LAT pulldown is one of the most classic and popular compound back exercises; it mainly targets training and strengthening the latissimus dorsi, thereby extending the width of the back and creating a sexy body with a broad back and a narrow waist. At the same time, it can also stimulate the trapezius, rhomboid, and biceps muscles of the back to a certain extent, which also has a particularly positive sign for the overall upper limb shape and strength improvement.

There are also two types of LAT pulldown: wide-grip and close-grip. Different exercise methods are very other. Many people may not know this very well before. What is the difference between it and the narrow grip so that everyone can choose the way that suits them in the future?


How To Do LAT Pulldown?

  1. Adjust the lat pulldown machine seat height so that when sitting your thighs are just under the pads and you're able to grip the bar with arms extended overhead.
  2. Grab the lat bar using an overhand, slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. You can use a closer parallel grip for increased biceps involvement.
  3. Sit up tall with your chest out, core braced, and maintain a slight arch in your lower back throughout the movement. Do not lean back excessively.
  4. Take a deep breath, engage your lats, and initiate the pull by depressing your shoulder blades together as you exhale.
  5. Lead by pulling your shoulders back and down as you bring the bar down towards the upper chest area in a straight line. Focus on squeezing your back at the bottom of the rep.
  6. Get a full stretch at the bottom by allowing your shoulders to come forward slightly, but don't bounce the weight.
  7. Exhale fully at the bottom, then inhale as you slowly allow the weight to rise back to the starting position with your arms extended.
  8. Do not use momentum by rocking back and forth. Control the weight through the full range of motion for each rep.
  9. Squeeze your lats forcefully and visualize pulling your elbows down towards your hips at the end of each rep.

Keys to proper lat pulldown form include maintaining an upright torso, using your back to initiate the pulling motion, getting full stretch and contraction, and avoiding excessive body english. Set up properly and control the weight for maximum back engagement.

LAT Pulldown Muscles Worked

1.Arm muscles

The arm strength required is tremendous, which can effectively exercise the arm muscles, especially our biceps can be significantly exercised. Our arms need to continuously exert force to pull the high position down to our abdominal part in the exercise process. After persevering for a long time, we can find that our arm strength has also increased a lot.

2.Latissimus dorsi

The exercise of the latissimus dorsi is mainly because our back is stretched forward to pull down the high position. Because our arms are tightened ahead, it has a stretching effect on the back muscles. In this way, our back can be stimulated, effectively exercising the latissimus dorsi.

3.Chest muscles

The effect of exercising the chest muscles is relatively not so noticeable, but if you persist for a long time, you can also find that your chest muscles become firmer. This is mainly because our chest is inward when we tighten the rope to the body—clamped to achieve the effect of exercising the chest muscles.

Close Grip Vs. Wide Grip LAT Pulldown

Difference 1: The armed force is different

The difference between the high-position pulldown wide grip and the narrow grip is that the distance between them is different, which will lead to other arm strength points. If it is a wide grip, it can better exercise the shoulders and back because the vital point is Mainly on the arms. Still, the back of the shoulders, including the trapezius muscles of the back, are exerting force, and if the grip is narrow, it is more dependent on the arm, and the shoulder and back will be less exerted. Therefore, the narrow grip can exercise the upper arm muscles better than the wide grip. The body's fullness and stimulation to that part are also more robust.

Difference 2: Exercise parts are different

The high pulldown wide-grip and narrow-grip, in addition to the different arm strength, the exercised parts are also other, if it is a wide grip, in addition to exercising the back muscles, you can also exercise the pectoral muscles, because the pectoral muscles need to exert force and participate in sports During the process, if it is a narrow grip, the chest will have less space to exert influence. The pulling force mainly acts on the back muscles, which will put more pressure and stimulation on the back. Therefore, the narrow grip high pulldown is more effective for the back muscles than the wide grip. The exercise effect is better.

Difference 3: The purpose of training is different

Both the high-position pulldown wide-grip and narrow-grip can train the back muscles, but choosing one depends on the purpose of individual training. If you want to increase the width of your back, you should choose a wide grip, and if you're going to increase the thickness of your back muscles, you should select a narrow grip.

