The 12 Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives for Back Size

There aren’t many muscle-building or strength-focused coaching methods that pass over  the standard lat pulldown. Many efficient workout routines come with this vintage, and for excellent explanation why. Pulling in a vertical development strengthens your again, shoulders, and palms, whilst additionally constructing the muscle tissue that enhance and stabilize your shoulder blades. This maintains wholesome joint serve as which, in flip, assists in keeping your…
The publish The 12 Highest Lat Pulldown Choices for Again Measurement seemed first on Breaking Muscle.

There aren’t many muscle-building or strength-focused coaching methods that pass over  the standard lat pulldown. Many efficient workout routines come with this vintage, and for excellent explanation why.

Pulling in a vertical development strengthens your again, shoulders, and palms, whilst additionally constructing the muscle tissue that enhance and stabilize your shoulder blades. This maintains wholesome joint serve as which, in flip, assists in keeping your whole higher physique sturdy. 

person in blue shirt performing pulldown back exercise
Credit score: Tom Wang / Shutterstock

On the other hand, the lat pulldown isn’t sufficient to construct thickness in your whole again and it’s no longer the one strategy to stay the whole thing sturdy, wholesome, and balanced.  Ultimately, you want to make some changes. Over-focusing on vintage directly bar lat pulldowns with none trade in angles, grip, or methodology gained’t be sufficient to for whole construction.

If which muscle tissue and attributes you’re taking a look to deal with, you’ll correctly select the appropriate workouts for higher effects. Listed below are 12 of the most efficient choices to construct a larger, more potent, extra whole again. 

Highest Lat Pulldown Choices

In the back of-the-Neck Pulldown

“Scapular keep an eye on is as cool as a in reality extensive again,” stated no one ever. Possibly you don’t do same old pulldowns to focus on the muscle tissue that keep an eye on your shoulder blades, however the fundamental motion does educate muscle tissue that keep an eye on and rotate them. Pulling the bar at the back of your neck creates an much more environment friendly trail.  

Why Use the In the back of-the-Neck Pulldown

By way of fairly changing the mechanics and trail of this vertical pull, you educate the supporting muscle tissue of the shoulders and shoulder blades thru a extra whole vary of movement. In case you have appropriate shoulder mobility and will carry out the movement with out ache, pulling at the back of your head lets you goal the muscle tissue that rotate and decrease the shoulder blades. 

The kicker here’s that once your shoulders and scapulae (shoulder blades) are well-positioned, with the behind-neck motion, your physique can create upper ranges of power and broaden extra noticeable upper-back muscle.

Easy methods to Do the In the back of-the-Neck Pulldown

Arrange on a lat pulldown gadget as you generally would. Use a protracted bar attachment and seize it with an overhand grip past shoulder-width. Take a seat together with your palms directly overhead and shoulders “shrugged” up. Stay your brow, chin, and sternum in line as you lean fairly ahead. Let your palms be pulled fairly again, in keeping with your hips. Stay your physique ahead as you pull the care for down. Preferably, intention to the touch the bar to the bottom of your traps, close to your neck, however pull to a comfy intensity according to your total mobility.

Take into consideration looking to shrug your shoulders “down” as you bend your palms and pressure your elbows down. Within the backside role, squeeze your shoulder blades down ahead of straightening your palms and controlling the burden up. Let your shoulders upward thrust because the cable pulls you right into a managed overhead lat stretch. Get started with gentle weight and a complete vary of movement, and building up slowly with out sacrificing shape. 

Rhomboid Pulldown

This motion would possibly really feel slightly funky to start with, but it surely’s a easy and efficient strategy to shift center of attention out of your giant lat muscle tissue to the smaller muscle tissue of your higher and mid-back. To do those, you’ll use shut or neutral-grip attachment and an excessively explicit physique attitude. 

Why Do the Rhomboid Pulldown

The rhomboids are deep muscle tissue between the shoulder blades that pull your higher again in combination. If those supportive muscle tissue don’t serve as effectively, there’s a superb opportunity you’ll ultimately take care of some shoulder disorder, ache, or damage. The rhomboid pulldown objectives those muscle tissue whilst additionally constructing muscle within the middle of your mid-back, which for plenty of, is missing thickness and construction.  

Easy methods to Do the Rhomboid Pulldown

Seize the a close-grip attachment together with your fingers dealing with each and every different. Lock your legs underneath the pads, however lean your torso again to create a kind of 45-degree attitude between your higher physique and the ground. Pull your arms on your sternum and make allowance your elbows to flare out at a 90-degree attitude on your shoulders. Stay your trunk braced and strong as all through the workout.

