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Lat Pulldown Form to Target Lats


hey guys,

what is the best form to use for lat pulldowns in order to focus on the lats?

i would think it would be this:

sit straight up and erect, pull strictly vertically with a wide grip, pull w/ elbows, pull to under chin

as opposed to leaning back slightly and pulling to chest or something like that

please correct me if i'm wrong


I lean back slightly and pull to my chest. I chin down and also use a slightly more narrow than shoulder width grip.

I also have no problems flexing and contracting my lats independent of one another. So I guess I have good mind/muscle connection there.


What you have here is like thinking okay what is the best way to target my biceps... well that would probably be a concentration curl, or a DB preacher curl, or something like that.

Sure why not.

But that doesn't necessarily make it the best exercise to actually build up that muscle group.

Leaning back and using a little bit of umph with lat pulldowns is not only necessary once you're lifting real weight, it's advisable if you want to overload the muscle as much as possible.


I lean back and pull to my chest.

The stretch is the most important aspect of it, in my opinion.


Yup, I lean back like Fat Joe. I feel that I get a greater contraction that way and it also helps me move greater loads. But we all know that only girly men do pulldowns.


Both forms are good ways to target your lats. When you sit up erect you are target you middle back and when you lean back and pull to the chest you are working more on the width of your back. Either way works.


Comp is lagging hope I don't double post.

Anyways as I typed before, it's hard to explain but you know when you're doing it right.

Extend your arms fully at the top of the movement and then extend them farther by flaring your lats. Once they're flared begin pulling using your lats squeezing them together and having a full contraction by the time the movement is over.

Your arms are only used to connect your lats to the bar.

EDIT: And yes like the majority of the other poster, I lean back a bit when doing the movement. Too bad the machine at my gym only goes up to 260 cause I can rep that shit out. Need to find a way to add more weight. Maybe stick a v bar across it and throw on some 25 pound plates hmmmm.


You've been eating your carrots haven't you?

On topic: Pretty sure most people lean back a bit, I think the stretch is the most important aspect when working your lats. Just feels right.


My gym has one of these. I use it instead of a lat pulldown. Great stretch and the independent movement allows you to pull back farther than you would normally be able to on a traditional lat pulldown.


w/ heavy weight not as possible but warming up to connect the mind to the muscle:

1) Contract and squeeze your lats for a bit prior to engaging the pull down bar.

2) imagine your arms and hands as hooks, thus you'll pull w/ your lats and not your biceps.
even try clasping your thumb on top not your typical grip.

3) imagine squeezing and holding a pencil between your scapula at the bottom of the movement.

4) shut your eyes don't think of the stack or in terms of pounds, but feel where and what muscles you are pulling and contracting.

eventually even at heavier poundage you'll still be connected to the contraction of your lats.


oh yeah stretch as you progress and between sets to feel the full ROM of the muscle.


reverse close grip works best for me get a good stretch and contraction


The flaring aspect is the most important in this thread by my opinion. Full ROM, and the maximum weight where you can contract maximally your lats at the lower portion of the movement (even if its the fraction of a second).

There was a misunderstanding with one poster I think; leaning back puts more emphasis on your middle back while staying straight or even leaning forward put more on your lats. Also a close grip stresses more the teres than the lats, and vice versa.


just did mine yesterday and my lats r sore as crap! i like leaning back a bit as well, i kinda overload on the weight so i do em with not the best of form but i always make sure i get a full rom. i find this the best way to do lat pulldowns for packin on mass and strength...


as for the grip, i try to go as wide as possible but still where it feels comfortable on my wrist. i find sometimes if i go too wide i cant get a full rom, even with light weight..


You like leaning back like Fat Joe do you? So that would make you a girly man...


Lat pulldowns is not really a mass/strength movement soldier. You can expect better development for sure.


I do the same exact thing, do reps of 10, 8, 6 but start out with a lot of weight. Full ROM is key and I'll do the negative rep thing before I let the weight off.

My form is pretty good yet, but have to concentrate on not transferring the load to non-target muscle groups. That's where the descending reps come in handy.



Can "leaning back to hit the lats better" be accomplished while doing pullups as well?


Yea, instead of pulling striaght up, pull ur chest to towards the bar..