Close Grip LAT Pulldown: Technique, Muscles Worked, Benefits, Alternatives,Precautions

How to Do a Close Grip LAT Pulldown

  1. Inhale, contract the latissimus dorsi, pull down the horizontal bar vertically from the top of the head to the chest, tighten the scapula and tighten the latissimus dorsi muscle; pause for 2-3 seconds for peak contraction.

  1. Exhale, controlled reduction! Stretch the lats along the same path until the lats are fully stretched.

Close Grip LAT Pulldown Muscles Worked

Back muscles

Close grip LAT pulldowns are similar to normal ones, and they all exercise the back muscles. Specifically, it works the latissimus dorsi, the middle and lower parts of the trapezius, and the rhomboids beneath the trapezius. However, unlike the standard and wide pulldown, the narrow pulldown mainly increases the thickness of the latissimus dorsi, while the other is to expand the width of the latissimus dorsi. 

Upper arm muscles

The upper arm muscles can also be trained in the close grip LAT pulldown, which is not much different from the regular LAT pulldown. Mainly the biceps, brachialis, but also the triceps. However, the premise of a little distance means that the force must be concentrated into a smaller range, so the stimulation of the biceps will be more profound, which will help increase its circumference, vast distance and regular The high pulldown does not have this effect.

Pectoralis major

Close grip LAT pulldown can also exercise the pectoralis major. Its exercise effect is the best in the high pulldown. Mainly it will exercise the middle part of the pectoralis major, which helps shape and cultivate the chest line, not just Expanding the width and thickness of the pectoral muscles, and often do close grip LAT pulldown, which can make the chest shape better and firmer.

Benefits Of Close Grip LAT Pulldown

  1. Greater Lat Isolation With a closer hand position, the emphasis shifts more directly onto the lats having to initiate and drive the pulling motion. There is less involvement from the biceps and other assistor muscles.
  2. Increased Lat Stretch A parallel grip allows your arms to travel slightly more inwards towards your body at the bottom of the rep, creating an extreme stretched position for the lats.
  3. Targets Lat Sweep The isolation and stretch really pounds the lats from a different angle compared to a wider grip. This can help build that coveted wide "lat sweep" look.
  4. Shifts Stress From Biceps Because the biceps are less involved with this grip, you avoid excessive biceps fatigue and can focus more intently on lat activation through high reps/volume.
  5. Options for Dropsets The closer grip makes it easier to descend into dropsets at the end of your sets by simply bringing your hands together for increased intensity.
  6. Variety for Progression Incorporating the close grip as part of an overall lat routine provides a new stimulus to prevent plateaus and continually shock the lats into growth.

    Precautions Of Close Grip LAT Pulldown

    1. Pay attention to pulling the weight with the force of the lats, not the arms

    1. When pulling down, the shoulder muscles should be relaxed. Do not shrug when the movement is restored, which will affect the force of the latissimus dorsi. The body should not swing back and forth, and the body should always remain perpendicular to the ground.

    1. Pay attention to the reasonable control of the movement rhythm. When the movement is restored, the latissimus dorsi controls the campaign to restore, not fix it in a completely relaxed state.

    1. To stimulate the lower lats more, keep your chest up and your back slightly arched. When pulling the bar down, pull it toward your lower compartment for a better squeeze.

    Wide Grip LAT Pulldown: Technique, Muscles Worked, Benefits, Precautions

    How to Do a Wide Grip LAT Pulldown

    1. As you exhale, pull your shoulders and upper arms back and down, pulling the handle down until it touches your upper chest.
    2. Pause for a second in the tucked position, contract the shoulder blades, and slowly return the handle to the starting position with the arms straight and the lats fully extended. Inhale during this part of the movement.

    Wide Grip LAT Pulldown Muscles Worked

    Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)

    As the name suggests, the lats are still the prime mover and target with a wide grip. However, the wider hand position shifts the emphasis to the upper portion of the lats near the armpits.

    Biceps Brachii

    The biceps become much more involved as a synergist muscle when using a wider overhand grip on the lat pulldown. This is especially true on the eccentric (lowering) portion.

    Rear Delts

    Pulling with a wide overhand grip engages the rear deltoids to a greater degree to assist in the pulling motion and stabilize the shoulder joint.


