Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredCable
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePull (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Biceps, Shoulders, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Lats Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Lat Pull Down Overview

The lat pull down is an exercise used to build the muscles of the back. While the exercise will primarily target the lats, you will also notice a fair amount of bicep and middle back activation.

The back is a muscle group that requires a fair amount of variation. So, experiment with several different angles and hand positions to maximize your back muscle growth.

The lat pull down can be performed during your back workouts, upper body workouts, pull workouts, and full body workouts.

Lat Pull Down Instructions

  1. Attach a wide grip handle to the lat pulldown machine and assume a seated position.
  2. Grasp the handle with a pronated grip (double overhand) and initiate the movement by depressing the shoulder blade and then flexing the elbow while extending the shoulder.
  3. Pull the handle towards your body until the elbows are in line with your torso and then slowly lower the handle back to the starting position under control.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Lat Pull Down Tips

  1. Keep some tone through your abdominals as you pull the bar into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through the spine.
  2. Don’t allow momentum to dictate the movement, control the dumbbells throughout the entirety of each rep.
  3. If you feel your biceps being overused and your back remaining under active, consider utilizing a false grip (i.e. don’t wrap the thumb around the dumbbell).
  4. Don’t allow the head to jut forward as you pull.
  5. Similarly, ensure the shoulder blade moves on the rib cage. Don’t lock the shoulder blade down and just move through the glenohumeral joint.
  6. Allow the shoulder to internally rotate and shrug slightly at the top of the movement. You will obviously reverse the movement and depress the shoulder blade before you pull with the arm.
Larry Pitts
Posted on: Thu, 06/13/2024 - 15:45

I would like to have the following
Lose fat
Healthily overall body build

Posted on: Fri, 03/22/2024 - 11:16

In the tips it says control the dumbbells, but there are no db’s in this exercise

Posted on: Sun, 04/02/2017 - 13:22

so your sitting at 90 degree angle and pulling the bar in-between your chin and upper chest, Is that Right?

Dave Rodriguez
Posted on: Tue, 11/08/2016 - 05:28

What an excellet, well put together program you've all created, Thank u! Just what i needed to step it up a major notch. #LETSGETIT

Posted on: Tue, 07/22/2014 - 21:26

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Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2014 - 19:20

For people who do not have access to a gym and cannot tolerate regular pullups or chin-ups, I would recommend working very hard on one arm db rows. Use this exercise in conjunction with two handed db rows with a wide overhanded grip. These exercises should mimic the effect of chins or pulldowns. Tip for both types of rows- go slowly and use less weight than you think you should. really feel the rows in your lats.

Posted on: Mon, 01/13/2014 - 20:39

What's a subsitute for this either than pullups?

Posted on: Mon, 09/09/2013 - 09:14

Very good information. Lucky me I came across your website by chance (stumbleupon). I've saved as a favorite for later!

Posted on: Thu, 01/24/2013 - 08:26

Sorry this may be a stupid question, but would love to get a response.

Do you increase weight after EVERY set? Or do you keep the same weights for 10 reps (1st set) & 10 (2nd set) and increase for 8 (3rd set)?? Please advise. Much appreciated in advance!

Posted on: Sun, 06/16/2013 - 06:41

depends on the objective - but basically, to complete the reps in a set, you might be on set 3, 6 rep of 8 ... cant do any more, so take a bit of weight off, to complete the next two reps. ie a drop-set.
Or, try 5 sets: set 1 has 8 reps at 50kgs; set 2 has 6 reps at 55kgs; set 3 has 4 reps at 60kgs ...
Don't try to increase weight every set AND maintain number of reps. DO maintain good form and control of the weight, the gains will come in time. Too many "weekend warriors" go too heavy, they look like dicks and injure themselves!

Posted on: Wed, 01/23/2013 - 09:18

A good sub is wide grip pull ups. Tough but effective. Really any wide grip pull down or lift up exercise.

Posted on: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 01:47

Is there any alternative workout for Lat Pull Down....

Posted on: Sat, 07/07/2012 - 22:47

I have a shoulder injury and this exercise hurts (even at mid to lower weights.) What can I replace this with?

Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2012 - 01:51

The video shows the guy leaning back. Is it the right posture or one should have his back at right angles to the thighs?

Posted on: Fri, 03/03/2017 - 17:57

Leaning back slightly is the right posture

Posted on: Tue, 05/01/2012 - 05:27

What would be a good workout to substitute for this? I work out at home and can't figure out a good way to do Lat pulldown

Posted on: Sun, 05/06/2012 - 13:07

Haven't tried it but if you have a bar to do pull ups off, run some rope over it and attach that to weights/a bag full of something heavy, then do pull downs on the other side. Just make sure you make some kind of handle so you don't get rope burn. Should work?

Posted on: Sun, 12/23/2012 - 22:39

Other workouts the really build lats are wide grip pull ups and close grip chin ups. Hits that target muscle. If you have the availability to do either or you will see a great improvement in your lats. For a more strenuous or challenging way of doing them try it with your legs lifted in front if you. Makes for a really good and tight burn on the muscle