot out of the lat bar exercise (or may be injured). Because of the free motion of this exercise, it’s important to get trained by a personal trainer or other expert, and to go slowly when trying out this exercise device.

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