Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown: Master Exercise for Bigger Lats

The wide-grip lat pulldown is one of the best exercises for developing big, strong lats. It tightens and builds the muscles in your upper arms while also training the spinal erectors.

The lat muscles are responsible for bending your elbow and shoulder. This Exercise was traditionally used as a way to pack on lean muscle mass in the back—primarily in the upper arm—without encroaching on other muscle groups. (1)

What is a Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown?

The wide-grip lat pulldown is a multi-joint exercise that focuses on the back muscles, particularly the lats. The pulling motion comprises numerous upper body muscles producing shoulder adduction and elbow flexion.

This routine is performed seated on a bench using a cable machine and a wide-grip cable bar. Although it is widely believed that the workout gives better activation of the lats, some research suggests that a wide grip hand placement has no distinct advantages over a medium grip lat pulldown.

Andersen et al. discovered no significant differences between a narrow, medium, and wide grip in their investigation. When it comes to lats activation, however, hand orientation was found to be more important than grasp width, with pronated grips eliciting more muscular activation.

Benefits of Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown


The wide-grip lat pulldown targets the lats’ outer region more than the typical lat pulldown. This wide grip variation relieves stress in your biceps and forearms, requiring your lats to work even harder to bring the weight down.

As a result, you optimize lat contraction, which aids in the development of a thicker, stronger back. A strong back is vital for boosting your performance in sports, compound lifts, and everyday tasks.


This pulldown variation is one of the best exercises to improve posture. Hours of sitting in chairs at work or while driving can cause an underuse of your lats and other back muscles.

As a result, this can lead to slouching, pain, and tension in your shoulders and back. 

The wide-grip lat pulldown can be used to restore posture and engage these underutilized muscles. Regular exercise will have you standing upright and with perfect posture in no time.


The broad grip lat pulldown can help to sculpt the traditional V-shaped torso while also creating the illusion of a smaller waistline. Seeing obvious changes in your physique can offer you a great confidence boost.

Strengthening your back can also help you perform better in other exercises, such as the dumbbell row or the deadlift – and there are few more satisfying experiences than growing better at the gym!

Muscles Worked By The Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

Muscles Worked By The Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown


The wide grip lat pulldown, as you might expect, primarily works your lats. The latissimus dorsi is the largest back muscle, originating in the lower/mid back.

Most “pulling” activities, like lat pulldowns, pull-ups, and rowing workouts, rely heavily on your lats. They also provide spine support and stability!


The wide grip lat pulldown also incorporates the biceps, forearms, abs, shoulders, and upper back.

While your lats should do the majority of the effort, your biceps and forearms should also contract. Furthermore, your abs contract to help stabilize the action.

How to do The Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

How to do The Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown


  1. Assume a seated position and attach a wide grip handle to the lat pull down machine.
  2. Grasp the handle as broad as possible with a pronated grip (double overhand).
  3. Begin by depressing the shoulder blade and flexing the elbow while extending the shoulder.
  4. 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.
  5. Repeat until the desired number of repetitions has been reached.


  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. Allowing momentum to govern the action, and control the dumbbells throughout each rep.
  3. If you feel your biceps being overused and your back remaining underactive, 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. Likewise, ensure that the shoulder blade slides on the rib cage. Avoid locking the shoulder blade and simply move through the glenohumeral joint.
  6. 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 pulling with the arm.

common mistakes

common mistakes wide-grip lat pulldown

Leaning Back Too Far

Some people lean back too much when performing a wide-grip lat pulldown, making the activity resemble a barbell row. It is critical to remember that you should only lean back as far as necessary to allow the bar to pass in front of your body without hitting your head.

Using Momentum to Lift the Weight

When a lifter uses too much weight for the wide-grip lat pulldown, they are more likely to use their body to generate momentum and pull the bar. They end the workout by shaking their upper bodies back and forth.

Bouncing the Bar off the Chest

Some lifters do the exercise by pulling on the bar too quickly and allowing the bar to strike the chest with force. This does not activate the lats properly. The pulling motion should be quite smooth and controlled.

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown Variations

Resistance Band lat pulldown

Attach your resistance band to an elevated hook or door frame and sit or kneel on the ground for an at-home back exercise. Pull down as far as you can with your lats contracted.

Allow your arms to completely straighten as you release the tension. Repeat!

Supinated lat pulldown

Supinated pulldowns increase the resistance on your forearms and biceps substantially. Set up by extending your arms high and grabbing the bar with your palms facing you. Hands should be around shoulder width apart.

While slightly leaning back, brace your core, bring your shoulder blades down and back, and pull the bar down until it touches the top of your rib cage. Pause briefly at the bottom, squeeze your lats, and slowly return to the starting position.

Maintain tightness in your core and repeat!

Alternating lat pulldown (with handles)

The alternating lat pulldown can also be used to exercise your lats unilaterally. You can pull down one handle at a time by using two separate handles. The alternating lat pulldown is an excellent exercise for correcting muscular imbalances on the right and left sides of your back.


Pull-ups require a certain degree of upper-body strength, and one of the finest workouts for developing that strength is the wide-grip lat pulldown. Furthermore, it works several of the upper-body muscles that aid in posture and pulling force.

There are numerous ways to do the lat pulldown, each of which works different muscles in the upper body depending on the hand orientation used. However, as some studies suggest, grip width has little to no effect on muscular activation.


is a wider grip better for lat pulldowns?

The best grip for the lat pulldown depends on your aims. Lifters who want to develop lat strength or size, or improve their pull-ups, should use a broad grip. A close grip is preferable for people wishing to target their mid and upper backs or enhance total back strength.

which pulldown grip is best 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.

is wide grip pulldown harder?

Conclusion.Even though a wide grip activates more lats, a close grip lat pulldown puts your arms in a stronger position and allows you to pull more weight. As a result, it’s an excellent supplement to your back workout.


1. Andersen, Vidar1; Fimland, Marius S.2,3; Wiik, Espen1; Skoglund, Anders1; Saeterbakken, Atle H.1. Effects of Grip Width on Muscle Strength and Activation in the Lat Pull-Down. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: April 2014 – Volume 28 – Issue 4 – p 1135-1142 doi: 10.1097/JSC.0000000000000232 

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