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Using lat pulldown resistance band back exercises in your workout routine will keep constant tension on your muscles.
Potentially leading to faster muscular strength gains (compared to bodyweight exercises) without needing expensive gym equipment or free weights.
Plus, the banded lat pulldown is low-impact and can be done from the comfort of your home.
As long as you have a resistance band and a fixed object to anchor it onto, you’re set!
So, read on to see 9 variations of this popular movement, along with a breakdown of the specific muscles being targeted.
Table of Contents
9 Resistance Band Lat Pulldown Variations
1. Wide Grip Resistance Band Lat Pulldowns
Wide grip banded lat pulldowns are one of the best exercises for working your lats through an abduction and adduction motion.
This places more emphasis on your upper lats, creating the v-taper look.
It also helps you to improve mobility within your rotator cuffs.
- Use a door anchor to secure your band overhead.
- Grab the handles using an overhand grip shoulder width apart with your arms straight.
- Get into a half-kneeling position far enough back so that the band has light tension.
- Bend forward with your core tight, while maintaining a neutral spine.
- Pull your elbows outwards and down toward your sides.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the bottom before moving back to the starting position.
2. Narrow Grip Resistance Band Lat Pulldowns
Using a narrow grip for pulldowns is going to activate the biceps more than a wide grip will.
However, it may decrease a bit of the tension from being placed on your lats.
- Position your resistance band securely overhead.
- Sit on your butt with your back against the door, feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the ground, and knees slightly bent.
- Stack the handles on top of one another and grab them with your hands together.
- With your arms extending overhead, pull the band down until it reaches chest height.
- Return your arms to the extended position and repeat.
3. Neutral Grip Resistance Band Lat Pulldowns
The neutral grip allows you to place your hands in a natural position with the palms facing each other.
This is going to keep your shoulders in a comfortable position and relieve the strain on your wrists to possibly reduce forearm fatigue.
- Anchor your band to a door frame.
- Grab the handles with a neutral grip, shoulder width apart.
- Sit down with your butt on your heels, facing the door.
- Lean forward slightly and begin pulling the band down toward your chest at a 45-degree angle.
- Squeeze for a second or two and reverse up.
4. Supinated Grip Resistance Band Lat Pulldowns
Supinated or reverse grip pulldowns have become increasingly popular thanks to their ability to target the lower lats so effectively.
Do an image search on “The Shadow 6x Mr. Olympia” and you’ll be convinced that you need this exercise in your next back workout.
Just be sure to use a light enough weight and pull with your elbows, otherwise, it will turn into an arm exercise if your biceps take over.
- Once again, strap up your band overhead.
- Grasp the band using an underhand grip, shoulder width apart.
- Step back and kneel on one leg.
- Lean your waist forward while keeping your back flat.
- And now, pull your elbows down to your sides until they’re directly above your hips. This is the contracted phase.
- Release the tension back up to the eccentric phase.
5. Single Arm Banded Pulldowns
Unlike most exercises, the single-arm pulldown is going to let you isolate one side at a time.
Although this can be tedious work, when done with concentration and patience, you can achieve a well-balanced back, minimizing your risk of injury.
- Loop the resistance band around a pull-up bar.
- Grab it with one hand and kneel on your opposite leg, directly under the anchor point.
- With your scapula protracted, pull straight down until your hand is even with the front of your shoulder.
- Extend your arm back to the top before repeating the motion.
- Once you’ve completed your desired number of reps, switch sides.
6. Straight Arm Banded Lat Pulldown
Straight-arm pulldowns are similar to dumbbell pullovers in the sense that they’re used for stretching and strengthening not just your lats, but triceps too.
The extended position of your arms also limits the amount of stress placed on your shoulders.
- Attach your band to an overhead object.
- Hold the handles with your palms facing the floor.
- Get down on both knees while keeping your upper body straight (flex your glutes and core to maintain stability).
- With your arms straight, pull the band down toward your pockets, retracting your shoulder blades as you go.
- Once your hands reach your sides, reverse the motion to the starting position.
I also want to note that it is okay to maintain a slight bend in your elbows to avoid hyper-extending.
7. Lying Resistance Band Lat Pulldowns
Believe it or not, lying banded pulldowns are closely related to pull-ups in terms of movement patterns.
The two differences are that with the pull-up you’re lifting yourself to the bar, rather than pulling the resistance to you from a lying position.
And obviously, pull-ups tend to be much harder, while resistance bands do a better job of isolating for muscle gains in more precise areas.
This makes lying pulldowns an ideal progression toward performing the bodyweight compound exercise that everyone loves (or not!).
- Anchor your band to the bottom of a door frame.
- Assume a 1.5x shoulder width apart, overhand grip on the band.
- Scoot far enough away to put tension on the band.
- Lay down flat on your stomach, facing the anchor point.
- Now, bring your elbows out and down toward your sides as far as you can go.
- Retract your shoulder blades at the bottom and squeeze.
- Return to the start and repeat.
8. Mini Loop Band Lat Pulldowns
The other lat pulldown variations on this list require a door anchor or at the very least, something to attach your resistance band too.
