Lat pull downs primarily target the back's large latissimus dorsi, or "lat," muscles. In addition, the biceps, middle back and shoulder muscles are worked. Proper form ensures that muscles are exercised effectively and safely.
When seated at the strength-training machine, the bar should not be pulled down behind the neck. This stresses the spine and sometimes injures shoulders that are not very flexible. While leaning back slightly from the hips, the bar should be pulled down to chest level. Shoulder blades are squeezed together. However, the shoulders themselves should not raise and lower. They are pulled down, maintaining a constant position. The bar moves slowly and smoothly both when pulled down and when released.