Within the backside role, recall to mind pulling your shoulder blades in combination and your shoulders all the way down to the bottom. Keep watch over the burden at the means up, however stay your torso angled backward for all of the set.

Stiff-Arm Pulldown

This single-joint (isolation) workout is arguably higher at constructing lat thickness than conventional pulldowns for the reason that paintings it executed solely through the lats with minimum the help of the shoulders and palms.

Why Do the Stiff-Arm Pulldown

The stiff-arm pulldown, sometimes called a straight-arm pushdown, is superb at constructing lat dimension and basic mobility for the reason that muscle has to triumph over resistance thru a protracted vary of motion. You wish to have to keep an eye on the resistance thru a protracted arc that places your lats in an important stretch towards the highest. This is without doubt one of the few workouts that in fact strengthens shoulder extension (elevating the arm) in conjunction with coaching your shoulder blades to slip downward right into a strong role.  

Easy methods to Do the Stiff-Arm Pulldown

Connect a directly bar or rope to a cable close to the highest of your head. Stand tall, seize the bar or rope together with your elbows fairly bent and your fingers dealing with down (on a bar) or dealing with each and every different (with a rope). Deal with a bent-arm role as you “sweep” the attachment towards the highest of your legs.

On the backside, believe pulling your shoulders at the back of your torso ahead of you let the burden pull your palms again up. Keep watch over the burden and let your palms come the entire means up for an lively stretch on the most sensible. 

Mendacity Cable Pullover

Dumbbell or kettlebell pullovers are every now and then used as a substitute for pulldowns or, extra in particular, a substitute for stiff-arm pulldowns, however anticipating other people to do the ones loose weight workouts gentle sufficient to restrict the contribution of the chest, palms, and shoulders is like asking them no longer to take a look at themselves within the reflect after a excellent arm pump. Mendacity cable pullovers are a more practical strategy to emphasize the contraction of the lats and different again muscle tissue with quite gentle weight and excessive rigidity.

Why Do the Mendacity Cable Pullover

This workout provides you with the entire identical advantages of stiff arm pulldowns — greater lat recruitment with restricted further muscle tissue — whilst additionally expanding the period that the muscle held underneath rigidity. And the longer the muscle is contracting underneath rigidity the extra muscle and power will also be constructed. (1)

Easy methods to Do the Mendacity Cable Pullover

Lie on a flat bench with a cable set fairly above head-level. Use a rope attachment to permit for extra vary of movement. Seize the rope together with your arms dealing with each and every different. Deal with a slight bend to your elbows and pull the rope towards your legs whilst retaining your decrease again flat towards the bench.

Stay your arms dealing with one some other and check out to the touch your pinky palms to the ground. Within the backside role, squeeze your shoulders in combination and recall to mind pushing your triceps during the flooring ahead of controlling the resistance the entire long ago. Let the resistance pull your palms way back to you’ll tolerate, above and at the back of your head.

Crossed Band Pulldown 

This motion is very best for the use of resistance bands fairly than a cable gadget for the reason that rigidity of the bands combines with the lengthy vary of movement to focus on the smaller muscle tissue of the again. The crossed band pulldown will also be referred to as a “banded rhomboid pulldown” as a result of it really works the ones smaller higher again muscle tissue very similar to a rhomboid pulldown.

Why Do the Crossed Band Pulldown

By way of pulling the bands in a cross-body movement, you might be coaching the muscle tissue that transfer and enhance the scapulae with a specialised effort you wouldn’t be ready paintings with cables. Those supportive muscle tissue no longer solely stay your shoulders functioning correctly, however they give you the balance had to construct high-level urgent and pulling power, they usually give a contribution to distinctive thickness of the again musculature.

The resistance bands lets in for extra rigidity on the finish vary (top contraction), which is the place most of the people want to construct extra scapular keep an eye on. As you pull the band, it turns into more difficult and the muscle tissue need to create extra rigidity, in comparison to stable resistance with cable pulleys. 

Easy methods to Do the Crossed Band Pulldown

Anchor two resistance bands to the highest of a squat rack, pull-up bar, or different excessive and strong construction. Area the bands to be simply outdoor the width of your shoulders. Seize the left band together with your proper hand and vice versa, and take a seat at the flooring between them.

Stay a impartial backbone, no longer arched or rounded, and pull the bands around the entrance of your physique. Attempt to pressure your elbows towards the ground at the back of you. Grasp and squeeze the contacted role for one 2nd ahead of controlling the bands right into a stretched role with directly palms. 

