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Back Workout: Build Your Lats With These 7 Lat Pulldown Variations

Here is an in-depth guide to 7 of the best lat pulldown exercises for building strong, sculpted back muscles that target the lats and increase strength.

Sandra Adams
Back Workout: Build Your Lats With These 7 Lat Pulldown Variations
Table Of Contents

Working out your back is an essential part of any workout routine. It helps create a balanced and symmetrical physique while helping make all other movements easier and more efficient. A great way to strengthen your lats is with the Lat Pulldown.

Lat pulldowns are excellent for building an impressive back. Different exercise variations can be combined to ensure optimal muscle development and add variety to your routine. As you work out, depending on your individual needs, alternate between these 7 Lat Pulldown variations from beginner to advanced level exercises.

Each variation will target the Latissimus Dorsi or the lats differently and help you maximize results from this amazing exercise. So don't pass up Lat Pulldowns as part of your regular strength training routine - give them a try now!

How to Perform Lat Pulldown

Lat pulldowns are a good way to work out your lats and arm flexors. By holding the bar slightly wider than shoulder width, you get a good range of motion and increased muscle activation in all the working muscle groups.

One common way to change this exercise is to grip the bar with your underhand or supinated grip. This lets you focus more on your arm flexors.

Another common change is to hold the bar with one hand and train one side at a time. This lets you focus more on the muscles on each side in turn.

  • Get a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip on the bar, with your palms facing away.
  • Put your thighs under the leg support, keep your chest up, and look up at the bar.
  • Take a deep breath and pull the bar toward you.
  • Pull the bar down until it's below your chin and at your upper chest.
  • Exhale, and slowly bring the bar back until your arms are fully extended.

Benefits of Lat Pulldown for Building Your Lats

The lat pulldown is a great way to develop your lats and give you that V-shape look. It targets the muscles on the outer side of your back and helps strengthen them. The exercise works several other muscles, including the biceps, forearms, traps, rhomboids, and more. Plus, it's easy to adjust to fit any body size or ability level.

If you're looking for a way to build up your lats quickly, then lat pulldowns are an excellent option. Remember that proper form is key when performing this exercise; if done incorrectly, it can cause injury. Make sure you practice with lighter weights until you get used to the movement and can do it using the correct form.

When performing lat pulldowns, keep your back straight and focus on using the lats to lift the weight. You should feel a pulling sensation throughout your back while doing this exercise. Once you get comfortable with the motion and build up some strength, you can increase your weight.

You can also make lat pulldowns more challenging by adding different lat pulldown grip variations. To switch up your routine, try using a wide or narrow grip and even incorporate pauses into the motion. Pausing at the top of the movement increases time under tension and helps engage your lats further.

Lat pulldowns are great if you're short on time; they don't require a lot of equipment and can usually be done in 10-15 minutes. This makes them ideal for those days when you don't have much time but still want to get in some strength training.

Overall, lat pulldowns are an effective way to quickly develop strong lats that will help give you a V-shaped physique. Practice proper form and start with light weights before increasing your load for maximum results!

Best Lat Pulldown Variations to Try Now

If you're looking for an extra challenge or some variety in your workout routine, there are plenty of lat pulldown variations that you can try. From using different grips to using resistance bands instead of weights, here are some of the best lat pulldown variations to try now:

1. Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

This variation helps target the back more specifically by widening your grip on the bar. The wider grip emphasizes your lats while still working out other parts of your upper body, like shoulders and biceps. It also increases the range of motion, giving you more challenge.

  • To do this exercise, sit on a pulldown machine with your feet flat on the floor and your torso upright.
  • Position your hands wider than shoulder-width apart and grab hold of the bar. Make sure you hold the bar on the smooth part, not the knurled portion (the textured area).
  • Take a deep breath in, contract your back muscles and pull the bar down towards your chest in an arc motion. Keep your elbows pointed out to the sides at the same time.
  • Continue pulling until the bar is below your chin and slightly tickle it. Avoid touching it directly to ensure you don’t strain any neck or shoulder muscles.
  • Hold for one second before slowly returning to your starting position in an arc motion, making sure that you keep control of the weight as you do so.
  • Release from the bar once it is close to its initial start position, and remember to breathe out as you bring it up.

2. Close Grip Pulldown

If you want to focus on your lats even more, then the close-grip lat pulldown is for you! This variation has a narrower grip on the bar and develops your biceps and lats. It's best to make this move with lighter weights to maintain proper form and get the most out of it.