If you’re unable to do this, don’t fret, because by using a mini loop band you can perform the lat pull motion without the need for a security point.
Be sure not to use too much resistance for this one.
Otherwise, you’ll be stuck doing partial reps without any real benefit.
- Get into a kneeled position with your butt over your heels.
- Cuff the band around your wrists and separate your hands to get rid of any sag.
- Straighten your arms in front of you, with palms facing the floor.
- Now, reposition your arms overhead and move your wrists further apart to create more band tension.
- Initiate the concentric phase by moving your elbows out and down until the band touches your chest.
- Then, re-extend your arms overhead and repeat.
9. Angled Half Kneeling Resistance Band Pulldowns
This is one of my personal favorite resistance band back movements.
It allows me to use my opposite knee as a stability point while driving through my elbow to hit the lower lat.
Best of all, it’s unilateral, so I can at least attempt to get my right lat caught up to my left.
You’ll also notice that it’s performed using a slightly protracted shoulder posture (Ideal for stretching the lats during the eccentric phase).
- Secure your band to a pull-up bar or door.
- Grasp it with one hand so that your palm faces inward.
- Kneel on your opposite leg far enough back so that the band is at about a 45-degree angle when you pull.
- Lean slightly forward.
- Begin pulling the band by moving your elbow down and back, making sure to keep it tucked close to your side.
- Hold for a second in the contracted phase, before releasing up to the start.
- Be sure to do the same number of reps and sets with each arm.
Target Muscle Groups: Resistance Band Lat Pulldowns
Resistance band lat pulldowns target upper body muscle groups in the back, arms, and posterior shoulders, including the:
- Latissimus dorsi
- Teres major and minor
- Biceps and forearms
- Rear deltoids
Latissimus Dorsi Muscles
The latissimus dorsi muscle is responsible for the extension, internal rotation, abduction, and adduction of the arm.
Teres Major and Minor
The teres muscles are small stabilizers around the shoulder joint that assist with rotation.
Bicep and Forearm Muscles
The biceps play an important role in stabilizing the deep muscle known as the brachialis during arm flexion and extension.
They also help with the rotation of the forearm, which is a muscle used for grip strength during activities that require holding onto an object.
Shoulder and Upper Back Muscles
The main shoulder muscle that’s targeted with resistance band lat pulldowns is the rear delt.
Furthermore, the traps and rhomboids are the two upper back muscles that are engaged during this pulling movement.
All of these work in unison to aid in shoulder retraction, which is vital for proper posture.
Types of Bands for Lat Pulldowns
The two most common types of bands for lat pulldowns are:
- Loop bands
- Tube bands
A loop band comes fully enclosed and flat with many different lengths and thicknesses available.
They usually get much heavier than other types of bands and are easier to tie securely around an object without needing a door anchor.
A tube band is generally the most popular choice when it comes to performing the above exercises.
It comes with two convenient handles and sometimes they’re detachable.
This allows you to stack more than one band together for increased resistance to achieve progressive overload.
How Often Should You Do Banded Lat Pulldowns?
When starting, you should do banded lat pulldowns 1-2 days a week with rest days in between.
To focus on learning the movement pattern use light weights and high reps of 12-20 for 3-5 sets.
Begin increasing the weights over time as you become more advanced.
You could also lower the volume to the 6-10 rep range within one of your weekly workouts.
This way you can get a combination of high and low-volume back training each week.
This will help you effectively build muscle and endurance to break past pesky plateaus.
FAQ for Resistance Band Lat Exercises
Can You Do Lat Pulldowns With Resistance Bands?
Yes, you can do lat pulldowns with resistance bands.
1. Start by attaching your band to a pull-up bar or door frame.
2. Grab the handles with your palms facing forward, hands shoulder-width apart, and arms extended.
3. Assume either a standing or seated position, and flex your lat muscles as you pull the band down to your chest.
4. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
Can Resistance Bands Build Back?
Yes, resistance bands can build back muscle.
They specifically target the latissimus dorsi, which may help fix the slouched shoulder position, known as poor posture.
Are Band Pull Downs Effective?
Band pull-downs are an effective exercise for targeting your back muscles, specifically the lats.
Plus, they don’t put nearly as much weight on your joints as free weights do, making them a great low-impact alternative.
How Do You Set Up a Lat Pulldown With Resistance Bands?
Here are the steps to set up a lat pulldown with resistance bands:
1. Place a door anchor on top of a door.
2. Close the door and loop your band through the anchor strap.
3. If you don’t have an anchor, simply loop one end of the band through the other, around a secure overhead object and tighten it.
4. Hold the handles using your preferred grip and step back far enough so that the band has tension throughout the entire range of motion.
5. Begin performing lat pulldowns.
Summary of These Resistance Band Exercises
To summarize, elastic resistance bands offer a cost-effective, easily transportable, low-impact isolation workout to strengthen your lat muscles.
If you don’t feel comfortable using lat pulldown machines, or just don’t have access to one, be sure to give the resistance band lat pulldown a try!