If you want to know how to do the close grip lat pulldown with proper form, what muscles it works, and what the alternatives are, this page will show you what to do.
- Close Grip Lat Pulldown: Introduction and Benefits
- Close Grip Lat Pulldown: Muscles Worked
- How To Do the Close Grip Lat Pulldown: Proper Form
- Alternative Exercises
- Frequently Asked Questions
Close Grip Lat Pulldown: Introduction and Benefits
The close grip pulldown is a compound exercise used to train the muscles in your back and arms.
There are several different ways to do a close grip pulldown:
- Reverse/supinated grip
- Overhand/pronated grip
- Neutral/hammer grip
This article focuses on the close grip pulldown done with a V-bar and a neutral grip, which means your palms face each other.
Close Grip Lat Pulldown: Muscles Worked
- Latissimus dorsi
- Teres major
- Elbow flexors (biceps, brachialis, brachioradialis)
- Posterior deltoid
How To Do the Close Grip Lat Pulldown: Proper Form
1. Attach a V-bar to a lat pulldown or cable pulley machine.
2. Adjust the seat position and/or height of the knee pads so they sit snugly on your thighs, and provide enough pressure to stop your body being lifted off the seat.
3. Take hold of the V-bar and sit down on the lat pulldown machine, facing the weight stack.
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4. In the starting position, your arms should be straight and your body upright.
5. Keeping your elbows tucked in, pull the bar down towards your sternum in one smooth movement.
6. As you pull the bar down, lean back slightly, and think about lifting your chest up towards the bar while retracting your shoulder blades.
7. The bar should come down to the point where it’s roughly level with your chin.
8. Pause briefly at the bottom, squeeze your lats, and return the weight under control to the starting position.
Close Grip Lat Pulldown Video
Close Grip Lat Pulldown: Technique Tip
As you pull the V-bar down to the front of your body, make sure to lean back slightly, rather than remaining upright.
If you stay too upright, and pull the bar down in a straight line, you’ll end up pulling towards the clavicles.
But with a slight backward lean, the bar will come down to the sternum. This a healthier position for your shoulders, as well as maximizing lat activation.
Workouts, Sets and Reps
Depending on how your overall training program is set up, aim for 2-5 work sets of 8-15 reps, resting for 2-3 minutes between each set.
TRX Lat Pulldown
Resistance Band Lat Pulldown
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should you lean back during the lat pulldown?
You want to lean slightly back, and pull the bar down towards your sternum. However, there’s a difference between leaning back slightly and loading up the lat pulldown machine with so much weight that you need to swing and use momentum to complete a rep. Nor do you want to lean so far back that you turn the exercise from a pulldown into a row. A slight backward lean in the upper body is enough.
2. Which is better, lat pulldowns or pull-ups?
Studies show that lat pulldowns and pull-ups are equally effective for working the lats. But for many people, lat pulldowns are the better exercise, simply because they’re not strong enough to do pull-ups and chin-ups. You can and will build a strong, muscular back using only lat pulldowns, and in many cases they’re a better option.
3. Can I get abs from just doing lat pulldowns?
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