Variation #1: Lat Pulldowns for the Whole Body

In the video series “Variations on Six Conventional Exercises”, I demonstrate and teach unique fitness sequences to freshen any workout program. This guide takes you by the hand through Variation #1, Lat Pulldowns for the Whole Body or what I call “Press-Ups”. It supplements the video and digs more deeply into the variation. My goal is to support personal trainers and 3-D Workout instructors as they build their knowledge and confidence for teaching the movement.

Benefits of Press-Ups

WARM UP quickly with big movements through space
BUILD coordination with combined upper and lower body movement
DEVELOP body awareness, skill sets, and good movement patterns
ENGAGE the largest muscles of legs (gastroc, quads and hams) and the smallest of the shoulder joint (rotator cuff)
HYDRATE the fascial matrix—this is your head-to-toe body glove
BUILD awareness of the body in space by moving in all three planes
IMPROVE balance and stability on two feet as you change levels and shift weight
STRENGTHEN muscles and fascia functionally using light loads and big space
AEROBIC effect with multiple repetitions

Practice Tips

LEGS: first, learn and practice lower body movement to work your balance and level change
ARMS: secondly, work the upper limb reach, pull and rotations; fold arms close to the ribs on the downward pull
ROTATIONS: shoulder rotation adds two planes of movement to the sequence, sagittal and horizontal. And when you rotate the hands the whole arm and shoulder joint follows (distal to proximal movement); the fifth finger starts and finishes each rotation.
LOADING: Practice without weights at first; load lightly when you know the movement.
TIMING: slow down and move smoothly through each phrase. Resist the urge to rush to the end—it’s a sign of excess weight or tiredness.

Movement Ideas

PHRASING: Press-Ups is made up of two big phrases: reaching upward and pulling downward. Think body, space and destination.
REACHING: when extending the limbs out and away from the body and into far-reach space, reach through the fingertips to get the stretching sensation in the fascia.
PULLING: bring arms in close to the body (near-reach space) completing the folding action
BREATHING with the movement helps your balance and your phrasing; exhale to reach upward, inhale to fold downward
ALIGNMENT: Aim for sitz-bones over heels, knees over toes and weight over instep. This keeps your centre of gravity over your base of support. No worries about knees behind toes. There is no research to support this and it leads to poor alignment.

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