    The rhomboids between your shoulder blades contract isometrically to keep your shoulders pulled back and depressed throughout the movement.


    Gripping the bar firmly with a wide overhand grip requires significant isometric forearm strength, especially as you fatigue.

    While still an excellent overall back builder, the wider grip does bring in more assistance from the biceps and deltoids compared to a closer parallel grip lat pulldown variation. This can be useful for adding variety to lat training to prevent plateaus.

    Benefits Of Wide Grip LAT Pulldown

    1. Increased Lat Width The wider hand position places more emphasis on the outer lats, which can help build an impressive lat "wing" and increase overall back width.
    2. Bigger Stretch Pulling wider allows your arms to travel further out to the sides, creating a massive stretch in the lats through a greater range of motion.
    3. Hits Upper Lats With the arms flared out wider, there is more isolation and overload on the upper regions of the latissimus dorsi near the armpits.
    4. Improved Biceps Engagement The wider overhand grip recruits more assistance from the biceps as synergist muscles, allowing you to train lats and biceps simultaneously.
    5. Variety for Progression Alternating between close, parallel, and wide grips provides a built-in progressive overload strategy to continually shock the lats.
    6. Better Strength Potential The wider grip typically allows you to handle heavier loading compared to a narrower grip position.

    The drawbacks are that the wide grip can place more stress on the shoulder joints if you lack mobility. And improper form like arm swinging becomes easier with a wider hand position.

    But overall, incorporating wide grip lat pulldowns is an excellent way to attack the lats from a new angle and maximize the width of your back development.

    Precautions Of Wide Grip LAT Pulldown

    1. Hold the training handle with both hands, divided into positive grip, reverse grip, and opposite grip. Although they are all back training, the positive grip focuses more on a few muscle groups in the upper back. The reverse grip can maximize the overall stimulation of the latissimus dorsi.

    1. Be careful not to pull down the back of your neck. Otherwise, you will quickly hurt your shoulders.

    7 LAT Pulldown Alternatives

    Here are several exercises that can target similar muscles, mainly focusing on the latissimus dorsi, biceps, and upper back.

    1. Pull-Ups

    • Equipment: Pull-up bar
    • How to: Grip the bar with hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing towards you (for a close grip). Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar, then lower yourself back down with control.

    2. Chin-Ups

    • Equipment: Pull-up bar
    • How to: Similar to pull-ups, but with your palms facing you and a closer grip. This targets the biceps more intensely along with the lats.

    3. Seated Cable Row

    • Equipment: Cable machine with a V-bar attachment
    • How to: Sit on the machine with your feet on the platform, knees slightly bent. Grab the V-bar with a neutral grip and pull it towards your torso, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Return to the starting position with control.

    4. Bent Over Rows

    • Equipment: Barbell or dumbbells
    • How to: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, bend at the hips and knees, keeping your back straight. Hold the barbell or dumbbells with a close grip and pull them towards your lower ribcage, squeezing your shoulder blades together.

    5. T-Bar Rows

    • Equipment: T-bar row machine or landmine attachment
    • How to: Stand over the bar and grab the handles with a neutral grip. Pull the bar towards your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body, then lower it back down with control.

    6. One-Arm Dumbbell Row

    • Equipment: Dumbbell, weight bench
    • How to: Place one knee and hand on the bench for support, with your back parallel to the ground. Hold a dumbbell in the other hand and pull it towards your hip, squeezing your shoulder blade at the top.

      7.Inverted Rows

      • Equipment: Smith machine or barbell set at a height
      • How to: Lie under the bar and grip it with hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping your body straight, pull your chest towards the bar, then lower yourself back down.

      Close Grip Vs. Wide Grip LAT Pulldown: Which Is Better?

      Close Grip LAT Pulldown:

      • Maximizes lat isolation and peak contraction
      • Creates an intense stretch for the lats
      • Reduces biceps involvement and fatigue
      • Allows an easier transition to drop sets

      👉Opt for this variation if your main goal is to really focus in on direct lat development and feel the exercise brutally in your back alone or elbow issues that the wide grip aggravates.

