Supinated Lat Pulldown: 3 Best Tips For Back Growth

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The key to building bigger lats is to start from the bottom up.

That’s why doing an exercise like the supinated lat pulldown is a great variation to add to your next back workout.

Proper execution for the supinated pulldown is essential to put the focus on your lower lats.

Building up this lower part will make your lats pop, especially if you’re someone who likes to do posing.

Your lats play a large role in hitting shots like the front double bicep and front lat spread.

Not to mention, the back is a foundational body part that connects your upper and lower regions.

Making sure it’s sturdy is important to excel in other areas of your training, and life in general.

(Supinated pulldowns are commonly referred to as the reverse grip lat pulldown.)

Supinated Lat Pulldown: Muscle Recruitment

As the name suggests, the main muscle that is targeted with the supinated grip pulldown is the lattisimus dorsi. Specifically the lower part.

This movement may also recruit muscle fibers in the upper back, rear delts, traps, biceps, and some core too.

However, it’s called the supinated lat pulldown for a reason.

The main goal is to target your lats.

Although we can limit the overuse of other body parts.

No matter how well you execute this movement there’s no avoiding the activation of other muscle groups.

Also, note that bracing your core is crucial to maintain posture and stability to perform any exercise effectively.

How To Perform the Supinated Grip Lat Pulldown

To get started, you will need a cable system with an overhead attachment.

This movement can be performed standing, seated on a bench, or even sitting on the floor if your cables are long enough to extend that far.

Be cautious if you’re doing these without some sort of support anchor for your legs.

As the weight increases, you’re going to notice more pulling force. Make sure you have a solid foundation.

Bar Types for Supinated Lat Pulldowns
Bar Types

You will begin by grabbing the bar with both hands about shoulder-width apart using a supinated grip (reverse grip).

Bring the bar down into your seated or standing position.

Keep your chest stuck out high with the shoulders retracted back and down.

Have your feet firmly planted on the ground.

We don’t want to grip the bar too tight, hold a somewhat loose grip.

We want the focus to be on your lats, not the forearms or biceps.

Just make sure it’s tight enough to hold the bar stable in your hands throughout the entire movement.

Supinated Lat Pulldown Starting Position
Starting Position

For the range of motion try to bring the bar down to touch the bottom part of your chest.

Aim to keep the cable moving in a straight line. That is the range pattern we want to target.

A good way to help avoid any overuse of the biceps is by focusing on moving the weight with your elbows.

If you start to notice yourself swinging or feel the biceps begin to take over it may be a good idea to lessen the weight or use some wrist straps.

Lat Pulldown Supinated Grip Contracted Phase

The wrist straps will allow you to focus less on gripping the bar and more on the range of motion with lat recruitment.

Wide Grip Supinated Pulldown

If you want to target more of the upper lats, traps, and rear delts you can use a wider grip.

Widen your hands as far as your arms will comfortably reach.

Decrease the range of motion at the bottom of the rep by bringing the bar down to about chin level.

Squeeze and hold each rep for 2-3 seconds.

Like the closer grip variation, we still want to focus on performing the motion through our elbows rather than the biceps.

Avoid flaring your elbows out or tucking them in.

Maintain a natural position and use them as your guide while performing each rep.

Lat Pulldown Supinated Wide Grip
Notice the decreased range of motion at the bottom

Lat Pulldown Supinated Grip Video Demonstration

Below is a video demonstration with some of the tips that have helped me achieve better lat engagement.

Supinated Lat Pulldowns Video Demonstration

Supinated Lat Pulldown Sets And Reps

Personally, when it comes to lat workouts I like to switch things up.

Especially with the supinated pulldown.

Depending on how the rest of my workout will be laid out will determine whether or not I go heavy or light with these.

For instance, when I do these at the start of my workout I focus on getting the lats warm and pumped with blood.

When doing this, start light and add weight as you go.

Here’s how I would lay them out at the beginning of my workout:

  • 2 warmup sets of 15
  • 3 working sets of 10-12
    • Increase the weight of each set
  • Drop the weight on the last set of 10-12 and do 20 reps

With this variation, it’s important to focus on getting the lats fired up.

Squeeze at the bottom of each rep.

Let the lats fill up with blood.

On the other hand, if I were to end my workout with this exercise I would focus more on getting a good lat stretch.

This is how I might set that up:

  • 3 sets of 12
    • Keep the weight somewhat light
  • Do a drop set on the last set for another 15 reps

At the top of each rep focus on stretching out your lats.

Let everything relax and let the weight of the cable naturally stretch everything.

Keep the reps nice and controlled on the way down.
Just like the previous variation get a nice squeeze at the bottom.

Lat Pulldown Supinated Grip With a Stretch
Supinated pulldown with a stretch

Doing Forced Reps With The Supinated Pulldown

Forced reps are a great addition to use to burn out your lats.

Nonetheless, I would recommend only adding in forced reps with this exercise if you plan to do it towards the middle or end of your workout.

When adding in forced reps it’s still important to keep the form in check.

If you have a spotter ask them to push down on the bar with just enough force for you to get an extra rep or two.

Of course, if you train alone adding in a bit of extra momentum to crank out another one or two reps is completely fine.

Reduce the range of motion and lean back slightly at the bottom of the rep if you need.

Forced Rep During a Supinated Lat Pulldown
Forced Rep

The forced rep isn’t something to be done for every set.

If you decide to do them it would be most beneficial to do them on your final set for an extra couple of reps.

Once you notice the form starts to get too sloppy it’s time to call it.

Now Go Grow Some Wings!

To summarize, the supinated grip lat pulldown is an exercise that can spark some serious back width.

Whether you’ve already been incorporating it into your training or not I hope these tips were useful.

Now go get them supinated pulldowns in and grow some eagle wings!

Thanks for reading…

Stay Wild!

Eric De Cremer
Eric De Cremer

Eric is an NCCA-accredited Certified Personal Trainer and competitively trained powerlifter. Feel free to contact him anytime at!