How to Build Impressive Muscle and Back Strength with the Wide Grip Pulldown

Build a better back.

This complete guide will teach you everything you need to know about the Wide Grip Pulldown.

What is the Wide Grip Pulldown?

The Wide Grip Pulldown is a cable back exercise that uses a pronated and expansive grip to work the back and upper body.

What Muscles Does the Wide Grip Pulldown Work?

The exercise primarily targets and improves the lats.

The latissimus dorsi are the largest muscle group located on the back of the human body. They are hugely important for all pulling exercises and provide stability and support for the spine.

The Wide Grip Pulldown also tests and improves the:

  • Grip
  • Forearms
  • Core and abs
  • Biceps
  • Shoulders
  • Upper Back

Your core must work hard throughout the full range of motion to balance the body and movement of the load.

The grip and arms are taxed hard as well.

What are the Benefits of the Wide Grip Pulldown?

So, why should you include this exercise in your training plan?

Build Muscle Mass

The Wide Grip Pulldown is a staple in the majority of bodybuilding programs. This is because it works effectively to build muscle when programmed intelligently into a hypertrophy program.

Enhance Upper Body Pulling Strength

The movement will help any athlete to build a stronger back and a more powerful upper body.

Wide Grip Pulldown

Bigger, Better Lats

The exercise will work the outer part of the lats more than the regular Lat Pulldown. The wider version also places less demand on the forearms and grip, meaning that the lats must work ever harder.

Improved Posture

The range of motion and body positioning forces the lifter to remain with a straight spine, proud chest and solid upright position.

This is excellent for the human body because it will help to remedy the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle spent sitting for long periods of time.

How to Do the Wide Grip Pulldown

Follow these instructions.

  • Adjust the seat and the pad to the right height for your body.
  • Reach up and grip the bar with your hands wider than shoulder width apart
  • Straighten the spine and bring the chest forwards
  • Pull the shoulder blades back and down
  • Inhale and tense your core, glutes and grip
  • Pull the bar down until it reaches your upper chest
  • Pause for a second and squeeze the lats as tightly as possible
  • Return the bar to the starting position and exhale
  • Allow the shoulder to internally rotate and shrug slightly at the top of the movement
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps

Technique Tips

Don’t hyperextend your back and pull with an excessive arch.

On the other hand, don’t let your body hunch forwards.

Brace the core tight at all times.

Don’t use momentum to move the weight. This will result in less strength and muscle gains because your lats will have less work to do.

Make sure that the head doesn’t push forwards during any stage of the lift.

If you want to make the movement harder, as well as adding more weight you can also use a false grip (don’t wrap your thumbs under the bar).


If you want to add variety to your training and challenge your back and body in new ways, consider these variations.

  • Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown
  • Resistance Band Lat Pulldown
  • Alternating Single Arm Lat Pulldown (use handle instead)


These alternatives allow you to find a suitable substitute for the Wide Grip Pulldown.


Got more questions? Scroll through our answers.

What’s the Difference between Wide Grip and Close Grip Lat Pulldowns?

The difference is in the positioning of the hands on the bar, and of the technique of the pull.

  • Wide Grip Technique – The arms pull out and back and are not tucked in towards the body
  • Close Grip Technique – The arms are pulled in close to the body with the elbows tucked into the sides

Lat Pulldown vs Pull Ups: Which is Better?

These movement will both add muscle and strength to your back and lats. The Pull Up is harder and can take time to progress up to proper form. The Lat Pulldown can be an excellent choice to help athletes gain sufficient strength for full Pull Ups.

Both pull in different ways so there is a place for each exercise within your back training.

Does Lat Pulldown Build Biceps?

Yes, Lat Pulldowns do build biceps. Biceps are generally involved in all pulling movements so you will get stronger, bigger arms from the Lat Pulldown.

Learn More

Add these lat exercises and the Chin Up into your training.

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