Lat Pull Down Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Cable
  • Compound
  • Pull
  • Beginner
  • Biceps, Middle Back, Shoulders
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Lats Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Exercise Instructions

  1. Set up for the lat pull down by attaching a wide grip bar to the machine, selecting the weight you want to use, and adjusting the thigh pad.
  2. While standing, grasp the bar with an overhand grip at wider than shoulder width apart.
  3. Holding the bar, sit down on the machine. This should take the weight off the stack.
  4. Keeping your back straight, eyes facing forward, and without leaning back, slowly pull the bar down to your upper chest. Do not let the bar touch your chest.
  5. Pause, and slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Do not let the weight touch the stack.
  6. Repeat for desired reps.

​Lat Pulldown Tips:

  1. A huge problem with the lat pull down is that some lifters can not isolate the lats and end up using their biceps to do a lot of the work. To isolate the lats, use a wide grip and when you're pulling down, focus on your lats pulling inwards as they go down. Imagine them pulling down in a semi-circle motion.
  2. It's also common for some lifters to lean back and swing the weight down. This is cheating and will not get the maximum results from the lat pull down. Keep sitting upright throughout the movement.
  3. Finally, if you find your forearms are burning out before you finish the set, grip with bar with a "hook" grip. This means you do not place your thumb around the bottom of the bar. A hook grip takes some of the strain off your forearms when performing pulling exercises. Never try to pull the bar down using your forearms. The forearms will simply be used to hold the bar.

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16 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted 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?

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

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

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

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I've truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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Posted 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.

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

What's a subsitute for this either than pullups?

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Posted 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!

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Posted 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!

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Posted 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!

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Posted 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.

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

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

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Posted 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?

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Posted 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?

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

Leaning back slightly is the right posture

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Posted 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

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Posted 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?

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Posted 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