close grip lat pulldown

Everything You Need to Know About the Close Grip Lat Pulldown

Want a stronger back? If the answer is yes, you should be performing the close grip lat pulldown in your resistance training. Let’s take a look at the benefits of the close grip lat pulldown, and how to perform it correctly. 

Benefits of the Close Grip Lat Pulldown

The close grip lat pulldown is a great exercise for strengthening your back. Not only is it great for your back, but it also helps improve your posture and arm muscle strength. Unlike traditional lat pulldowns, the close grip lat pulldown allows you to stimulate the lats to a greater effect. When your hands are closer to your body they can work through a greater range of motion. This allows you to engage your lats more. Consequently, there’s more stimulation for muscle and strength growth. 

The close grip lat pulldown also acts as a posture corrector tool. Poor posture is commonly caused by weak muscles in your back. The close grip lat pulldown strengthens the muscles in the back which leads to improved posture. Improved posture, strength, and muscle mass also boost your confidence in and outside the gym. 

Muscles Worked in the Close Grip Lat Pulldown

close grip lat pulldown

The prime mover of the close grip lat pulldown is, of course, the lat muscles. More anatomically known as the latissimus dorsi muscle, the lats are found at your side mid to lower back. They’re what gives your back width. Your lats are also involved in supporting your spine and pulling motions. You’ll use your lats in other movements such as rows and pull-ups. 

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Secondary movers of the close grip lat pulldown assistance in the movement, but aren’t the prime mover. You’ll also work your core, biceps, shoulders, and upper back muscles. 

How to Perform a Close Grip Lat Pulldown With Proper Technique

You can perform close grip lat pulldowns on an adjustable cable machine or pulldown machine. 

  1. Set up the pulldown machine with a close grip attachment handle. 
  2. Begin in the seated position with your torso facing the machine. Secure your upper thighs under the knee pads. 
  3. Grip the attachment with your palms facing each other. 
  4. Tighten your core, pull your shoulder blades together, and squeeze your buttock. 
  5. During the concentric phase, lean slightly back while pulling the bar down to your upper chest. Pause briefly while squeezing your lats down. Then, during the eccentric phase slowly return to the top. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Muscle Does Close Grip Lat Pulldown Work? 

Close grip lat pulldowns primarily work your lats. They’ll also work your core, biceps, shoulders, and traps to a lesser extent. 

What Can I Do Instead of Lat Pulldown?

Perform exercises that primarily target the lats during your workouts. Pull-ups, dumbbell rows, barbell rows, landmine rows, and barbell pullovers are all great alternatives for upper body training.  

Michaela Summers

Michaela Summers is a health and fitness content creator. She holds a BSc in Exercise and Sport Sciences and a Master of Research in Health and Wellbeing from the University of Exeter. She is on a mission to help people live a fulfilling, impactful life through fitness and lifestyle. When she's not writing, she can be found in the gym, playing tennis, or exploring the great outdoors.

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