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Back Workout (3) – Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

April 1st, 2008 · 4 Comments ·


Many variation of grip is possible with lat pulldown machine. Changing your hand position makes difference to muscle activation during the lat pulldown. Let’s focus on wide-grip lat pulldown this time. I normally do Wide Grip Lat Pulldown after pull ups and One Arm Dumbbell Row Loading. In Wide Grip Lat Pulldown exercise, main muscle worked is lats (latissimus dorsi). Other muscles such as biceps and middle back are involved too. Therefore, Wide Grip Lat Pulldown is considered as a compound exercise.

If you want to train the lats muscle, but you are not strong enough to do pull up, the wide grip front pull-down will help you better prepare yourself for pull up by exercising the relevant muscles. With the machine, you can increase the weight slowly until you achieve your own body weight. Another difference between this workout and pull-up is that you pull down the weight in wide grip lat pull-down whereas you lift your own body up in pull-up.



  1. Start with your legs positioned snugly under the kneepads of a pull down machine. You may need to adjust the seat height and leg restraint accordingly. For seat height, it should be set to the position where your upper legs are horizontal and knees are at 90 degrees when you are seated.
  2. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  3. Grasp the wide bar firmly with the grip which palms facing away from your body.
  4. Your hands should be almost twice your shoulder width apart.
  5. Pull the bar down on top of your chest, arching your back slightly.
  6. When the bar reaches your chest, hold for 1 to 2 seconds.
  7. Focus on keeping your elbows directly below the bar.
  8. Slowly raise the bar back to the starting position. This stage is the phase where you back muscles are working hard.
  9. Perform 3 sets with 8 to 12 repetitions each set.




  • Do not pull the bar behind your neck. Why? Stay tuned for my future post – Why You Should Not Do Behind-The-Neck Lat Pull Down?
  • Do not lean back too far and pull the weight down using your body weight. Put the process of pulling the weight using your back, not on the shoulder muscles.
  • Do not allow the weight stack to drop quickly down after reaching your chest. Maintain the tension all the way back to the start position with controlled motion.




Category: Back

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4 responses so far ↓
  • niks // Mar 16, 2009 at 11:53 PM

    the overall article is awesome, believe me any one following the above routine will build up a solid back with in a month

  • Tina // Jul 10, 2009 at 4:53 PM

    Looking for the answer to “Why you should not do behind the head lat pull downs?”

    Great site easy to understand information. :-)

  • Robert // Dec 22, 2009 at 3:16 PM

    I was just flipping through a muscle magazine on the best backs of all time. I am very interested in improving my back to complement my chest. I purposely stayed away from barbell behind the neck presses because of what I heard. I was considering doing the machine version, until I stumbled across your website. I am assuming the reasons for avoiding this exercise are similar to it’s barbell version.

    I could be wrong though, please get back to me via email

    Keep Training!

    Thank you


  • Aklilu // Jul 13, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    I am Aklilu H.michael. I am 30 I have a back pain exercise which radiates to my left leg since two years. I don’t know what kind of exercise to do and avoid.
    any one is here to help me what kind of exercise I have to do and avoid please?

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