Top 5 Resistance Band Lat Pulldown Exercises
Ah, the Lat Pulldown. An excellent exercise that not only helps you get stronger but also helps improve your posture. The banded lat pulldown is a versatile exercise for people of all fitness levels. It’s primarily used to strengthen your back.
Muscle Groups in the Banded Lat Pulldown
The primary muscle groups that are targeted with the banded lat pulldown are, you guessed it, your lats. Your lats are located in the lower/mid-back (the latissimus dorsi) and are the largest muscles of the back.
You will use your lats in most “pull” exercises and they provide support and stability to your spine.
The secondary muscle groups worked by incorporating lat pulldowns into your workout routine include the biceps, forearms, abs, delts, and upper back. The lats will do most of the work for this lat pulldown exercise but because these other muscles are contracting throughout the process, they are also getting a bit of a workout. You should be activating your abs to help stabilize your middle while completing this resistance band lat pulldown exercise.
Top Benefits of Banded Lat Pulldowns
The three main benefits of banded lat pulldowns are functional and convenient:
- Better posture
The first major benefit of completing these lat pulldown exercises is posture. The banded lat pulldown is one of the best exercises you can do to improve your posture. Since it works such a major muscle group that also contributes to keeping you upright, improved posture is a nice benefit from activating the under-utilized back muscles we know as “the lats”. It’s the best option for gaining muscles.
- Stronger/larger lats
While it may not always be about size for us, strength is a certain benefit of this exercise. Using a resistance band for this lat pulldown exercise ensures that your lat pulldown targets the lats at the bottom of each rep. This means the muscles will be working harder throughout the full exercise motion, maximizing the contraction of the lats to build a stronger back.
A secondary result is that your lat muscles will actually be larger in size if you’re working out for aesthetics.
Functionally speaking, a strong back is required for more complex compound exercises as well as daily activities like staying upright.
Another huge benefit of the banded lat pulldown is that it’s massively convenient. If you have a resistance band, you can do the lat pulldown exercise.
You don’t require a gym with fancy cable machines or other attachments that need to be drilled in a door frame. All you need is a band you can get in our body gym shop, which is often much less than $20 if you know where to shop. Plus, the band can be used for many other exercises, too!
To complete this resistance band lat pulldown exercise (and it’s variations) at home, you’re going to need a few things:
- A resistance band (with or without handles)
- An elevated hook
- A door frame
- Or another stable object to secure the band
You’ll attach the band to the elevated hook or door frame and take the appropriate position for each lat pulldown exercise variation.
The general movement of this exercise is to extend the arms upwards, grab the handles or band with your palms facing forward (slightly wider than shoulder-width apart), and bracing your core, bring the shoulder blades down and back while pulling on the band until it reaches chest level.
To get the maximum benefit from this resistance band lat pulldown exercise you’ll want to pause at the bottom while squeezing your lats (try pushing down), and return (in a controlled movement) to the starting position. Make sure to maintain the tightness in your core to control the movement.
- Single-arm lat pulldown
This is exactly what it sounds like!
Instead of using both hands (bilateral), you’ll simply use one hand for this movement, completing all reps for each arm before moving on to the next.
You’ll want to focus on the mind-muscle connection between your single-arm and that same side of your back.
- Wide-grip lat pulldown
Again, the name of the movement is fairly obvious here. This resistance band lat pulldown exercise focuses on the entire width of your back and is good for improving overall strength.
If you’re looking to get stronger in order to focus on compound movements like pull-ups or focus on the whole range of motion, this is the lat movement for you.
You’ll still want to engage your core with this movement and avoid leaning back/using the leaning motion to pull down more weight.
- Behind-Neck lat pulldown
This variation is often overlooked, but shouldn’t be discounted. If you have the range of motion to pull the resistance band behind your neck, you should consider using this lat pulldown movement.
This variation allows for a stronger lat contraction, meaning the muscles actually get a better workout with this movement. This movement does have a higher risk of injury though, so be careful when incorporating it and start with a lower level of a resistance band. Progress to heavier bands from there.
Be sure to incorporate proper cooldown and stretching with this lat pulldown exercise, since it’s not a natural movement for many of us.
- Close-grip lat pulldown
Instead of a wide or shoulder-width grip, using a close-grip for your lat pulldown will target the center of your back (where the wide grip spreads the target across the back). Are you seeing the trend here?
You’ll want to lean slightly back for this option, so the band comes straight down in front of your chest for a full range of motion.
Again, keep the movement slow and controlled for maximum benefit.
- Reverse close-grip lat pulldown
This movement is the same as the last, except your palms will be facing you.
It’s great for targeting the lower lats and also activates your biceps. Instead of mimicking a pull-up, this lat pulldown mimics a chin-up! So, if you’re progressing towards chin-ups, this is the movement for you.
Keep in mind, the closer your hands are together, the more activation will be in the center of the back. If you like chin-ups, you’ll like this exercise.
And there you have it, how to complete a lat pulldown from the comfort of your own home, using only resistance bands, and five variations of the resistance band lat pulldown exercise!
What is your favorite variation? Let us know in the comments.