Skill level
Beginner
Type
Strength Training
Equipment
Lat Pulldown Bar
Body Parts
Shoulders

Many people have tight, weak lats, leading to issues when they try to pull (as in a pullup) or press overhead (as in a dumbbell military press). Eccentric pulldowns are a good way to both improve strength and flexibility ahead of a heavier shoulder workout, says Joe Holder, an S10 performance trainer, Nike trainer/run coach, and founder of The Ocho System.

"Stretching is often associated with static movements, but research has actually shown that utilizing eccentric movements can often be better than some standard stretching protocols, when done correctly."

Do these before a workout to prepare your shoulders and back for heavier lifts.

Step-by-step instructions

1. Utilizing a lat pulldown machine, find a moderate weight. (Go lighter than you think.) Pull down the bar, making sure that your thumbs are over the bar, and that your shoulders are packed and relaxed. Your lats should be doing the work—not your hips.
2. When the bar reaches the bottom position, hold it there. Start slowly letting the bar rise. Focus on feeling the stretch in your lats as the bar goes back to the starting position.
3. Keep proper form while feeling maximum tension as you make your way back to the top. That's one rep. Each rep should take 8-10 seconds.