The lat bar is a standard piece of equipment that can be found in most gyms or health clubs. They come in different shapes and sizes and many of these workout tools are free-hanging bars that are attached to cords that run to a weighted machine. Other types of machines that some call lat bars might be fixed weight arms that users pull down. Lat bars work the latissimus dorsi muscles in the back. They are a good addition to a power workout. Here are some of the most common lat bar exercises that form part of a daily or routine fitness schedule for clients at gyms.
The lat pull-down is, according to many trainers, far and away the most popular lat bar exercise. It's also something that most fixed weight machine users are familiar with. There are several variations of this move. Basically, the user grasps the lat bar and pulls it down to chest level. It’s important to practice good form with lat pull-downs. The bar should be comfortably in front of the body. The user pulls the bar from overhead, with enough room so that it meets the chest without the head getting in the way. Lat bar pull-downs can use overhand or underhand positioning for different effects. Beginners should not use a lot of weight until they get familiar with the way the lat bar pull-downs feel and how to best control the free bar. Since the lat bar is relatively unguided, it takes a little more getting used to.
Some lat bar machines can also accommodate pull-ups, where the user hangs from the lat bar and pulls her body up. These exercises are usually best done on specialized fixed machines.
The seated pull is also a very common and popular exercise for a lat bar. Some lat bars allow for the sideways motion of the cord. The user sits on a bench, grabs the bar, and pulls it horizontally. This kind of activity is somewhat similar to what a rowing machine would provide. The user is pulling on a specific fixed weight, strengthening the arms and chest. For seated pulls, the bar usually has a different shaped handle.
The above represent the most common uses of a lat bar or lat bar machine. Trainers who give professional advice at a gym can provide more on how to use these free weight and fixed weight machines to incorporate training of the lat muscles into a routine. Beginners are always advised to start with relatively low weights and avoid overly dynamic activity such as “jerking” weights off of a platform. The best way to practice these activities is with slow, smooth motions that will accomplish the task at hand without taxing joints and muscles with sudden weight loads. With practice, a guided lat bar activity can bring unique muscle tone and capacity to the lats and core muscle groups.