10 Lat Pulldown Alternatives That are Equally Good

Your lats are on the biggest back muscle groups. Working on these muscles will give your body good proportion and posture. It will also help develop foundational strength for activities you perform routinely.

A lat pulldown is an excellent way to target back muscles. Apart from the lats, they focus on other muscles like traps, biceps, triceps, and posterior deltoids, among others. The exercise is performed using a lat pulldown machine.

But what if your home gym cannot accommodate a machine? Do not worry. There are several lat pulldown alternatives available. You can perform these exercises from your home gym with minimal gym equipment.

Alternative Lat Pulldowns that are Equally Good

 Here are some alternative exercises that you can perform using gym equipment such as resistance bands, dumbbells, weights plates, barbells, etc.

1. Resistance Band Pulldown

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One of the quickest and most inexpensive ways of working your lat muscles is using resistance bands.

Not every home gym has the space to accommodate a lat machine. And for beginners, it might not be easy to complete advanced exercises like a pull-up or chin-ups.

A resistance band takes up less space and is also a beginner-friendly way of working your back muscle.

Steps to Perform

  • Anchor the resistance band to an elevated surface. It could be any bar on the wall. You should have enough space to sit, outstretch your arms and create tension for the exercise.
  • Next, sit below the anchored resistance band and pull it straight down.
  • Your palms should be facing towards you. Your elbow should also be in line with your torso and pointing downwards.
  • Maintain this position for a couple of seconds and then slowly go back to the neutral starting position. Ensure you have control over the movement.

2. Resistance Band Straight Arm Pulldown

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If you can easily complete the sets using the above exercise, give the straight arm pulldown a try. This variation offers higher intensity compared to the standard pulldown version.

Steps to Perform

  • Anchor the resistance band to a power cage or a pull-up bar.
  • Find your starting position by holding the resistance band in a neutral grip and walking back a few steps. Next, lean your back forward by 45°. This is your starting position.
  • Pull the band closer to your hips/thighs while keeping your hands straight and in line with your torso. Hold the pose for a couple of seconds and slowly get back to the starting point.

Also Read:- Lat Pulldown Benefits: How to Build a Huge Back?

3. Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
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Free weights are an excellent investment choice for any home gym. You can perform a range of exercises, target different muscle groups and achieve your fitness goals, even with limited space.

The single-arm dumbbell row is an exercise you can personalize according to your skill and fitness level.

Steps to Perform

  • Sit on a comfortable and stable surface, preferably a bench. You should have space to extend your arms completely.
  • You will be sitting parallel to the bench, face pointing downwards. Use your opposite arm and leg to support yourself. Use a light dumbbell to begin. Completely extend the arm with the dumbbell; this is your starting position.
  • Pull the extended arm upwards towards your torso. Focus on the movement to ensure you are engaging your lat muscles.
  • Hold for a couple of seconds and again extend the arm in a controlled manner.

4. Dumbbell Pullovers

Dumbbell Pullovers
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The exercise is usually used to focus on chest muscles, but it also helps develop your lats. It is a preferred exercise among fitness enthusiasts as it provides a greater range of motion.

You can always use a pullover machine if you have access to it. But, if not, a dumbbell will do just fine.

Also Read:- How to Do a Lat Pulldown: Proper Form, Techniques, and Variations

Steps to Perform

  • Lie flat on a stable surface. Hold the dumbbell using both your hands above your chest. Your arms should be fully extended.
  • Slowly draw the dumbbell over your head. Keep drawing until the weight reaches your head level. Hold the weight down for a couple of seconds to get your lat muscles worked up.
  • Draw the dumbbell back to the original position at the top.

As a beginner, it is best to stick to light weights you can handle. You can gradually increase resistance.

5. Pull-Up

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A pull-up is the ‘original’ exercise that works best on lat muscles. They also help engage your core. Moreover, pull-ups can be easily done from the comfort of your home with minimal equipment.

Steps to Perform

  • You can use a pull-up bar on the power rack/cage or mount the bar to the wall. If you have access to a sturdy and stable rod to hang from, that works fine as well.
  • Grip the bar a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Pull your body upwards. Ensure your arms are straight and are in line with your body.
  • Lower your body back to the original position in a controlled manner.

6. Chin-Up

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A chin-up is a closed grip version of the lat pulldown. It works on your lat, biceps, and posterior deltoid muscles. Your bodyweight acts as resistance when performing this move.

Similar to the pull-up, a pull-up bar fitted over the wall should be enough to get you going.

Steps to Perform

  • Grip the bar with your palms facing towards you. Maintain a distance of shoulder-width apart. Your feet will be in the air.
  • Pull your body upwards until your chest is close to the bar. Your elbows will be pointing downwards. Hold the position for a couple of seconds.
  • Lower your body in a controlled manner.

7. Barbell Rows

Barbell Rows
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This alternative to lat pulldown helps target your lats, posterior deltoids, and traps. You can consider barbell rows as the next step of dumbbell rows. You can add more weight and increase the intensity with this move.

Steps to Perform

  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart. The barbell should be placed closer to your mid-foot.
  • Bend over the barbell. Ideally, your torso should be parallel to the ground. But it is alright if you cannot bend to that degree. You will develop that flexibility over time.
  • Grip the barbell with your palms facing toward you.
  • Pull the barbell towards your body.
  • Hold for a couple of seconds and lower the barbell in a controlled manner.

Also Read:- 7 Best Lat Pull Down Machine for Your Home Gym

8. Barbell Pullover

Barbell Pullover
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A barbell pullover is similar to a dumbbell pullover. You will use a barbell instead of a dumbbell, so the technique will slightly differ.

Steps to Perform

  • Lie flat on a bench. Hold the barbell above your chest. Maintain a distance of shoulder-width apart between your arms; they should be extended and straight.
  • Pull the barbell down over your head. Keep pulling till the bar reaches your head level or till your mobility allows. You can bend your elbows but ensure they are in line with your body.
  • Raise the barbell to the starting position in a controlled manner.

9. T-Bar Rows

T-Bar Rows
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Using a barbell, weights, and a T-bar handle is another effective alternative to a lat pulldown. If your power rack or cage comes with a landmine attachment, you can use it to support the empty end of the barbell.

If you do not have a power rack/cage, you can simply support the empty end of the barbell against a corner in your basement.

Steps to Perform

  • Add weights to one end of the barbell. Attach the T-bar handle. Use a landmine unit or a strong corner to support the other end of the barbell.
  • Keep your legs shoulder-width apart, knees bent, and place the barbell between your legs.
  • Bend at the hips and pull the barbell closer to your chest.
  • Hold for a couple and seconds and return to the starting position.

10. Cable Rows

Cable Rows
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If you have access to a cable row machine, it can be utilized to perform different exercises to strengthen your upper body. Depending on your convenience and skill, you can choose to sit or stand for this exercise.

Steps to Perform

  • A narrow-grip attachment would be preferable for this alternative.
  • You can sit or stand in front of the machine. Either way, your torso should be straight with a slight forward lean.
  • Pull the cable towards your torso. Your elbows should be close to your body. The degree to which the elbows are close to your body will determine how much of your lats will be engaged during the exercise.
  • Return to the original position by extending your arms forward.


So there, you have ten lat pulldown alternatives that will help exercise your back muscles.

When performing these alternatives, focus on engaging the right muscle groups. For example, with a dumbbell, barbell, or T-bar row, you will end up using your forearms if the weight is more than what you can handle.

So, begin small, practice the form and technique, and then over time, increase its intensity. If you want to grow your lat muscles, use lighter weights and increase repetitions. If you want to build strength, increase the weight and stick to lower repetitions.

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