Supinated-Grip Pulldown

To stay your shoulders wholesome and your higher again power balanced, you want to do vertical pulls together with your fingers each dealing with away (pronated grip) and dealing with towards you (supinated grip). The supinated-grip pulldown, or “chin-down” (versus a bodyweight chin-up), is a brilliant solution to construct this supinated-position power whether or not you’ll do chin-ups or no longer. 

Why Do the Supinated-Grip Pulldown

This hand role doesn’t magically make it a biceps-only workout. This grip variation trains the connections between the biceps, delts, and upper-back muscle tissue in a different way from a pull-up or pulldown. (2) It additionally builds extra balanced higher again balance and extra shoulder mobility.

Easy methods to Do the Supinated-Grip Pulldown

Use a directly bar attachment and arrange simply as you possibly can for the standard pulldown. Seize the bar with fingers dealing with you and arms positioned proper at or slightly wider than shoulder width aside.

Pull the attachment down through riding your elbows to the bottom and check out to the touch it proper beneath your collarbone. Squeeze the elbows down ahead of controlling the cable again up. 

Weighted Pull-Up

Maximum don’t suppose that pulling exercises that concentrate on the higher again must ever in reality be loaded heavy, however that line of considering is a large mistake.

For those who’re taking a look to construct your again as giant as you’ll, you want to mix high-rep units with heavy weights. The weighted pull-up is a particularly efficient, if fairly complex, strategy to get the task executed.  

Why Do the Weighted Pull-Up

Pull-ups are normally executed to construct muscle dimension the use of solely your physique weight for as many reps as imaginable. However they may be able to and must every now and then be loaded as heavy as imaginable and carried out in rep levels as little as 3 to 5 in keeping with set. This will likely reveal you to new varieties of muscular pressure that results in muscle growth

Easy methods to Do the Weighted Pull-Up

Take an overhand grip together with your palms at, or just a bit wider than, shoulder-width. Pull from a straight-arm dangle on your chin or neck attaining bar-level. Heat-up with bodyweight-only units after which upload a weight the use of both a dip belt or a weighted vest. Get started with a weight that you’ll do a minimum of 5 reps with.

Carry out more than one units of 3 to 5 reps, including just a bit weight after each and every set. Whilst you succeed in an excessively difficult weight and really feel like you’ll solely grind two or 3 reps, keep on with this weight and check out to do two to 4 extra units.

Mechanical Drop-Set Pull-Up

It’s necessary to do vertical pulling workouts with numerous hand positions – overhand, underhand, and neutral-grip. Each and every grip is robotically other with regards to issue and muscle recruitment, and this will also be exploited to do extra high quality quantity, which leads to larger power and muscle expansion. (3)

Why Do the Mechanical Drop Set Pull-Up

A pronated (fingers away) hand role is maximum difficult and prioritizes the lat muscle and higher again. A supinated (fingers towards you) hand role is fairly more uncomplicated and emphasizes the biceps and shoulders, and a impartial role (fingers dealing with each and every different) gives the best leverage and is least difficult, recruiting the brachialis and shoulders. (4)

A “mechanical drop set” is a specialised methodology that lets you do as many reps as you’ll with probably the most tough hand role. This reasons the emphasised muscle tissue to paintings toughest. Then you proceed so as to add extra rigidity to the similar muscle teams with a supinated grip, and in any case the use of neutral-grip hand role. In whole, you’ll be able to do extra quantity than it’s essential to generally reach the use of completely anyone grip.

Easy methods to Do the Mechanical Drop Set Pull-Up

Take a shoulder-width overhand grip on a pull-up bar and raise your self from a straight-arm dangle on your chin close to bar-level. As you succeed in muscular fatigue, let pass and reset your grip to take a shoulder-width underhand grip. Proceed acting further repetitions till you succeed in fatigue once more. Let pass and in any case take a impartial (fingers dealing with) grip. Proceed the final segment of the set with extra reps.

One efficient means with this technique is to pick out a pre-determined rep rely for each and every hand role. As an example, if you’ll do 5 same old (overhand) pull-ups, chances are you’ll select to do two or 3 reps of each and every grip. This will increase your pull-up quantity considerably as a result of you find yourself doing a complete of six to 9 repetitions as a substitute of solely 5.

Inverted Row

The inverted row is ceaselessly executed together with your physique parallel to the ground, together with your toes increased to make it a real horizontal rowing movement. Whilst it is a nice variation to construct all of the mid-back and lats, doing those at a 45-degree attitude together with your toes at the floor could also be an much more environment friendly strategy to toughen your again muscle tissue very similar to a lat pulldown. 

