What Muscles Do Wide Grip Pulldowns Work?

The wide grip pull down exercise is a strength training exercise. As such, if you want to strengthen your upper body muscles, you won’t go wrong if you do the wide grip pulldown exercise. In this article, you can get more exercises that you can do as substitutes for the wide grip pulldown workout. Some of the exercises include dumbbell rows, resistance band pulldown, low bar pullup, and many others. These exercises are outlined to give you the specific muscles targeted and the steps that you can follow to do them.

Wide Grip Pull-Down Alternative

The wide grip pulldown exercise is good for developing upper body muscles. To be specific, the back body muscles such as lats get more attention when you are doing the wide-grip pull-down exercise. In addition, you can exercise the arms, shoulders, posterior deltoids, rhomboids, pecs, and trapezius.  However, if you cannot do the wide-grip pulldown exercise, you can do other exercises that work the upper body muscles. Below are some wide grip pulldown alternative exercises that you can do;Wide Grip Pulldown - trapezius muscles workout

Dumbbell Rows

Like the wide grip pulldown exercise, the dumbbell rows primarily target the lats muscles. Other muscles targeted by the dumbbell rows include biceps, forearms, spinal erectors, rhomboids, and other upper body muscles. As such, this exercise can be done in place of wide grip pulldown exercise. There are many dumbbell row variations that you can do. For instance, you can do one arm dumbbell row, two-arm dumbbell row, bent over dumbbell row,  and many others. To do the bent dumbbell rows follow the steps below;

The bent over dumbbell row is beginner-friendly and it can make you master the proper form for the other dumbbell row variations.

  1. Stand on your feet shoulder-width apart with dumbbells in both hands
  2. Bend over by hinging at the hip until the back is flat.
  3. Then lower dumbbells towards the floor until the arms are straight.
  4. Tighten your core drawing the belly button to the spine and draw the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  5. You can do 15 to 20 reps

Resistance Band Pull-Up

This exercise is good for strengthening the lats, rhomboids, triceps, trapezius and many other upper body muscles. This exercise can be a wide grip pulldown alternative because it works similar muscles. To do the exercise follow the steps below;

  1. Start by wrapping the resistance band around the bar.
  2. Hold onto the bar with your palms facing away from your body. Your hands must be wider than the shoulder-width distance.
  3. Then put your foot onto the bottom loop. Let the other foot rest behind the other foot.
  4. Pull up your body and make sure that the chin is above the bar.

Low Bar Pull Up

Wide Grip Pulldown - Low Bar Pull Up workoutLike other pull-up exercises, this exercise is good for exercising the upper body muscles. Some of the muscles that are exercised by the low bar pull up workout are similar to those exercised by the wide grip pulldown. For instance, some of the muscles that get exercises include the arms, lats, shoulders, and rhomboids. As such, it makes the low bar pull up a good alternative to the wide grip pulldown exercise. To do the low bar pull up exercise follow the steps below;

  1. Start by setting the bar a lower position. You must be able to hang on the bar while seated.
  2. Put a bench under the bar so that you can put your feet on it as you hang from the bar.
  3. Grab the bar with your palms facing away from you. Your palms must be shoulder-width apart.
  4. Then put your feet on top of the bench in front of you and hang on the bar.
  5. Pull up your body and make sure that the chin goes up and over the bar.
  6. Lower your body so that when it’s hanging, it is in ‘L’ shape.
  7. You can do 10 to 15 reps

Other alternative exercises that you can do include seated band row, landmine T-bar rows, bent over barbell rows, lat pulldowns from power rack, and many others.

Standing Pulldown

The standing pulldown targets the lats more than other muscles. Other muscles that get exercised by the standing pulldown include deltoids, rhomboids, triceps, pecs, and more upper body muscles. It can be done on the cable machine. To do the exercise follow the steps below;

  1. Start by setting up the cable machine to suit your level of strength.
  2. Put the bar to high pulley cable.
  3. Stand in front of the machine with your feet at a shoulder-width distance apart.
  4. Grab the bar and make sure that you are doing the overhand grab. Your hands must be at shoulder width apart.
  5. Step back for about 30cm to 60 cm.
  6. Pull down the bar keeping your arms straight until they become parallel to the ground. Continue pulling down the bar until it reaches your thighs.
  7. You can do 12 reps of three sets.

