The Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives and Substitutes [2022] - The Gym Lab (2023)

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Erin Jamieson

Erin Jamieson is passionate about health and fitness and makes it a priority in her life every year. When you don't see her walking around campus doing her day job, you might find her at the gym or in her home studio testing out another piece of equipment.

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AlatPulldown is one of the best exercises to target and build biceps and other muscles. But more and more people are looking for alternatives.

While a lat pulldown offers the best in terms of targeted muscle strengthening, muscle development improvement, and overall shoulder muscle development, it's far from a perfect solution.

Wrong, a lat pulldown or straight-arm pulldown can cause injury, especially from ordinary onesMistakelike using the forearms instead of the back; Drop your elbows back or perform the lat pulldown too fast.

The other problem? require lat pulldownsexercise equipment, usually in the form of a cable machine (lat machine). Cablepulley machinesare available at most gyms, but if you don't have a gym membership, there's a good chance you don't have a cable machine.

A cable machine (pulldown machine) costs anywhere from a few hundred to even a few thousand dollars and can be quite heavy and take up a lot of space.

While lat pulldowns are an excellent exercise, there is a need for alternatives. In this article, we'll provide you with a guide to the best alternatives, then we'll provide you with frequently asked questions about lat pulldown exercises.


  • 1. Pull-ups

    The Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives and Substitutes [2022] - The Gym Lab (3)

    what the exercise is

    The classic pull-up is a staple for a reason. Like a lat pulldown, pull-ups primarily target the back muscles. In general, performing a pull-up requires three phases: the first position, hanging from the floor; the middle position when you pull halfway up and the final position when your chin goes over the bar.

    To do a proper pull-up, you should grasp the bar with both hands shoulder-width apart and hang your elbows outward.

    As you pull yourself up, your back should be held tight, but you should be careful not to strain your neck too much. After your chin clears the bar, come down to complete one rep.

    The advantages

    Pull-ups are beneficial in many ways. For one, lat pulldowns, pull-ups are considered a compound exercise, meaning they engage multiple joints and muscles at once, primarily for the upper body and back. Unlike some full-body or even upper-body exercises, pull-ups are actually relatively easy on the joints.

    muscles targeted

    Pull-ups primarily target the upper back (latissimus dorsi) as well as other shoulder and bicep muscles (such as the trapezius, muscles along the spine, scapula, and muscles under the armpit). As you can see, pull ups are one of the easiest alternatives to pull downs.

    Equipment needed

    require pull-upsa simple pull-up barNot only is this widely used in gyms, but it's also easy to install at home and costs anywhere from under twenty to around a hundred dollars.

    The Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives and Substitutes [2022] - The Gym Lab (4)

    KOMSURF pull-up bar | Amazon

    39,99 $

    This is an ultimate body sculpting and strength building tool that helps sculpt your upper body and tone your core. Can be used for pull ups, hanging leg raises, push ups, pull ups, dips, crunches and more.

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    16.03.2023 10:19 |

    (Video) 4 Lat Pulldown ALTERNATIVES You Must Try!!

    The disadvantages

    Pull-ups are notoriously difficult to perform unless you already have upper body strength, especially relative to your total weight. For some, it can be difficult to start or make progress with the exercise. For better or worse, they mostly target the upper back. Those who want to lose significant weight should introduce pull-ups later.

    2. Decline dumbbell pull over

    The Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives and Substitutes [2022] - The Gym Lab (5)

    A rejectiondumbAnother alternative to the lat pulldown, the L sweater can in many ways feel less intimidating for anyone not used to gym equipment or all-in-ones. In fact, a negative bar is an exercise you can do right at home.

    what the exercise is

    A negative dumbbell is a relatively easy exercise that involves lying on a bench (incline preferred) with dumbbells in both hands. To perform the exercise, arms are raised above lower chest with elbows bent as you lower the barbell. The arms should be kept parallel to the floor and then lowered back down.

    The advantages

    A barbell sweater is considered a fairly effective exercise for building upper body muscles. Mostly classified as an "isolation exercise" for the chest, the barbell pullover has some secondary benefits like triceps and lats.

    muscles targeted

    Primarily targets the chest with secondary work on the triceps and lats.

    Equipment needed

    You needa good dumbbell set, whose weight can vary depending on your progress, as well as a decreasing bank. Both are relatively affordable home gym equipment, and both can be found at almost any gym.

    Bowflex SelectTech 560 Hanteln | Bowflex

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    The disadvantages

    Because it's an isolated exercise, you won't be as robust in terms of total body/upper body synergy and muscle building as you are with the lat pulldown. It's also important to note that the benefit of using a negative bar depends on how well and with what precision you perform the activity.