Why Do the Inverted Row

It is a nice solution to substitute or upload extra bodyweight movements. Robust or skilled lifters generally tend to overlook body weight coaching, perhaps throwing in a couple of push-ups right here or there, however that’s short-sighted. Body weight pulling actions, specifically, call for trunk stabilization and excellent scapular keep an eye on which raise over to power and balance in just about all workouts.

If you’ll’t do body weight pull-ups, you want to seek out different ways to coach your pulling muscle tissue. The 45-degree inverted row makes use of your body weight to construct power and muscular coordination. This reasonable attitude makes it a distinct and efficient strategy to toughen the scapular muscle tissue and nonetheless construct the lats, similar to a conventional pull-up or pulldown.

Easy methods to Do the Inverted Row

Set a barbell on a rack someplace round ab-height. You’ll additionally use a Smith gadget. You might have to regulate this upper or decrease as soon as in role relying in your arm duration. Seize the bar with an overhand grip, together with your palms slightly wider than shoulder-width. Slide your toes out till your physique is at kind of a 45-degree attitude with the ground.

Stay your legs directly and pull your self towards the bar. Purpose to the touch your chest to the bar ahead of reducing underneath keep an eye on and repeating for the set choice of reps. 

Extremely-Huge Grip Bent Over Barbell Row 

The wide-grip barbell row may well be probably the most easiest workouts to extend thickness to your lats and traps whilst building strength that carries over to different giant lifts. For those who see any person who does this workout ceaselessly, heavy, and effectively, you’ll rely on them having a large and robust again. 

Why Do the Extremely-Huge Grip Bent-Over Barbell Row

The ultra-wide grip row no longer solely makes your lats wider, but it surely builds thickness within the mid-back higher than many different workouts. The difficult extensive grip additionally taxes your forearm muscle tissue, making them larger whilst constructing a more potent grip. The bent-over role calls for your hips, trunk, and hamstrings to stabilize you physique and create rigidity to enhance the burden. This total-body recruitment makes you more potent for just about anything within the health club or at the box. 

Easy methods to Do the Extremely-Huge Grip Bent-Over Barbell Row 

Stand over a barbell together with your toes hip-width aside. Hinge ahead on the hips, squat down, and seize the bar with a palms-down grip as a long way extensive as your grip will permit. The bar must be tough to carry, however make certain you’ll stay it to your arms for all of the set. Stand directly up with the bar to your arms and your palms directly. Reasonably bend your knees as you hinge out of your hips.

Stay your knees fairly bent and bend ahead till your again is with reference to parallel with the bottom. Grasp this role together with your elbows locked and stay your again flat and your abs braced. Row the bar towards the ground of your sternum. Keep watch over the burden back off to a straight-arm role, and repeat for repetitions.

Landmine Row

The landmine row can educate the lats extra with out inflicting, or worsening, any attainable shoulder issues as it puts a novel call for at the physique in comparison to different barbell or dumbbell workouts. The attitude and leverage of the landmine create a distinct pressure at the muscle tissue and joints. It lets in the lifter to regulate their physique role and alter the pull of the burden.

Why Do the Landmine Row

This workout is finished the use of a “v-bar” attachment, which calls for a neutral-grip. This is helping you contract your lats thru a complete vary of movement whilst permitting the shoulder blades to transport right into a herbal role. This no longer solely is helping to cut back shoulder ache but in addition reinforces and builds the shoulder-stabilizing muscle tissue.

As a result of landmine row strikes despite the fact that an arc vary of movement fairly than a directly line, it creates other leverages in your muscle tissue. Because of this, the burden normally feels heavier on the backside and lighter on the most sensible, which is the other of maximum workouts. This “reversed” power curve implies that the landmine row can educate the lats in a different way through striking them underneath larger rigidity on the backside role. 

Easy methods to Do the Landmine Row

Put one finish of a barbell in a landmine unit, or within the strong corners of a squat rack. Connect a neutral-grip v-bar care for across the loose finish of the barbell slightly below the collar. Straddle the bar, squat all the way down to seize the care for, and rise up supporting the bar with directly palms. Ensure your again is nearly utterly parallel with the ground and your legs are fairly bent.

Row the bar up and check out to the touch your wrists someplace between the ground of your sternum and your abs. Decrease the burden through straightening your palms underneath keep an eye on. Take a look at to not “hitch” or soar as you carry the burden. The extra strict the motion, the simpler it’s for constructing muscle and power. 

