Lat Pulldown Lowdown (WHICH WAY IS BEST?)

Build a bigger back by doing every back exercise the right way!

The lat pulldown is one of the biggest staple back workout exercises for building a big back. The problem is, there are so many different ways to do it and not knowing the differences between each can cost you the muscle gains that you are doing it for. In this video I show you how changing the type of handle or attachment you use, the angle of your body during the exercise, and where you pull the bar can make a huge difference in your ultimate results.

Walk into any gym and you’ll likely see three different guys do the lat pulldown exercise three different ways. One will be doing a behind the neck pulldown, another a close grip pulldown and yet another an underhand grip pulldown. Which is right? That’s a loaded question. Once isn’t necessarily more right than the others (though I can tell you to ditch the behind the neck version right away if you want to keep those healthy shoulders of yours!) as it depends on what back muscles you are attempting to target.

If you want to hit the upper back and mid back (rhomboids, lower traps, upper traps) to build back thickness, then you will want to lean back slightly when you do the pulldown exercise. You actually will look like you are performing an incline dumbbell press, but in reverse. This will hit higher up on the back and work on the front to back depth rather than the width and v taper.

If you want to develop more of that v-taper in your lats though, you are going to want to sit very upright and pull your elbows down into your sides as far as you can. This will require that you use a bar or handle that allows this range of motion. I find that there are only two good attachments for this; the dual handles or the bar that is bent in the middle to allow clearance for your head. Either way, you want to keep your elbows in line with your ears to maximize the lat widening effects of the lat pulldown exercise.

It’s the very small tweaks on back exercises like these, and any exercise for that matter, that determines just how fast you will see results from them. Back workouts can only help you build a bigger back if you are doing the exercises correctly. If you want to start building wider lats fast, then start training like an athlete with the ATHLEAN-X Training System available at

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