Wide Grip Lat Pulldown for Best Grip? (And 5 Best Alternatives)

Lat pulldown is an incredible machine that permits a variety of grips, whether wide, close or neutral. But, hey! We’re not here to talk about the machine but the wide grip lat pull down exercise. Most workout lovers, especially men, choose wide grip pull down to build great back muscles. The truth is; it’s an ideal exercise for building lats, biceps, upper back, and a healthy shoulder. There is always this idea that “wide grip for wider back” heard it before?  But, is it legit? Find out.

woman lat pulldown machine

Basic Steps to Execute Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

Wide grip lat pulldown can deliver awesome results when done correctly. It’s not that hard to do, neither is it that easy! You only need to do the following steps to get that strong and healthy upper back.

  • Start off by selecting your weight, and then find a good position to sit on the lat machine.
  • Hold the bar firmly with your hands shoulder-width apart. Ensure you shoulder is positioned well (no arch’s).
  • Pull the bar until it touches your chest (the upper part).
  • With your back squeezed, hold the bar for a moment before returning to the starting point.
  • Repeat the whole process for the recommended number of repetitions.

Tips for Executing Wide Grip Lat Pulldown Correctly

There are always rules attached to any type workout, and wide grip lat pulldown is no exception.  As you work into the gym to do the exercise, consider the tips below.

  • As a beginner, work with a V-grip. A V-grip is an effective way of working your lats for better workout results.
  • Don’t use the biceps to pull the bar, instead, use the elbows.
  • To avoid hurting your shoulder joints, don’t pull the bar down your neck. Choose other forms of lat pulldown variation.
  • Try to avoid using momentum at all cost. Too much momentum will only strain your muscles and cause injuries.
  • If possible, wrap your thumbs over the bar and not underneath. Going thumb-less can still be a good option if your biceps feel worn out.
  • Use straps (not compulsory though!). Rapping the straps around the handles will prevent sliding and ensure a straight pull.
  • Pull the bar all the way down to the upper part of your chest.

Mistakes to Avoid

One way of connecting to your lats more is through a proper form. Maintaining the right form throughout the exercise is, however, not very easy. Errors can be made in any workout, whether intentional or unintentional. Therefore, for better results, you need to at least try and avoid these mistakes.

Working with Momentum

The greatest mistake you can do is to allow momentum to dictate your wide grip pulldown. Why? Momentum will convert your workout into a mid-back exercise instead of a lat pulldown.  The best way of avoiding momentum is keeping your torso still.

Exaggerating your grip

How do you exaggerate a grip?  By simply going extremely wide. Even if going wide means a stronger back, too wide is not ok. Choose a comfortable wide grip to avoid irritating your shoulder joints. Also, you definitely won’t want to deter your body from utilizing a full range of motion, would you?

Pulling Too Low

This is simply overworking your arms and shoulder. Pulling the bar too low is not safe. Plus, it’s not a great way of maximizing your workout performance. Besides stressing your shoulder muscles (anterior capsule), you will be disengaging the latissimus Dorsi.

Pulling the Bar Below the Chest

The right position should be the upper part of your chest. Pulling the bar below the chest will make you jack forward.  When this happens, your muscles will experience pain. Your lat muscles can also get imbalanced in the process.

Pulling the bar over Your Back

It’s not recommended to do wide grip lat pulldown behind your back. Doing the exercise in this position can hinder you from utilizing a full range of motion. Aside from being at risk of injury, pulling the bar behind your back can counteract the benefits of the workout.

Why Wide Grip Lat Pulldown is Important

Can a wider grip add value to your exercise?  Why not choose a close grip lat pulldown? This question is usually asked by most workout enthusiast, hoping for better workout results. Honestly, it depends on your workout goals and the muscle you are targeting. The important thing is choosing a lat pulldown variation that is injury free.

Wide grip lat pulldown is an effective workout for activating the lat muscles more. Basically, it targets the lats more for a stronger and healthier back. If you want to have a killer V-shape, this is it. The exercise works on your strength and helps you to attain a great body shape. Wide grip pulldown also works on your arms especially the biceps.

The point is; to get a classy shoulder and increase your muscle strength, you can rely on wide grip lat pulldown. You don’t have to walk around with tinny shoulders, exercise!  This lat pulldown exercise can help you attain a great posture and avoid unnecessary back pains.

Close Grip vs Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

If you change your grip from narrow to wide, what difference does it make? Truthfully, the difference will be visible but it will not be huge. The difference pops in when you execute your exercise correctly.

There is never an exact answer to the close grip lat pulldown vs wide grip question. Ideally, wide grip lat pulldown is ideal for targeting the lats. The close grip, on the other hand, targets the biceps, teres major and lats.  Close grip is ideal for shoulder extension, building the arms and adding pull strength.

An EMG study was carried out to figure out the effects of lat pulldown variations. The study entailed using three different pulldown techniques. In the end, the research concluded that there was a small difference in using different grips. Though, a neutral grip proved more advantageous than wide or close grip.

