Recruitment of muscle is something we mention often when training our clients.
What do we mean when we say “recruitment of muscle”, well its pretty tightly linked with technique.
Most of our clients already know a lot of the exercises we incorporate into their programmes, we ask them to perform a squat, press up, lat pull down, bench press etc. they’d perform the exercise and it looks fine. What we mean by “recruitment of muscle” is to perform an exercise, knowing exactly which muscles that exercise is targeting, contract/squeeze those muscles throughout each rep. There is a significant difference between performing a rep that looks like the correct technique and actually using the appropriate muscles to benefit from that particular movement.
There are numerous tips that can be used when performing an exercise, ensuring recruitment of the correct muscles.
This video is thebodydocs team member, Ollie, at our Harrogate studio, part way through a pull session.
The lat pulldown (especially wide grip) is one of those exercises that we often see done wrong; the primary muscles you end up hitting become the biceps rather than the lats (latissimus dorsi).
Here are some useful tips for good technique.
- First, drop the weight; you will benefit a lot more by going down in weight and successfully hitting your lats rather than attempting to get through the exercise in any way possible.
- Second, imagine your hands are hooks; most people suffer from loss of grip and lactic burn in their forearms before any benefit has been made on the lats. This is because you’re squeezing the bar too tight.
- Third, before you bend your arms, retract your shoulder blades to start each rep (squeeze your shoulder blades together). Doing this will help you to successfully hit your lats rather than initiating the rep using your biceps.
- Finally, imagine there is a thread between your elbow and hip, as you perform the rep and pull down that thread is shortening, pulling your elbows towards your hips. At the bottom of the rep, if you find that your elbows point backwards or that the bar is lower than your elbows, you are pulling the bar too far down.