Wide Grip Lat Pulldown 101 Guide - Proper Form & Benefits

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: November 25, 2023
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Wide grip lat pulldown is known as the best upper back workout for sculpting that V-taper as it works the outer portion of the lats more than the traditional lat pulldown.

But, if this exercise is done wrong, it may be very bad for your shoulders. And so, I gathered all the information you need to know to prevent injury and reap the best results.

Quick Summary

  • The best wide grip lat pulldown variations are close grip lat pulldowns, cable straight arm pulldowns, and resistance band kneeling lat pulldowns.
  • Alternatives to wide grip lat pulldown include wide grip pullups, face pull, and dual pulley pulldowns.
  • The benefits of wide-grip lat pulldown workouts are improved overall upper body strength, improved posture, and stability on the shoulders.
  • Muscles being worked upon from wide grip lat pulldown variations include latissimus dorsi, arms muscles, and middle back muscle.

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown Muscles Worked

Working muscles when performing wide grip pulldown

Primary Muscle

Latissimus dorsi

Wide grip lat pulldown primarily targets the latissimus dorsi or lats.

It is a large, triangularly shaped back muscle that helps you do things like pull ups exercises, swimming, and even breathing.

Secondary Muscles

Middle back Muscle

While your lats do most of the work to bring down the weight, it also targets the middle back muscle and helps sculpt the V-shaped back.

Arm muscles

This lat pulldown variation also grows the biceps as good as barbell curls and flexibly performs arms and shoulder activities.

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown Benefits

This upper back exercise provides many benefits when executed well:

  • Increases the width of your back muscle [1]
  • Improves overall upper body strength
  • Improves posture
  • Brings stability to your shoulder and arms

How to do Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

Guy performing wide grip lat pulldown alone


You will need a lat pulldown machine found in the gym. If working out at home, you need a cable device to set the resistance from a high angle and a lat bar attachment.


  1. Sit on the lat pull-down machine. Lock in your legs using the knee pads. Keep your lower back in a straight position.
  2. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip, your hands wider than shoulder width apart, and arms completely extended.


  1. Exhale as you pull the bar down slowly until it reaches your chest.
  2. Pause for a count or two and contract your shoulder blades.
  3. Inhale and slowly return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the movement for recommended reps.


Complete at least 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps of this exercise and adjust the number of sets and reps as you go on to challenge yourself.

Other similar exercises:

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown Mistakes

1. Using your arms too much

Pulling using too much of your biceps makes it more of a shoulders workout than a lats isolation workout. Do more work on your back muscles by using your elbows to pull the bar down.

2. Leaning too far back

Leaning too far back does not primarily target the lats, so try to lean back slightly and perform the pull in proper form.

3. Pulling the bar behind your neck

It is dangerous to pull the bar behind your neck because it is an unnatural movement. It may cause various shoulder injuries, so avoid performing the lat pull in this form.

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown Variations

lat pulldownClose Grip Lat Pulldown

  1. Sit in front of the device. Lock in your legs using the knee pads.
  2. Grab the bar closer than shoulder width palms facing forward.
  3. Pull it down until it reaches your chest, aim to keep your torso steady.
  4. Release the bar and repeat!


resistance band kneeling lat pulldownResistance Band Kneeling Lat Pulldown

  1. Grasp the resistance bands with your palms facing out.
  2. Get down on one knee, lean slightly forward with your head between your arms.
  3. Bring the bands down, squeeze your shoulder blades, and pause.
  4. Release the bands and repeat!


Cable Straight Arm PulldownCable Straight Arm Pulldown

  1. Stand under the pulley and hold the bar with an overhand grip shoulder width apart.
  2. Keep your arms straight, squeeze your back muscle and pull down until it reaches your thigh.
  3. Release the bar and repeat!

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown Alternatives

Man doing a wide grip lat pullup

Wide Grip Pull Up1. Wide Grip Pullup

Pullup exercises are great back, shoulders, and core workouts.

Grasp the bar with your palms facing forward. Keep your lower body straight, squeeze your lats to pull your body upwards until your chin reaches the bar. Slowly return to the starting position.



Dual Pulley Pulldowns2. Dual Pulley Pulldowns

Sit in position and grab both single hand grips. Pull down with your hands wider than your shoulders, squeeze your lats. Bring the weight back up to complete one repetition.



face-pulls3. Face Pull

Grab the handle with an overhand grip. Step about two steps back. Pull the handles towards you, and the handles should go either side of your face. Return to the starting position to complete one repetition.


  1. https://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/back-exercises/6-lat-pulldown-variations-build-bigger-back
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