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What Is The Best Alternative To Lat Pulldown?

Want a perfectly sculpted back? 

The lat pulldown is the most effective way to strengthen and sculpt the back. This machine works the latissimus dorsi (or wings), the largest group of muscles in the back. 

Hence the name: lat pulldown. Whether you want to build strength, sculpt or bulk up, this machine will get you there.

But what if you can’t make it to the gym? 

Maybe you don’t like working out at the gym, don’t have time or simply can’t afford it. Should you give up the dream of having a perfectly toned back?

Man Posing With Muscled Back

Not way! 

There are various lat pulldown alternative exercises that you can perform in the comfort of your home. 

These alternatives will work those lats and other muscles in your upper back and arms to give you great results.

Benefits Of The Lat Pulldown Exercise 

The Lat pulldown machine can be used with different movements to target different muscles in the upper body including the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, deltoids, serratus anterior, rhomboids and even the biceps. 

Strengthening these muscles will enhance your ability to pull, lift, throw, catch or swing objects. 

It can also enhance flexibility in the shoulders and the elbows. This makes it beneficial for improving performance in just about any sport.

The movements on the lat pulldown need to be performed with proper form and at a steady pace to strengthen and condition the muscles of the upper and lower back. 

Rushing through the movement will only result in injury. These muscles will be better able to provide your upper body with the support it needs ensuring better posture.

Alternative Exercises To The Lat Pulldown You Can Do At Home

Not everyone has access to this machine. 

There are various lat pulldown alternative exercises you can do without the need for special gym equipment. 

These alternative exercises can be performed at home and will give you similar benefits.

Chin Ups

Also known as the pull up, this movement mimics the motion of the lat pulldown but involves pulling your body up. 

It is the gold standard in lat pulldown alternative exercises as it targets the same muscle groups.

To perform chin-ups, you’ll require something to grapple and elevate your body such as a pull-up bar. Ensure that it is sturdy enough to support your weight.

Grab onto the bar and lift your body upward by bending your elbows. Lower your body down to the original position to complete one rep.

You can increase the challenge by changing your grip or widening it. Start off with 10 to 15 reps. 

This exercise is notoriously difficult but highly effective for working those muscles in the back.

Band Assisted Chin Ups

Chin-ups can be a difficult movement for people who lack upper body strength or are just starting out. 

This variation involves the use of a large band to support your weight and therefore make the movement more manageable. 

It allows you to build your upper body strength. You can then move on to the classic chin-up when your muscles are strong enough.

Secure a large elastic resistance band on the pull-up bar. Place your foot in the loop of the band and pull your body up like with the classic chin-up. 

The band gives you an extra boost to make the chin-up easier while allowing you to strengthen the muscles in your upper back and arms.  

Elastic Band Resistance Pulldowns

These are a popular lat pulldown alternative. The elastic bands can help you mimic different variations of the lat pulldown.

Secure the bands to the top of the door. Some bands come with an anchor for this. 

Alternatively, tie the midpoint of the band into a knot and shut it into the top of the door. Stand facing the door with a handle of the band in each hand. 

Both hands should be extended up toward where the band is anchored. Step back until there is tension in the band. 

Pull your hands down to your hips. Let your elbows lead placing the emphasis on the muscles in your back.

You can increase the challenge by increasing the tension on the bands or using a heavier band. You can also perform the exercise while seated or kneeling.

Bent-Over Rows

If you have a pair of dumbells or a barbell, you can work your lats and some of the other pulling muscles in your back and arms with bent-over rows. 

You’ll also be working your core as a bonus with this movement.

Hold a barbell or dumbells in front of you and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hinge forward from your hips and bend your knees slightly for stability.

Keep your back flat, chest forward and shoulders back. Extend both arms out and let the weight hang down.  

Pull both weight up to chest level leading with your elbows. Stop the motion when the elbows are above the plane of your torso. 

Lower the weights back to starting position to complete a repetition. This should be a smooth motion. 

The arms should stay close to the body throughout the movement.

Band Pull-Apart

This exercise is excellent for strengthening the muscles in the upper back. You only need an exercise band meaning you can do this movement anytime and anywhere.

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart for support. Hold the exercise band with both arms up and extended in front of you at shoulder height. 

Grip the band with your palms facing down. 

Keep your core tight, shoulders up and chest out. Pull the band out by extending the arms to either side. 

Your arms should be fully extended out on either side of your body at the end of the movement. Return your arms to starting position to complete a rep.

You can increase the challenge by using heavier and thicker resistance bands. 

You can also put more emphasis on muscle contraction by holding for a few seconds when the band is fully extended.

There’s no excuse for not getting a good upper body workout. 

With these lat pulldown alternative exercises, you can strengthen and sculpt your back in the comfort of your home.

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