Health and fitness has become like may other things in life. People strive to find out how to get the most results out of the smallest amount of effort. In a way, fitness equipment follows this approach. Many of the pieces of equipment in a gym are just alternatives to more difficult and in a sense “ancient” movements. You see chest press machines, bicep curl machines, tricep dip machines, and so on.
Other machines have taken over when it comes to some pretty awesome and more difficult movements. The focus has become that of isolation, so other positive attributes are lost.
Once machine that is used all too often for back development is the lat pulldown. A great machine indeed, but it has birthed a neglect to a classic and very effective movement in the pull-up.
Many people debate on which is better. The isolation and user friendliness of the lat pulldown or the upper body butt kicking the pull-up provides?
The isolation focus and user friendliness of the lat pulldown is nice. It does help out with putting a lot of focus and emphasis on the big back muscles and also offers a lot more variation in use if one switches up the handles and even the grip. Also, anyone can do it. The downside however is anytime a movement or machine leads to the neglect of another movement.
The pull-up is all full body and strength. Not everyone can do a single pull-up, but many folks do not even try anymore. They just simply resort to the machines available. An attempt of a single pull up could do more for some people than a set of 10 lat pull downs. Pull-ups engage the core as well, so anyone who is lacking in core strength will surely struggle as well with a pull-up. Pull-ups engage the biceps, especially underhand ones, which also target the rear delts.
As noted, in health and fitness, there is people who just do not want to work, or they look for the path with least resistance. This is not always the worst thing, because some people are physically unable to perform certain movements. But there is a machine that is yet to be developed that makes the work easier, while still being superior to the movement it is supposed to mimic. It all falls back to how much of the body is being engaged in the movement and core usage.
Movements are harder than others for a reason. Maybe it is because they are simply better.