The wide-grip lat pulldown is a strength training compound exercise that helps you grow muscles in your upper body.
It helps you grow your back strength and pulling strength.
The exercise requires the use of a cable machine with a bar. The lat pull machine is a common piece of equipment found in gyms.
To do this exercise:
- Get into the start position by sitting while facing the spine of the machine. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees perpendicular.
- Set up the pads such that they lock your legs in place.
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip with your arms wider than shoulder-width apart. Stretch your arms as far apart as they can go without compromising your form.
- Pull the bar down towards your collarbone by retracting your shoulder blades. Pull your elbows inward to help lower the cable.
- Hold the bar against your upper chest for at least two seconds, squeeze your shoulder blades and lats.
- Slowly return the bar to the starting position.
- Do at least three sets of 10 reps.
WHAT MUSCLES DO WIDE GRIP LAT PULLDOWN WORK?
There are two main muscles in your chest: the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor.
They are found under the breasts. They are more prominently found in men.
The wide grip lat pulldown primarily targets the pectoralis major.
They are two large fan-shaped muscles that start at the sternum and spread over the ribs, clavicle, and upper arm bone.
They are mostly involved in arm adduction and internal rotation of your upper arm. The pec major also helps lift your arm and move it forward.
The trapezius is a large trapezoidal superficial muscle found in the upper back.
The traps start from the bottom of your skull towards your mid-back.
The trapezius is made up of upper, middle and lower traps.
The traps work together to stabilize the arms and shoulder blades. They help with the movement of the scapular.
Also, they help with spinal and neck movements. They enable you to shrug and raise your arms.
The lat pulldown helps build the brachialis, brachioradialis, biceps and arm flexors.
The brachialis is essentially the elbow flexor muscle. It is a deep muscle found on the upper front part of the arm, under the biceps.
The brachialis starts in the middle of the upper arm and ends a few centimeters past the elbow.
It is the strongest elbow flexion muscle.
The brachioradialis is found on the back of the lower arm. It crosses the elbow joint as well.
It helps turn your palm upwards or downwards when your elbow is perpendicular.
The biceps sit on the upper part of your upper arm. They help flex the elbow.
Biceps are triggered by pulling exercises. They also play a role in pronation and supination of the forearm.
To get an evenly toned back, it’s important to work on your rhomboids as well. This exercise helps build them.
The rhomboids are found in the middle of the upper back below the traps.
They help with pulling your shoulder blades together and any pulling motion with your arms.
5. LATISSIMUS DORSI
These are the heavily defined muscles you see on someone’s back. They’re shaped like wings. They are the strongest and largest muscles of the back and the biggest target of the wide grip lat pulldown.
Lats start at the top of the pelvis and spread to the lower scapula to the upper arm bone.
Lats help you pull your body towards your arm when it’s extended overhead and help with adduction and internal rotation of the arm.
WIDE GRIP LAT PULLDOWN BENEFITS
1. IMPROVE ATHLETIC ABILITY
When you build your lats, traps and rhomboids, you increase your strength for pulling exercises.
Having more strength helps you lift more weight during other exercises.
2. PREVENT INJURY
Stronger arm, chest and back muscles help minimize the risk of injury during the other exercises.
Strengthening the tendons, ligaments and muscle fibers helps reduce the risk of tearing them during other strength training exercises.
3. REDUCE MUSCLE OVERUSE
One of the things to watch out for when working out is muscle imbalance. This happens when you overwork one set of muscles then forget to work on another.
The wide-grip lat pulldown is a compound exercise that reduces the risk of muscle imbalance.
It engages so many muscles in your back. This means that when the scapular retraction happens during the exercise, no muscles compensate for the lack of use of another.
4. IMPROVED POSTURE
Having strengthened back muscles helps improve posture.
A sedentary lifestyle like a desk job can lead to back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain from slouching.
Strong back muscles help you sit with your back straight without any strain.
ALTERNATIVES TO WIDE GRIP LAT PULLDOWN
1. WIDE GRIP CHIN UPS
To do this exercise:
- Grab a pullup bar with a supinated grip and your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Get into the starting position by getting into a dead hang.
- Pull your shoulder blades inward and lift yourself until your chin is above the bar. Ensure your elbows are fully bent.
- Hold the position for at least a second then slowly lower back to the starting position with your arms fully extended.
- Repeat as desired.
2. ARM DUMBBELL ROW
- Hold a dumbbell in one arm, bend over and place your opposite knee on a bench.
- Pull the dumbbell slowly towards your chest by bending your elbow.
- Lower the dumbbell back to starting position to complete one rep.
- Repeat as desired then switch hands.
WIDE GRIP LAT PULLDOWN MISTAKES TO AVOID
Ensure you lower the bar to at least chest level. This gives you the full range of motion for the wide grip lat pulldown.
As you return to the starting position, make sure your arms are fully extended before starting the motion.
Avoid using weights that are too heavy because this could ruin your form.
Don’t rock or lean back when doing the wide grip lat pulldown. If you can’t fix this, try using a lighter weight.
Don’t use your elbows to pull down the bar. Make sure your elbows remain tucked into your sides rather than pulling them out behind you.
If you’re struggling to maintain your grip during the pulldown, add grip-strengthening exercises to your routine and switch to other alternatives before you continue with lat pulldowns.
Avoid pulling the bar behind your neck. This doesn’t help grow your lats.