    3. Kroc ranks

    The Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives and Substitutes [2022] - The Gym Lab (7)

    If you're particularly interested in building strength and doing it without any machine equipment, Kroc Rows may be one of the best alternatives to a lat pulldown. They're also fairly customizable, meaning you can adapt as you gain strength.

    what the exercise is

    Kroc rows are a form of dumbbell rows that typically use heavier weights and are performed bent over. Although you can decide what makes sense for you, this exercise tends to be high reps but small ranges at a time, most commonly in sets of twenty.

    Fitness-GuruMatt Kroczaleskisuggests a specific technique: as you begin your rep, drop your shoulders so you're stretching your back muscles. When you raise your arms, your shoulder blades, not your arm, should carry most of the weight. To complete a rep, the barbell comes up to your chest and is then lowered to the original position.

    The advantages

    Kroc Rows offer a number of benefits. One of the most notable exercises - and unlike a lat pulldown - is the grip workout. Knot rows help you build a stronger grip, and this grip training can serve you well with other exercises. It's also helpful for overall back strength and shape.

    muscles targeted

    As an alternative to the lat pulldown, kroc rows are often known for their back muscle building benefits. You'll see improved strength, like pulldowns, latissimus dorsi, as well as secondary benefits for the obliques, biceps, and traps.

    Equipment needed

    Like a declinedumbbell, this is one of the best alternatives to a lat pulldown when it comes to saving space from a bulky machine. However, since Kroc Rows require heavier weights, it can get more expensive depending on your current level. Nevertheless, the equipment is simple:dumbbellsand an adjustable bench. See how two of the most popular dumbbell brands compareHere.

    our recommendation

    The Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives and Substitutes [2022] - The Gym Lab (8)

    Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbells | Amazon

    399,99 $

    The Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbells are ultimately the better option. They are ideal for a heavyweight lifter looking to increase weight limit and therefore strength over time, which is not possible with the Bowflex dumbbells.

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    16.03.2023 18:24 |

    The disadvantages

    Because this exercise is done hunched over, it can be more taxing if done improperly or for someone prone to back problems. While it's an excellent grip training practice, it's also one exercise where it's a good idea to have someone spot you.

    4. Elastic resistance pulldowns

    The Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives and Substitutes [2022] - The Gym Lab (9)

    Lat pulldowns with elastic resistance are also on our list of the best lat pulldown alternatives. As the name suggestselastic resistancePulldowns involve elastic bands to provide the resistance needed to achieve some of these strength benefits.

    what the exercise is

    They can perform with a wide or narrow grip technique, but the basic premise is that you grab an elastic band with one hand and use the other to fasten the door around the middle of the band.

    Usually you also use a foam anchor. The activity is performed by kneeling in front of the door and using a "chest up and out" position.

    You can see how to do this activity here:

    (Video) Best Lat Pulldown Machine? Bells of Steel Lat Tower Low Row Review

    The advantages

    Obviously, elastic resistance pulldowns give you a lot of resistance as you do reps. The ability to do both wide and narrow grip pulldowns is excellent, as is the ability to set up this exercise almost anywhere. It's especially helpful for targeting lats.

    muscles targeted

    While an elastic pulldown may not work as many muscle groups, it will target the lats if that's an area of ​​interest and/or concern. Other muscle groups worked are the biceps and shoulders. It's also something anyone can do effectively, regardless of overall fitness or weight.

    Equipment needed

    To perform this lat pulldown alternative you will need aResistance band and foam anchor, both cheap. Interestingly, in many ways this activity is ideal for home use.

    The Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives and Substitutes [2022] - The Gym Lab (10)

    Resistance Bands Set | Amazon

    Resistance bands can be a great and inexpensive piece of exercise equipment, but as with any piece of fitness equipment, proper use is a crucial aspect to ensure safe and proper functioning.

    Buy from

    We earn a commission when you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

    The disadvantages

    Elastic resistance pulldowns might require closer attention to learn when compared to other lat pulldown alternatives because the steps to set them up are different than other activities.

    While elastic resistance pulldowns target the lats, they don't give you the same complete and nuanced upper body workout as a lat pulldown, so it's best to combine this activity with other upper body workouts.

    5. TRX pull-ups

    The Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives and Substitutes [2022] - The Gym Lab (11)

    TRXPull-ups are one of the lesser-known alternatives, but are lauded for being friendlier to those who might be starting a strength-training program. They're also in demand by those who don't have access to the equipment needed for a lat pulldown or who can't do a traditional pullup.

    what the exercise is

    Think of a TRX as a kind of modified pull-up. In fact, many use TRX pull-ups to slowly build strength and work their way up to traditional pull-ups.

