Close Grip Lat Pulldown: The Muscles Worked

The close grip lat pulldown is an effective strength training exercise that targets the muscles in your back, shoulders, and arms.

Working these muscles through a variety of exercises can help you build muscle mass while increasing overall body strength.

It’s important to understand which specific muscles are worked when performing this exercise and the benefits it provides.

Different variations are available and alternative exercises which also target those same areas.

In this article, we will look at precisely what muscles are worked with close grip lat pulldowns so you can get the most out of each session.

Close Grip Lat Pulldown Muscles Worked

Muscles Worked in Close Grip Lat Pulldown

Primary Muscles:

The primary muscle group targeted by close grip lat pulldowns are your lats (latissimus dorsi).

Your lats are responsible for shoulder extension and adduction, which makes them an essential part of any upper-body workout routine.

Additionally, they help stabilize your core during squats and deadlifts.

Secondary Muscles:

Secondary muscles that benefit from close grip lat pulldowns include your rhomboids, trapezius, teres major/minor, and biceps brachii.

These muscles work together to support proper posture while also helping you move through a full range of motion with each rep.

Stabilizing Muscles:

Stabilizing muscles used during close grip lat pulldowns include your abdominals and lower back musculature, such as erector spinae and quadratus lumborum.

These smaller muscle groups provide stability throughout the movement so that you can perform it safely without straining or injuring yourself in the process.

In conclusion, close grip lat pulldowns target several different muscle groups including your lats, rhomboids, trapezius, teres major/minor and biceps brachii along with stabilizers like abdominals and lower back musculature such as erector spinae and quadratus lumborum.

By incorporating this exercise into your strength training program, you can improve posture while increasing overall upper body strength and size.

Benefits of Close Grip Lat Pulldown

Improved Posture and Core Strength:

Performing close grip lat pulldowns regularly can help strengthen your core muscles, leading to better posture over time.

This will not only make you look taller but it can also reduce lower back pain caused by poor posture or weak abdominal muscles.

Additionally, strengthening your core helps with balance and stability during everyday activities like walking or running.

Increased Upper Body Strength and Muscle Mass:

Close grip lat pulldowns are an effective way to build upper body strength as they target multiple muscle groups including the lats, biceps, rhomboids, traps, deltoids (shoulders), triceps (back of arm), forearms/grip strength etc., all at once.

As you become stronger doing this exercise, you’ll be able to lift heavier weights which will result in increased muscle size over time if combined with proper nutrition and rest days between workouts.

When performed correctly, close grip lat pulldowns require scapular retraction (pulling shoulder blades together), which helps strengthen postural muscles around the shoulders.

These stabilizing muscles are often neglected when training chest or back exercises without proper form and technique.

Strengthening these muscles results in improved shoulder stability, which is important for any overhead pressing movements, such as military press variations or handstand push-ups.

The close grip lat pulldown exercise provides numerous benefits, such as improved posture and core strength, increased upper body strength and muscle mass, and improved scapular retraction and shoulder stability.

With the various variations available to you, let’s take a look at how these can be applied in different exercises for maximum gains.

Exercise Variations for Close Grip Lat Pulldown

It can be done with various grips, allowing you to target different muscle groups or increase the difficulty level.

Here are two variations of this exercise that you can try:

Single Arm Close Grip Lat Pulldown:

This variation targets one arm at a time, which helps to isolate the targeted muscles more effectively. To do this variation, start by sitting on a bench facing away from the cable machine. Grasp the handle with an overhand grip and keep your elbow tucked in close to your body as you pull down towards your chest. Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the movement and focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together at the bottom of each rep.

Seated Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown:

This variation focuses more on engaging both arms simultaneously while also emphasizing scapular retraction (pulling shoulder blades together).

Start by sitting upright in front of a cable machine with an underhand grip on either side of the bar attachment.

Keep elbows tucked in close to your sides as you pull down towards chest level while focusing on retracting those shoulder blades together at full contraction before slowly returning back up into starting position again.