If you do decide to go for the close grip lat pulldown, make sure to concentrate more on doing it right. Don’t make the following errors.

  • Applying momentum. A good example of using momentum is leaning too far back when pulling the bar.
  • Exercising with too light weights or too heavyweights. Doing this will just affect your form. A great form is required to ensure good workout results.
  • Doing the exercise while your torso is vertical. With a vertical torso, you will be focusing more on the biceps and forgetting the upper back muscles.
  • Don’t twitch the weights using your lower back. This way, your exercise can be more productive and you also get to avoid back pains.

Tips on Close Grip Vs Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

Changing your grip position will dictate how your shoulder joints will move as you pull the bar. If you choose a grip that allows a range of motions, it will more beneficial to you. Why? You will be able to exercise different muscles in your body.

There is no bad or good grip position. Different hand positions have there on way of generating results. As you worry about the grip, remember to check the risks and the effectiveness. Going for a grip, which only builds great muscles is never enough.

Mix up the different grips!  Instead for opting for only one grip employ all the grips during your training. A mix up will help you utilize your workout performance. Different grips will help you work on different muscles and get the most of your training. However, a neutral grip will help you avoid muscle pains.

Finally, if mix up just doesn’t work for you, go for the most comfortable grip. Choose the grip that feels natural. Don’t strain your muscles trying to build your back with strenuous grips.

General Benefits of Lat Pulldown

Regardless of the grip, lat pulldown can be a powerful exercise for building the back muscles.  It can help you get your V-shape in no time.  Some of the popular benefits associated with lat pulldown include;

  • Versatility. The fact that it permits different hand position like a narrow, wide and neutral grip makes it a versatile exercise. Also, the pulldown variations allow you to utilize a full range of motion. Thus, you can make the most out of your workout.
  • Lat pulldown strengthens the back. If your workout goal is to build a stronger back, incorporate this exercise. It strengthens both the upper and lower back muscles.
  • Builds strong biceps. Lat pulldown is a compound exercise targeting different muscles including biceps. It strengthens your biceps and flexes your arm and elbow. With a strong arm, you will be able to lift weights without much difficulty. Not only that! You will be able to perform your sports activities with much ease.
  • Builds a stronger and a healthier shoulder. This exercise strengthens your shoulders for better workout performance. To ensure a stronger shoulder, it targets the deltoid, teres major and the infraspinatus in your rotator cuff muscle.

5 Best Alternative Exercises for Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

You are not limited to wide grip lat pulldown to exercise your shoulders and back. Growing muscles and building strengths entails employing different exercise and machines. But, of course, they should only be the best. Alternatives for wide grip lat pulldown include

  • Decline Dumbbell Pullover. With this exercise, you only require a flat bench or a decline bench. It is popular for building the chest and the biceps. However, if proper techniques are applied, decline dumbbell pullover can be a great exercise for emphasizing the latissimus Dorsi.
  • Regular Pullups. Pull-ups are the best alternative for lat pulldowns. Just like the lat pulldown, it targets the lat muscles. Also, regular pull-ups can work on the arms and the shoulders. So, it is definitely worth a try.
  • Wider Grip Rear Pullups. This is also an incredible exercise that targets your lats, teres major, pecs and rhomboid. Aside from the lat muscles, it works on your upper back, biceps, and forearms. Just give it try and see if it works for you.
  • Seated Cable Row. It’s an exercise that works on the middle and upper back. It targets the biceps, rear deltoids, trapezius muscle, and erector spinae muscle. With a seated cable row, you can rest assured of getting a good posture. It can also help you balance your shoulder muscles.
  • Low-bar Pullups. This is another form of pull-up exercise. It is an easy to do exercise, although, it requires a lot of strength. If you want to build your arms and shoulders more, you can choose this exercise.

The Best Lat Pulldown Machines

Are you planning to purchase a pulldown machine to add to your home gym?  That’s cool! Though, to be honest, lat pulldown machines are quite expensive.  Still, the important thing is buying a quality and a durable machine. Depending on your budget and workout goals, you can pick either of the following.

  • Powerline by Body-Solid lat Machine
  • PM 180x lat Machine
  • Vanswelat pulldown machine
  • Deltech Fitness Lat Attachment

Take Away

A good grip is defined by the comfort you get when you pull the bar all the way down. If it makes you connect more to your lats, then that’s the right grip.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s a wide or a close grip.  Just choose a grip that feels natural and complements your workout goals. This way, you can hammer your different muscles and work on your overall strength.

Don’t strain your brain thinking about the perfect grip; instead, worry about completing your exercise in a good shape. No pains! Fewer injuries! That’s what you should look out for while exercising.  A wide grip lat pulldown will help you emphasize your lats. The close grip is somehow similar to chin up.  So, it will help you focus on the biceps and inner lats.

Is wide grip lat pulldown your go-to exercise for targeting the lat muscle? Or is it the close grip lat pulldown? What makes either of them your ideal choice?

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