  • Sit down at a pulldown machine and grasp the bar with a narrow grip (about shoulder width) and your palms facing inward.
  • While keeping your chest up, back straight, and core engaged, pull the bar down towards your upper chest while exhaling.
  • Make sure to keep your elbows close to your body throughout the exercise, and avoid swinging or using momentum to lift the weight.
  • Once you feel a contraction in your lats – the muscles responsible for pulling down – hold for one second before slowly returning to the starting position and inhaling.

3. Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown

This variation of the classic lat pulldown is great for targeting your lats and improving your grip strength.

  • To perform it, simply grab the bar with an underhand, shoulder-width grip, then pull it down towards your torso in a slow and controlled manner.
  • Keep your elbows close to your sides as you pull down—this will help activate more muscles in your back. You can also add a pause at the bottom of each rep to work those muscles.
  • Once you're done with that set, repeat on the other side for an even workout.
  • For an extra challenge, try doing reverse grip lat pulldowns using one arm at a time! This variation is great for developing unilateral (one-sided) strength.

4. Neutral Grip Lat Pulldown

The neutral grip lat pulldown is an excellent variation in your back and biceps routine because it helps hit the lats from a slightly different angle.

  • To perform the exercise, set up a cable machine with neutral grip handles.
  • Place your hands on the handles, so they are evenly spaced apart and facing each other (palms facing inward in a neutral position).
  • Take hold of the bar, sit on the seat and press your legs against the pad for support.
  • Pull down on the handles til you reach the top of the chest before releasing it slowly back up to its starting position.
  • Focus on squeezing your lats at the bottom of each repetition for maximum results.
  • This variation is perfect for targeting the lower lats and is great for people who have trouble feeling traditional pulldowns in that area.

5. Kneeling Lat Pulldown

The kneeling lat pulldown is a great exercise for individuals just starting with strength training. This variation of the traditional lat pulldown works your back muscles while putting less strain on your lower back, making it an ideal exercise to start with.

  • To do this move, kneel in front of a cable machine or resistance band and hold onto the handle with both hands.
  • Taking care to keep your core engaged and chest up pulls the handle down towards your chest as you exhale.
  • When you reach the bottom of the movement, pause for a second before slowly returning to the starting position as you inhale.
  • Not only will this exercise help you build stronger lats and biceps, but it will also help develop the muscles in your back, shoulders, and core.

6. Single Arm Lat Pulldown

The single-arm lat pulldown is a fantastic exercise to target specific muscles on one side of your body. It's great for those with one side stronger than the other, and it helps balance the strength in both arms.

  • Attach a single handle to a lat pulldown cable machine to do this variation.
  • Grasp the handle with one hand, keeping your chest and back straight.
  • Push your elbow toward your thigh while simultaneously pulling the handle with your hand down toward you until it reaches just below chin level.
  • Pause for a moment before slowly releasing back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat this motion on each side for 10-15 reps per set. Be sure to keep proper form throughout all reps!

7. Straight Arm Lat Pulldown

Using Cable Machine Attachments, this exercise emphasizes the lats and smaller muscles at the back of your shoulder and triceps.

  • To do it, you'll start by standing at a lat pulldown machine with a straight bar attached.
  • Keep your torso stationary throughout the exercise and grip the bar with both hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Then, using only your arms and shoulders, slowly pull the bar to your hips before returning it to the starting position.
  • For an added challenge, you can add weights onto the cable for more resistance.

These are just some of the best lat pulldown variations you can try now! Each one targets different muscle groups and provides an extra challenge for those looking to mix up their workout routine. So if you're ready to take your back muscles to the next level, start experimenting with these variations today!


The lat pulldown is excellent for targeting your lats and building upper back strength. There are many variations of the lat pulldown that you can try to keep exciting and target your muscles differently. Remember to keep your shoulders and back, pull the bar down to your chest, and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the bottom of the rep.

You can mix up your grip (wide, close, reverse, or neutral) to target different areas of your lats or add some weight for extra resistance by holding a dumbbell in each hand. As you become stronger, try moving on to more advanced variations like the single-arm lat pulldown or straight-arm pulldown. With so many options available, there's no excuse not to include this essential exercise in your workout routine!

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Sandra Adams

Sandra is a versatile and patient personal trainer with over five years of experience tailoring goals to client needs and guiding them with the best workout routines.

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