      Wide Grip LAT Pulldown:

      • Emphasizes lat width and "wings"
      • Incorporates more biceps engagement
      • Permits using heavier loading
      • Increases range of motion and stretch

      👉Choose this option if you want more overall upper body involvement, want to bias outer lats for width, or need a change of stimulus.However, be cautious if you have shoulder mobility issues.

      The ideal approach is to rotate between different grip positions over your training cycles. This provides built-in progressive overload and attacks the lats from multiple angles:

      • Close grip for peak contraction phases
      • Shoulder-width for a power/strength emphasis
      • Wide grip to promote maximum stretch overload

      Alternating grips, weights, rep ranges, and even grip positions prevents accommodation and ensures your lats don't stagnate.

      So rather than choosing one grip as universally superior, make both close and wide variations a part of your comprehensive back attack!

      Incorporating Close Grip and Wide Grip LAT Pulldown

      For a well-rounded lat development routine, it's beneficial to incorporate both close grip and wide grip variations. Here's a sample weekly workout plan:

      Day 1: Close Grip LAT Pulldown

      • Warm up with light weights.
      • Perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions with moderate weight.
      • Focus on squeezing your lower lats with each pull.

      Day 2: Wide Grip LAT Pulldown

      • Warm up with light weights.
      • Perform 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions with heavier weights.
      • Concentrate on engaging your upper lats and upper body muscles.

      Day 3: Rest or engage in other exercises

      Day 4: Close Grip LAT Pulldown

      • Warm up with light weights.
      • Perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions with moderate weight.
      • Concentrate on a controlled motion for better muscle engagement.

      Day 5: Wide Grip LAT Pulldown

      • Warm up with light weights.
      • Perform 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions with heavier weights.
      • Maintain good form and posture throughout.

      Day 6: Rest or engage in other exercises

      Day 7: Rest and recover

      This plan provides an excellent balance between close grip and wide grip lat pulldowns, ensuring that you target all aspects of your back for comprehensive development.

      Other Grips:Neutral Grip and Underhand Grip 

      Neutral Grip LAT Pulldown

      The Neutral Grip Lat Pulldown is an effective exercise variation targeting the back muscles, particularly the latissimus dorsi, while also engaging the biceps and forearms. This grip involves holding parallel handles with your palms facing each other, which is gentler on the shoulder joints compared to other grips.

      Key Benefits:

      • Balanced Muscle Engagement: Distributes load evenly across the lats, biceps, and forearms.
      • Reduced Shoulder Strain: Ideal for individuals with shoulder issues, offering a safer alternative.
      • Versatile Exercise: Suitable for a wide range of fitness levels, from beginners to advanced lifters.

      Execution Tips:

      • Grip: Use parallel handles with palms facing each other.
      • Form: Sit down with knees secured under the pad, keep your back straight, and lean slightly back.
      • Movement: Pull the handles down towards your chest while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
      • Control: Slowly return to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement.

      Underhand Grip LAT Pulldown

      The Underhand Grip Lat Pulldown, also known as the reverse grip lat pulldown, is a popular exercise for targeting the back muscles, especially the lower lats, while also providing significant engagement to the biceps and forearms. This variation involves holding the bar with your palms facing you (supinated grip).

      Key Benefits:

      • Lower Lat Emphasis: Places greater focus on the lower part of the latissimus dorsi.
      • Bicep Engagement: Involves the biceps more than other grip variations, making it a great compound movement.
      • Versatility: Offers a different pulling angle, providing variety to your back workout routine.

      Execution Tips:

      • Grip: Hold the bar with an underhand (supinated) grip, shoulder-width apart.
      • Form: Sit down with your knees secured under the pad, keep your back straight, and your chest up.
      • Movement: Pull the bar down towards your upper chest, keeping your elbows close to your body.
      • Control: Slowly return the bar to the starting position, maintaining control to avoid using momentum.


      There is no one-size-fits-all answer in the close-grip vs. wide-grip pull-up debate. Choosing between the two variations depends on your fitness goals and physical considerations. Incorporating both variations into your workout will work your back and upper body muscles in a balanced way, helping you achieve a strong, chiseled physique. Of course, you can also choose other grips, such as Neutral Grip and Underhand Grip. Remember to always prioritize proper form and gradually increase the weight to maximize the results of your pull-up exercises.

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