In a Lat-Pulldown, is one supposed to retract their scapula before the movement begins and keep it that way the whole exercise or to protract at the top of the movement, retract again and then do the movement itself? Which of these is right, and especially why?

I see a lot of mixed advice about what the scapula has to do in a Lat-Pulldown. Main argument for the "pro- and retract again"-Group is, that this just simply is part of the movement. Just like in a row.

On the other hand, the "keep it retracted"-Group suggests this, because they say it is easier on the joints and just overall safer. Some even go as far as to say that, if you are not able to keep your scapula retracted during the whole exercise you are lifting to heavy of a load.

  • Your question says "protract at the top of the movement", I would assume you mean once you've gone down, protract for the stretch and the retract again before going back up? Or do you literally mean protracting when you're at the top of the bar?
    – MJB
    Dec 5, 2018 at 7:43
  • @MJB I'm talking about Lat-Pulldowns, not Pull-Ups. So I mean protracting the scapula when the bar is at its highest point, retracting the scapula again and then pulling the bar towards my chest.
    – Suimon
    Dec 5, 2018 at 7:51
  • Ah yes, my bad for thinking about pull-ups rather than pull-downs :)
    – MJB
    Dec 5, 2018 at 9:15

1 Answer 1


Either is fine. Protracting at the top works just as well as keeping them depressed the entire time, so long as you remember to retract again when initiating the movement. Personally, I prefer to keep them depressed and retracted the entire time. It all comes down to personal preference.

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