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Spreading the wings - pullups vs. lats Pulldowns


I perform pull-ups almost every time I train my back muscles. The exercise is a cornerpillar in my back routine. I often perform up to a total of a 100 reps during a back workout session. I am, of course, far from alone in praising this exercise as one of the best there is for developing the lats - but it might come as a surprise, given the status of this exercise, that I didn´t always involve it in my routine. In fact, I once ignored it - for a full decade. During those ten years I instead relied on another lats-targeting exercise: the lats pulldown. Then came the switch: I stopped using the lats pulldown machine and started doing pull-ups. For the following years it was all pullups and absolutely no lats pulldowns whatsoever… The difference in results? Honestly I favor both these exercises. Nowadays I perform them both on a regular basis, often during the same workout session (I am something of a lats fanatic…). In my book it is a draw between these two. If I were to zoom in on the differences I’d say that the lats pulldowns offers a little more precision once you have learned to master the exercise properly. The pullups is a back exercise, absolutely, but it also puts a lot of other muscle groups into play.

In this photo, which was taken three weeks ago in Greece, I perform pullups at an abandoned stadium. The heat and the sunlight were both brutal. My hands were red for hours after having gripped the sun-heated steel.

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