    To do this pull-up and lat pulldown alternative, you need to hold on to the TRX handles so that your arms are forward and your knees are bent about ninety degrees. To get the full effect, you need to squeeze the handles while focusing on your abs and upper body.

    The advantages

    The great thing about a TRX pullup is that more can do it. They're still training and still strengthening, but it doesn't require as much upper body strength to begin with. For many, it can pave the way to completing pull-ups. It also works the core, which many lat pulldown alternatives don't focus on, so it's a good exercise to add to your training routine.

    muscles targeted

    TRXPull-ups specifically target the core, meaning you can work your abs while also seeing gradual improvements in upper body strength.

    Equipment needed

    TRX pull-ups may not require as bulky equipment as a lat pull-down, but they nonetheless require specialized equipment. You need oneTRX suspension kit, retails around a hundred dollars.

    The Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives and Substitutes [2022] - The Gym Lab (12)

    TRX All-in-One Sling Training | Amazon

    169,95 $

    TRX delivers proven results in less time, regardless of your physical condition or fitness goals. Our patented TRX Suspension Trainer and professionally created TRX workouts allow you to build strength, power and mobility - whenever you want, wherever you want.

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    03/16/2023 10:24 am |

    (Video) Back Exercises Ranked (BEST TO WORST!)

    The disadvantages

    It's still an investment and again could be seen as less intuitive. For anyone who can already do standard pull-ups, this may not be the best alternative since upper body strength is the main goal of the muscle group.

    Do I need alternatives to lat pulldowns?

    The Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives and Substitutes [2022] - The Gym Lab (13)

    Without a doubt, there is much to praise about lat pulldowns. However, whether you need to look for alternatives depends on your lifestyle, access and budget. While a pulldown can be a great workout for your biceps (in addition to your lat muscles), it certainly has some downsides.

    Even if you have access to the right onesfitness equipment, it's also good to vary your strength training. Finding the best lat pulldown alternatives can improve overall conditioning, reduce the risk of injury, and develop muscle in more nuanced ways.

    So even if you enjoy a lat pulldown workout, you'll likely benefit from finding some of the best alternatives.

    How do you find the best alternatives for a lat pulldown?

    The best lat pulldown alternatives accomplish one of two things: either they largely mimic the movement and benefits of a lat pulldown, or they offer more targeted muscle toning.

    While you won't be able to find a workout that's exactly like a lat pulldown, the best alternatives offer many of the same benefits and may also prove to be more accessible, both in terms of skill and equipment required.

    What can I do instead of pull-ups?

    A lot of times people think of pullups when they talk about lat pulldowns and alternatives—although it's important to keep in mind that a lat pulldown is different than a standard pullup.

    There are several alternatives to keep in mind considering that not everyone can do pull ups or chin ups. As we cover more and more detail, some common alternatives include assisted pull-ups; ribbon pull-downs; and work with weights in other ways.

    Where to buy the equipment

    Almost all of this fitness equipment can be purchased through a sports supply company, chain, or online vendors like Amazon. Seeing the equipment in person is ideal when investing in a machine.

    Frequently asked questions about pulldowns

    What muscles work when doing a lat pulldown?

    A lat pulldown works not just one, but several muscles at the same time, which is why it is considered one of the more effective exercises for a comprehensive strengthening workout. The main muscle, latissimus dorsi, the most prominent muscle in the upper body/back, is responsible for straightening and horizontally spreading and rotating the arm. In addition, a lat pulldown trains biceps and forearms.

    What are lat pulldowns good for?

    A lat pulldown can work many muscles at the same time, but is also considered a targeted muscle workout. It's also said to promote synergy between different muscle groups, meaning they move more effectively and in conjunction with each other. They can also help reduce pain from common problems related to poor posture and hunching, and of course provide the general benefits of muscle toning (increased metabolic rate and reduced risk of osteoporosis and arthritis).

    How do you do a lat pulldown correctly?

    A proper lat pulldown can not only improve exercise benefits, but also help prevent injuries. As you use the pull machine, you should bring your chest up to the bar with your elbows straight down and your chin down right around the bar. It's also important to tighten your lats while doing the pulldown.

    What is a standing pulldown?

    A standing lat pulldown combines two main exercises: the lat pulldown with the row. It's still very targeted muscle work, but you'll be targeting in a different way than the lat pulldown, but you'll still build muscle in your back. This modified exercise works with a barbell on the back of the rack at waist height and a wide-grip bar.

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