Unmarried-Arm Face Pull 

Usual lat pulldowns are normally executed in hopes of creating wider backs, but it surely’s no longer in reality near to constructing again width. You wish to have to construct muscle in your higher again and around the backs of your shoulders, as effectively. There are extra targeted techniques to broaden those key spaces than simply the use of the straightforward pulldown.

Why Do the Unmarried-Arm Face Pull

The only-arm face pull objectives the rear delts (again of the shoulder) and the higher and internal portions of your again. Those muscle teams no longer solely want to be sturdy for optimum shoulder well being and balance, however they want to be well-developed if you wish to have your again to seem as thick as imaginable.

Coaching one are at a time is helping you narrowly center of attention on correctly transferring your shoulder and shoulder blade. Unmarried-arm workouts like this additionally educate your trunk to withstand rotation so, as an added receive advantages, you’re additionally coaching core balance.

Easy methods to Do the Unmarried-Arm Face Pull

Connect a unmarried care for to a cable pulley at forehead-height. Seize the care for palm-down with one hand. Straighten your arm and step again till the cable fairly pulls at the weight stack to boost it up. Stand tall together with your knees fairly bent and your toes about hip-width aside.

Stay your palm dealing with down as you pull the care for towards your ear. Suppose “hen wing” to stay your elbow excessive and identified. Center of attention on pulling your shoulder blade in towards your backbone. Grasp and squeeze at this finish role for one 2nd. Don’t let your shoulder shrug upward. Keep watch over the burden again with out letting it pull your shoulder too a long way ahead as your arm straightens. 

Advantages of Lat Pulldown Diversifications

There are 3 fundamental causes to incorporate this vertical pulling movement to your coaching: muscle dimension, muscular power, and musculoskeletal well being. Whichever causes are in your function record, there are many efficient actions to get the task executed.

Higher Muscle Recruitment

Many of us need to construct their lats thicker and wider. Larger lats give an athletic glance many of us need. Whether or not it’s on a bodybuilding level, on the seaside, or simply in your personal private body function, a well-developed again comprises extensive lats in addition to a cast higher and mid-back.

The lat pulldown, by itself, isn’t enough for focused on the more than one muscle tissue interested by constructing whole again dimension.

Stepped forward Energy Construction

The extra total again power you will have, the extra weight you’ll carry. Again power is very important for a robust, strong higher physique. This power and balance carries over to important lifts just like the deadlift, when keeping up correct role for environment friendly methodology.

Man in white sleeveless t-shit squatting with a loaded barbell across his back
Ivan Kochergin / Shutterstoc

A more potent again even carries over to decrease physique workouts just like the squat, to lend a hand your higher physique switch energy out of your legs thru your core and higher physique.

Joint Well being

Wholesome, well-functioning shoulders and shoulder blades (scapulae) are crucial for any lifter. For those who press weights overhead (up), you want to drag weights down. Fundamental muscular symmetry is helping to cut back the danger of shoulder and higher physique accidents. (5) Vertical pulling trains coordination and keep an eye on between your shoulders and the scapulae, and it reinforces the postural muscle tissue surrounding your scapulae and all of the heart again.

Get Down with The entire Pulldowns

The lat pulldown is without doubt one of the most well liked vertical pulling workouts for constructing muscle and power. It’s an efficient and time-tested workout, however you continue to want to pressure the higher and mid-back muscle tissue with other angles and calls for to create a most coaching impact. You’ll’t haphazardly upload permutations and hope for the most efficient, as a result of that may be a counterproductive waste of time. Evaluate the workouts above, work out which fit your explicit wishes, and plug them into your coaching plan. Quickly sufficient, you’ll have the entire selection you want for a well-rounded, and well-widened, again.


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  2. Lusk, S. J., Hale, B. D., & Russell, D. M. (2010). Grip width and forearm orientation results on muscle job right through the lat pull-down. Magazine of power and conditioning analysis24(7), 1895–1900.
  3. Leslie, Kelly & Convenience, Paul. (2013). The Impact of Grip Width and Hand Orientation on Muscle Task All through Pull-ups and the Lat Pull-down. Energy and Conditioning Magazine. 35. 75-78. 10.1519/SSC.0b013e318282120e.
  4. Plantz MA, Bordoni B. Anatomy, Shoulder and Higher Limb, Brachialis Muscle. [Updated 2022 Feb 22]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. To be had from:
  5. Drigny, J., Gauthier, A., Reboursière, E., Guermont, H., Gremeaux, V., & Edouard, P. (2020). Shoulder Muscle Imbalance as a Possibility for Shoulder Harm in Elite Adolescent Swimmers: A Potential Learn about. Magazine of human kinetics75, 103–113.

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