Close Grip Pulldown

Wide Grip Pulldown - Close Grip Pulldown workoutThis exercise is good for developing upper body muscles. The primary muscles that get worked by the close grip pulldown are traps and shoulders. Then other muscles that get engaged include the lats and middle back. To do the exercise follow the steps below;

  1. Start by setting up a pull-down machine and make sure that the wide bar is properly attached to the top pulley.
  2. Then sit down to the machine and adjust a knee pad to suit your height.
  3. Grab the bar and make sure that your palms are facing away from your body. Your hands must be closer than the shoulder width apart. Keep your chest pushed up and out with your arms extended.
  4. Start lowering the bar down to reach your upper chest. Hold the bar in that position for a second and squeeze your shoulder blades.
  5. And then lift the bar up to its starting position with your arms extended. Inhale as the lats get stretched.
  6. You can do more reps until you can’t exercise in the proper form.

Narrow Grip Pulldown

This is a beginner friendly workout that targets the back muscles. As much as it primarily targets the back muscles, it also exercises other muscles such as the arms and shoulders. To do the exercise, you can follow the steps below;

  1. Set up the cable machine
  2. Sit down in front of a cable machine and grab the narrow grip bar. Your hands must be closer to each other at less than the shoulder width apart distance.
  3. Then start pulling the bar down to your chest and pause in that position for 3 to 5 seconds. You might feel the tension in your lower back and lats muscle.
  4. Return your arms to the starting position.
  5. You can do several reps as much as you can.

Lat Pulldown

Wide Grip Pulldown - Lat PulldownThe lat pulldown exercise can be an alternative to a pull-up or chin-up exercise. You can do the lat pulldown workout to strengthen your lats muscles. In addition, it also exercises the abs, biceps, and other back muscles. To do this exercise, you will need a lat pulldown machine. You can follow the steps below to do the workout.

  1. Start by setting up the lat pulldown machine.
  2. Then sit down with your chest out and shoulders are drawn back.
  3. Extend your arms up to grab the bar and make sure that your hands are doing an overhand grip at a shoulder-width apart distance. Keep your arms straight.
  4.  Pull the bar down to your chest and then pause before returning your bar to the starting position.
  5. You can do several reps as much as you can.

Reverse Grip Pulldown

This exercise is good for strengthening the lats, biceps, and delts muscles. The exercise can be done by experts; however, some beginners may try it. To do the exercise, you can follow the steps below. You will need a cable machine to perform this workout.

  1. Start by setting up a cable machine and then sit down to grasp the bar with your hands doing the underhand grip. As such, your palms must be facing your body at a shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep your arms stretched upward.
  3. Pull down the bar while squeezing your shoulder blades. Bring down the bar to your chest.
  4. Pause before stretching the hands to the starting position.

Straight Arm Pulldown

The straight arm pulldown mainly targets the las muscles. It qualifies as an isolation exercise that improves your posture. Other muscles that get exercises include the arms, shoulders, and chest. To do the exercise, you can follow the steps below;

  1. Start by setting up the cable machine.
  2. Stand in front of a machine and grasp the rope with both hands.
  3. Keep your shoulders blades drawn back.
  4. Then bend your hips and make sure that your torso is around the 35 to 45-degree angle.
  5. Step away from the cable machine with your arms stretched above your head.
  6. Then bring your hands down keeping the elbow locked out. Pull down your hands until the hands reach the hips.
  7. Extend your arms and stretch them up to the starting position.
  8. Do several reps

Wide Grip Pulldown - Straight Arm PulldownLat Pulldown Machine

There is a lot of lat pull down machines in the market that you can choose from. They are also known as cable machines. A lat pulldown machine a strength training machine. If you want to strengthen your upper body, you can consider using the machine. For example, it targets several upper body muscles such as lats, shoulders, deltoids, arms, and many others depending on the exercises that you will be doing.

As you purchase the machine, you should consider the total weight that can be supported by the machine. The machines differ on the load that they can support. The cheaper ones rarely support the heavier loads. In addition, you can also consider the availability of a bottom pulley. Other machines don’t have the bottom pulley. And the bottom pulley makes you do many variations.

Furthermore, other things that you may consider include the warranty, quality of the machine, weight type, and adjustments.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the wide grip pulldown comes with a lot of benefits. The strength exercise mainly targets the lats muscles. In addition to that, it also exercises other muscles such as the rhomboids, triceps, biceps, spinal erectors and other upper body muscles. Interestingly, if you cannot do the wide grip workout you can do other exercises that target the similar muscles. For instance, the alternative that you can do include low bar pull up, dumbbell rows, and many other exercises discussed above.

In addition, you can get several exercises that you can do using the lat pulldown machine. For example, you can get the steps and benefits of straight arm pulldown, standing pulldown, close grip pull down, and more. Therefore, visit the above text to learn more about doing these exercises correctly.Wide Grip Pulldown - Pulldown Machine

Share your experiences in using the lat pulldown machine. Which pulldown variations do you like doing?

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