Alternative Exercises for Close Grip Lat Pulldown

If you’re looking for alternatives to the close grip lat pulldown, several exercises work similar muscles in slightly different ways.

Chin-Ups/Pull-Ups with Narrow Hand Positioning:

Chin-ups or pull-ups are great exercises for targeting your back muscles and can be done using a variety of grips.

To target the same muscles as close grip lat pulldowns, use a narrower than shoulder-width grip on the bar when performing these exercises.

This will help to engage more of your lats and upper back muscles while also working your biceps and forearms.

Make sure to keep your elbows tucked in at all times during this exercise for maximum benefit.

Inverted Rows with Narrow Hand Positioning:

Inverted rows are another excellent alternative exercise for close grip lat pulldowns as they target many of the same muscle groups but from an opposite angle.

When doing this exercise, make sure to keep your hands closer together than shoulder-width apart so that you can focus on engaging those lats even more.

Be sure to keep good form throughout by keeping your core tight and squeezing at the top of each rep before slowly lowering yourself down again.

Cable Rows with Narrow Hand Positioning:

Cable rows are another great option if you’re looking for an alternative exercise to close grip lat pulldowns.

To get the most out of this exercise, make sure that you’re using a handle attachment that is narrower than shoulder-width apart so that it mimics the motion used during close grip lat pulls downs more closely while still providing resistance from all angles.

Keep good form throughout by sitting up straight, pulling through those elbows until they reach just past parallel, then slowly releasing them back towards starting position again before repeating again.

FAQs about Close Grip Lat Pulldown Muscles Worked

Is a close grip better for lat pulldown?

The answer to the question of whether a close grip is better for lat pulldown depends on the individual’s goals and preferences.

Generally, a close grip puts more emphasis on the biceps while a wide grip emphasizes the lats. Close-grip pulldowns can be beneficial if you are looking to target your biceps more specifically, as they allow for a greater range of motion and increased tension in this area.

On the other hand, wide-grip pulldowns may be preferable if you want to focus on developing your back muscles, such as your lats or rhomboids.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what works best for each individual’s fitness goals.

What back muscle does close grip lat pulldown work?

The close grip lat pulldown is an exercise primarily targeting the latissimus dorsi muscle, also known as the lats.

This large back muscle is responsible for shoulder extension, adduction, and internal rotation of the humerus.

Additionally, it assists in the downward movement of the scapula and helps to stabilize the shoulder joint during other exercises.

The close grip variation emphasizes a narrower hand position on the barbell or cable attachment, increasing the recruitment of this important back muscle.

What is the difference between close and wide grip pulldown?

The difference between close and wide grip pulldown lies in the positioning of the hands on the bar.

A close grip pulldown involves gripping the bar with your hands placed closer together, usually shoulder-width apart or slightly narrower.

This exercise focuses more on targeting your lats, which are located along either side of your back. On the other hand, a wide grip pulldown requires you to place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.

This variation targets more of your lower lats and rhomboids for increased muscle activation and growth potential.

Both exercises can be beneficial depending on what goals you’re trying to achieve with strength training.

However, it is important to maintain proper form throughout each repetition regardless of which version you choose.

Which lat pulldown grip is best?

The best grip for a lat pulldown depends on the individual’s goals and comfort level. For those looking to build strength, a wider grip is often recommended, as it allows for a greater range of motion and increased muscle activation.

However, if you want to target specific muscles or focus on form, a narrower grip may be more suitable.

Ultimately, experimentation with different grips will help determine which one works best for your body type and training objectives.


This exercise can be modified to target different muscle groups and increase difficulty.

Alternative exercises such as chin-ups or bent over rows can also work similar muscles in a close grip lat pulldown.

This exercise can help you build strength and improve your overall fitness level with proper form and technique.

So if you’re looking to strengthen your back muscles, give the close grip lat pulldown a try.