Reverse-grip Lat pulldown is a killer posterior-chain builder. Do this simple, compound move to build strength and definition in your backside!
The reverse-grip lat pulldown is one of the best exercises for building muscle and strength in your back and biceps. Not only does this exercise work your chest and arms together, but it also tones your abdominal muscles. (1)
Table of Contents
What is Reverse-Grip Lat Pulldown?
The reverse-grip lat pull-down is a lat pull-down variation that targets the lower lats more than the overhand grip. Because the hands are so close together, the range of motion is greater than with wider-grip pull-down variations. It can be done for low reps, such as 5-6 each set, to increase back strength, or for more reps to increase size. (3)
Benefits of Reverse-Grip Lat Pulldown
This is a simple practice to incorporate into your training, regardless of your current skill level or training experience.
It is safe and there is little risk of injury if proper form, loading, and intelligent programming are all used.
Variety for the Back and Arms
The back, in particular, benefits greatly from a number of different compound and isolation workouts.
This exercise provides a different stimulus that will keep your back guessing and your body challenged.
Great for the Guns
The reverse grip engages the biceps to a considerably greater extent. This makes it an efficient tool for gaining larger arms.
Prevents Back Pain
According to current medical literature, prescription exercise as a treatment for back pain can lessen its intensity by 10 to 50%. Reverse pulldowns can assist improve posture and strengthen midline muscles such as the infraspinatus, which supports the spine. When these muscles are strengthened, the back is protected from pain and discomfort caused by everyday activities or sleeping in unusual positions.
Muscles worked Reverse-Grip Lat Pulldown
Lats: Your lats should be doing the majority of the work here. This large, broad back muscle will initiate and complete the draw while also controlling the eccentric on the way up. (2)
Biceps: Supination, also known as forearm outward rotation, is heavily reliant on your biceps. What is the simplest way to visualize this? Your palms should be facing up or down. That’s why the reverse-grip variation of this exercise puts your biceps to the test so directly.
Forearms: Your forearms will also get a lot of work here since they help with grip strength. However, make certain that they are not the primary movers.
How to do Reverse-Grip Lat Pulldown
- Assume a seated position and attach a wide grip handle to the lat pulldown machine.
- Supinated grip (double underhand) the handle just within shoulder width.
- Begin by pushing the shoulder blades together and then flexing the elbow while extending the shoulder.
- Pull the handle closer to your body until your elbows are in line with your torso, then slowly drop the handle back to the starting position.
- Repeat until the desired number of repetitions has been reached.
- Maintain some tone in your abdominals as you pull the bar into your body to avoid excessive spine arching.
- Allow the weight to be controlled throughout each rep rather than allowing momentum to determine the action.
- Consider using a false grip (don’t wrap your thumb over the dumbbell) if you feel your biceps are being overworked while your back is being underworked.
- Pulling should not cause the head to thrust forward.
- Likewise, ensure that the shoulder blade slides on the rib cage. Avoid locking the shoulder blade and simply move through the glenohumeral joint.
- At the height of the movement, allow the shoulder to internally rotate and shrug slightly. Obviously, you will reverse the movement and depress the shoulder blade before you pull with the arm.
Common mistakes of Reverse-Grip Lat Pulldown
Using too much weight
It is critical to use a weight that you can control throughout your complete range of motion. When you utilize too much weight, you are more prone to employ momentum and poor form. (4)
Not pulling the bar down to your chest
Pull the bar down until it touches your chest or just above it. You won’t be able to properly engage your lats if you don’t pull the bar down far enough.
Using a too-wide grip
A wider grip works your lats harder, but it can also strain your shoulders. If you suffer from shoulder aches, you should try a narrower grip.
Leaning back too far
Leaning back too far will take the tension off your lats and put it on your lower back. Keep your back straight and only lean back slightly.
Don’t rely on momentum to help you lower the bar. This will keep you from isolating your lats and may result in injury.
Bouncing the bar
Don’t bounce the bar off your chest at the bottom of the rep. This will also prevent you from isolating your lats and can lead to injuries.
Reverse-Grip Lat Pulldown Variations
Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown dumbbell
The reverse grip lat pulldown dumbbell is an excellent exercise for strengthening the back and biceps. It can also help avoid injuries by relieving stress on your shoulders. The reverse grip lat pulldown dumbbell is an excellent choice for a demanding and effective lat exercise. (5)
How to do
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip, with your palms facing away from you.
- Lean back slightly and bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells down towards your chest.
- Pause for a second, then contract your lats to bring the dumbbells back up to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
- Use a weight that you can control throughout the entire range of motion.
- Pull the dumbbells down until they touch your chest or just above.
- Keep your back straight and your core engaged throughout the exercise.
- Don’t use momentum to help you lift the dumbbells.
- Focus on contracting your lats throughout the range of motion.
Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown machine
A reverse grip lat pulldown machine is a type of weight equipment that allows you to perform reverse grip lat pulldowns without using a barbell or dumbbells. This machine is an excellent choice if you want to target your lats in a safe and effective manner.
Simply sit in the machine and adjust the seat so that your thighs are parallel to the floor to use a reverse grip lat pulldown machine. Grab the handles with your hands facing each other and an underhand grip. Lean back slightly and bring the handles down until they contact or are just above your chest. Pause for a second before contracting your lats to return the handles to their starting position. Repeat until the desired number of repetitions has been reached. (6)
- Use a weight that you can control over your complete range of motion.
- Pull the handles down to your chest or just above it.
- Throughout the exercise, keep your back straight and your core engaged.
- Do not rely on momentum to assist you in lifting the handles.
- Keep your lats contracted throughout the range of motion.
what is the difference between a lat pulldown and a reverse lat pulldown?
The reverse-grip lat pull-down is a lat pull-down variation that targets the lower lats more than the overhand grip. Because the hands are so close together, the range of motion is greater than with wider-grip pull-down variations.
Does the reverse-grip lat pulldown target biceps or back?
The quick answer is yes to both. The lengthier explanation is that this exercise should still emphasize your lats (back). Although reverse-grip lat pulldowns are more taxing on your biceps than overhand (normal) lat pulldowns, they are still predominantly a back workout. The majority of your effort should come from your back.
Which pulldown is better for Lats?
If you want to concentrate on isolating the lats, go with the close-grip pulldown. The closer grip keeps the arms more vertical, which puts them in the optimal position for pulling with simply the lats.
What muscles do reverse grip cable pulldowns work?
The Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown works the back, as well as the shoulders, biceps, and forearms. The latissimus dorsi (lats), a large fan-shaped back muscle, is specifically targeted during the workout.
1. Lehman, G. J., Buchan, D. D., Lundy, A., Myers, N., & Nalborczyk, A. (2004). Variations in muscle activation levels during traditional latissimus dorsi weight training exercises: An experimental study. Dynamic Medicine, 3, 1-5.
2. Sutton, B., NASM-CPT, C. N. C., & CES, P. The Biomechanics of the Lat Pulldown: Muscles Worked, Grips, & Form.
3. Snarr, R., Eckert, R. M., & Abbott, P. (2015). A comparative analysis and technique of the Lat Pull-down. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 37(5), 21-25.
4. Brewster, J. 6-Day Workout Routine–Comprehensive Guide For Beginners!
5. T-Nation, N. T. 6 Grip Tips to Build More Muscle.
6. Motameni, S., TaheriChadorneshin, H., & Golestani, A. (2020). Comparing the effects of resistance exercise type on serum levels of oxidative stress and muscle damage markers in resistance-trained women. Sport Sciences for Health, 16, 443-450.