Lat Pulls

Lat pulls are my favorite exercise on my back days but it seems that I have come across a problem that has been puzzling me for months. I figured my fellow T-men can help me out. So here goes: I used to do lat pulls in front of my body but I started doing them behind the neck and I feel it so much more. I was then told that behind the neck is not the right way to do lat pulls. Does it matter and is there a difference? If so, which one is better? Thanks.

The advise you received may stem from the campaign against any exercise that puts the arm back so far (i.e. lat pulls behind neck, behind the neck press) because of shoulder joint stress/injury. Personally I do lat pulls in front and behind. I do avoid behind the neck presses though.

front lat pulls work the front lats while back lat pulls work the back lats & deltoids.form is very important for either as you want to make sure your targeting the lats whether it be front or back.

I have read that doing them in front activates the same muscles as if you were doing them in the rear. I do not know this to be true though. I do mine in the front due to the increased stress on the shoulders by doing them in the rear.

It is my understanding that if you have bad shoulders already, doing pull downs to the rear can exacerbate your shoulder problems. I believe there was an article in the last issue about doing them for your traps, but there is more to it than just pulling the bar behind your neck.

As with any other do’s and don’ts The behind the neck lat pulls are fine. I personally don’t like them and don’t do them. As a balance thing I would do them both, switch out between them. I, however, think pull ups are drastically more effective. My back improved tremendously after applying a ‘murder your back’ with pull ups routine.

Neither is better. Do chins/pull-ups and you’ll grow some wings that will let you fly around the weight room.

Both are fine. But with the rear there is more shoulder stress. For myself I you to do both but realized that my shoulders giving out before my lats. I still do the behind the neck with a lighter weight for warm up and light days. Do what feels best to you.

I agree with the sentiment to switch to chins and pullups. See the article in the T-mag archives “The End to Geek Back Training”.
However, I enjoy the variety of a set ot two of behind-the-neck pullups when I’m warming up, while the muscles are fresher. There are definitely more stresses in the shoulder. Once I progress to heavier pullups with weight, however, they’re all in front. - Nylo

First let me state that there is no such thing as front lats and rear lats!!!
Now your question - behind the neck pullsdowns/ups are not bad for your shoulders! The problem arises when people have a front to back muscle imbalance and lack flexibilty in the shoulder joint! If you have the flexibility to do pulldowns/ups correctly and in a controlled manner - congrats you have more exercises in your arsenal! If you cannot do these exercises STRETCH!!! Work on your flexibilty until you can do them!
There is however certain circumstances/injuries which behind the neck work is not warranted - ask your therpist/MD/DC before using these exercises if you have had any shoulder injuries.

I agree with Matt 100%. Just another point of view that I would like to address is that from a functionality stand point, I can’t think of any real life situations where you would have to pull your self up behind the neck…