Behind-the-neck lat pull-down

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Latissimus Dorsi
  • Synergists: Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Biceps Brachii, Teres Major, Teres Minor, Pectoralis Major, Rhomboids, Lower Trapezius, Levator Scapulae
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

N/A. See Comments and tips.



Comments and tips

The behind-the-neck lat pull-down (aka the cable rear pulldown) is not recommended, which is why instructions have not been provided.

Why is it not recommended?

Like all behind-the-neck exercises, the behind-the-neck lat pull-down forces your neck and shoulder joints into risky ranges of motion. More specifically, as you pull the bar behind your neck, the movement forces you to tilt your head forward, which pushes your neck out of alignment with your spine under heavy load. You also have to abduct and externally rotate your shoulders into an extreme range of motion. The unnecessary strain on both your neck and shoulders could lead to injury.

Is it risky for everyone?

Depending on your technique and the shape and structure of your body, you could get away with doing the exercise safely; however, in my opinion, it’s just not worth the risk, especially since there are much safer alternatives, such as the medium-grip lat pull-down and especially the standard pull-up.

Other similar exercises to avoid

  • Behind-the-neck pull-up
  • Behind-the-neck shoulder press

Behind-the-neck lat pull-down video



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