8 Ways to Do Lat Pulldowns With Bands for Size and Strength
Build your back with lat pulldowns at home with the perfect tool— resistance band lat pulldowns. Performing various types of resistance band lat pulldowns will help you get that coveted V-taper look with ease. Try these variations during your next back workout
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With gyms across the world closed, many of us have turned to at-home workouts as our saving grace.
From workout videos and treadmill desks to bikes and band workouts, finding a way to exercise while we are stuck at home is more essential now than ever before.
Using resistance bands, especially for your lats, can be a useful tool when working out from home. The resistance band lat pulldown is an excellent exercise to help grow and strengthen your lat muscles.
To understand how to train the lats, we must first know what they are, where they are located, and how they function.
Lat Pulldown Muscles
The lats or latissimus dorsi muscles are broad, flat muscles located mainly in the middle and lower back, connecting your arm to your spine.
Functions of the lats include:
- Help protect and stabilize your vertebrae
- Provide shoulder and back strength
- Help with shoulder and back movements
- Reinforces posture
People always hear bodybuilders, in particular, talk about the importance of the lat muscles.
I have often heard people talk about how their lats give their upper bodies a broader and V-tapered look.
The V-taper can give you the appearance of a slimmer waist and is a visually appealing standard that many people strive for.
Every lifter knows that if you want the illusion of a smaller waist, you have to build your upper body and back, especially your back.
Lats, like many other muscles, can be challenging to grow.
Without a proper diet, including plenty of protein, and correct training, you will not see improvement in your lat muscles or any other muscles, for that matter.
While there are many machines you can find at the gym to help build your lats, doing resistance band lat pulldowns at home can get the job done.
Types of Resistance Bands for Lat Pulldowns At Home:
- Loop bands
- Power bands
- Tube resistance bands with handles
- Door bands
Lat pulldowns are universally believed to be one of the best types of exercises to build back muscles.
Although most people probably think of the pulldown cable machine for building lats, that is not the only option.
There are several lat exercise variations you can do in the comfort of your own home.
Doing resistance band lat pulldowns has many benefits. Doing banded pulldowns can help build a bigger and stronger back.
Not only can it increase your back size, but it can also help your posture.
Using bands instead of a cable machine allows you to do these exercises anywhere, adding a level of convenience you would not have otherwise.
How to Do Resistance Band Lat Pulldowns
Straight Stiff Arm Lat Pulldowns
Straight arm pulldowns primarily target your lats. However, these specific resistance band lat pulldowns also target your chest, triceps, shoulders and, upper-back.
If you keep your core tight during this exercise (as directed) can also result in the use of your abs.
- Attach your tube resistance bands with handles to an elevated hook, such as a door anchor.
- Facing your door, kneel on the ground.
- Place your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Grab one handle in each hand, keeping your arms straight.
- Keep your palms facing down.
- Slightly bend forward while maintaining a tight back and core.
- Engage your lats and pull the handles down to your thighs.
Resistance Band Seated Lat Pulldowns
Seated resistance band lat pulldowns are one of the best exercises to target muscle growth in your lats. Unlike other pulldowns, the seated lat pulldowns focus specifically on your lats so that you won’t tire out your biceps or triceps.
- Secure your theraband to your door anchor.
- Sit on a chair with an upright posture and your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Make sure your feet are flat to the ground.
- Grab one side of the band in each hand.
- Bring each side of the band slightly farther out than shoulder-width apart.
- Squeeze your back and try to bring your elbows to the sides of your rib cage.
- Bringing your arms closer will make this move more challenging.
Supinated Lat Pulldowns
The supinated or reverse grip lat pulldown will help strengthen not only your lats but your biceps, shoulders and, forearms as well.
- Secure your resistance bands with handles to your door frame or door anchor.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, facing the door.
- Grip your handles in both hands with your palms facing up.
- Move away from the door while holding both bands, making sure your bands are not loose and have some sort of resistance.
- Kneel on one knee.
- Bend slightly at the waist, make sure your chest is facing the door, and your back is flat, not rounded.
- Pull through your elbow until your elbows are at your sides.
- Return until your shoulders and arms are extended.
Single Arm Pulldown
Single-arm pulldowns will work your shoulders, lats, traps, and rhomboids. Single-arm pulldowns are perfect for people who feel they have asymmetric lats.
- Secure a loop band to an elevated surface.
- Start by looping your hand through the band and grasping onto it.
- Your hand should be facing towards you.
- Then kneel onto the ground with the leg on the opposite side of the arm you are using.
- Make sure to squeeze your glute and tighten your core.
- Take your arm (that should be fully extended) and in a straight down motion, bring your elbow to your side.
- Slowly release and repeat on each side.
Narrow Grip Pulldowns
Narrow grip pulldowns are a great lat pulldown with bands variation when you need to do lat pulldowns at home. Narrow grip uses your lats, as well as your biceps, shoulders, abs, and upper back.
- Attach your resistance bands with handles to a door anchor.
- Grab the handles with your palms facing in towards one another.
- Kneel on both legs or sit on the ground.
- Straighten your back and tighten your core.
- Pull the bands down until the handles are by your upper chest and your elbows are next to your sides.
Wide Grip Pulldowns with Resistance Bands
Wide grip pulldowns work all major muscles in the back. Make sure to keep your core tight, grip loose, back neutral, and neck relaxed to avoid straining or injury. It is also essential that you do not use more resistance than you can handle—start light.
- Lock your resistance bands with handles to your door frame, door anchor, or elevated hook.
- Grip the handles with your palms facing down.
- Kneel on one leg while keeping a hold of the handles.
- Extend your arms, so the band has some pull to it and keep your spine neutral.
- With your arms facing up towards the door anchor or top of the door frame, pull your elbows down.
- Try to pull your elbows to your side.
- Return to your starting position slowly by allowing your arms to extend and straighten fully.
Neutral Grip Pulldowns
Neutral grip pulldowns mainly target your latissimus dorsi muscles. However, your upper back is also involved due to the close grip that is being used.
- Start by attaching your resistance bands with handles to your door anchor.
- Grab your handles with your palms facing in.
- Sit on the ground while holding the handles.
- Fully extend your arms.
- Inhale and pull the handles down until your hands are just above your chest.
- Exhale and return your arms to the starting position.
Loop Band Lat Pulldowns
The loop band pulldown exercise is perfect for those who only have loop bands and is the ideal resistance band lat pulldown exercise to build your lats with the ease of the band.
- Using a loop band, place the band around your wrists.
- Extend your arms above your head with enough resistance so the band will stay around your wrists.
- Pull your arms out while trying to bring your elbows to your side.
- Make sure to bend your head slightly forward and bring the band behind your head instead of in front.
- Bring your arms back up to an extended position while keeping resistance, so the band stays around your wrists.
What’s The Difference Between Wide Grip and Close Grip Lat Pulldowns?
There are several different types of grips when it comes to lat pulldowns. The two most common grip types are the wide grip and close grip.
Wide grip lat pulldowns primarily work your latissimus dorsi muscles. Unlike other grips, the wide grip puts the main focus on the lats and lessens the tension on your forearms and biceps. The wide grip also decreases your range of motion in your shoulders, putting the responsibility on your back to pull the weight.
Close grip lat pulldowns work far more than just your lats. While the wide grip uses mainly your lats, the close grip uses your biceps, shoulders and, upper back as well. The close grip offers a much wider range of motion than the wide grip, allowing the exercise to work different muscle groups aside from the lats.
Which Grip Is Best For Lat Pulldowns?
The argument over grip dates back to the stone age. Depending on who you are talking to, some people think a wide grip is the only way to create a bigger back, while others say grip does not matter. The short answer is: each grip and lat pulldown puts your body in a different position and therefore uses different muscles.
Wide grip lat pulldowns offer a smaller range of motion and do not emphasize other muscle groups aside from the lats.
If you use a wide grip, you may not be able to use as much weight because you are only using your back to pull the weight.
Therefore, using bands for wide grip is a perfect option. Given that most people have limited options when it comes to bands and the resistance of the bands may not be very much, using a wider grip will allow you to build a bigger back at home.
When it comes to close grip, you are working not only your lats but your shoulders, biceps, and upper back as well. With that being said, you will most likely be able to lift a higher load with this grip.
Using bands for close grip lat pulldowns at home can still be done. Getting the most out of the exercise and getting bands with more resistance may be the best bet.
How Many Lat Pulldowns Should I Do?
If you are a beginner, doing 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps twice a week, on a Monday and Thursday (or similar), will allow you to see improvement in your back over time.
It is essential to focus on your form and get the movement pattern down correctly as a beginner.
Depending on your goals, and if you are an intermediate lifter, doing 3 to 4 sets with 8 to 10 reps once a week will help you progress over time. At this point in your training, your “newbie gains” will have ended.
You will most likely be doing fewer reps with higher weight to ensure the progressive overload.
No matter the stage of training you are in, always make sure to warm up properly and focus on the movement you are doing. If you want to avoid injury while doing lat pulldowns, avoid swinging your body and make sure you perform the movement in a stable and controlled way.
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