The Latissimus Dorsi (colloquially known as the “lats”) are among some of the largest muscles of the body and extend from the sides of your back to your hips.
Working on strengthening the lat muscles not only ensures that you’re able to undertake everyday tasks but also improves the overall strength and build of your body.
The Lat Pulldown is one of the best ways to work your lats, but they can be a bulky and expensive machine to have at home. So, if you don’t have access to a gym you are going to need to find another way to build your lats.
Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve listed down lat pulldown alternatives that you can conveniently try at home.
6 Lat Pulldown Alternatives you Can Do at Home
Now, let’s go through them one by one.
Pull-ups or chin-ups are similar to the lat pulldown.
The only difference, however, is pulling your body up, unlike the lat pulldown exercise.
You can perform pull-ups easily at home. All you need to do pull-ups at home is a bar that you can use to hang from.
Pull-ups are considered the gold standard when it comes to lat pulldown alternatives because they target exactly the same muscles of your body.
You can use anything that you can hold on to elevate your body from the ground, like a pull-up bar. All you have to make sure is that the bar is strong enough to support your body weight.
Simply hold the bar and lift your body up while bending your elbows. Once you’ve raised your body enough, lower it back down to its original position.
This completes one rep. Starting off with about 10 to 15 reps a day, you can challenge yourself to more challenging levels by increasing the number of reps or widening your grip.
You will find pull-ups quite difficult initially, but it’s one of the most effective exercises to strengthen your back muscles.
2. Band-Assisted Pull-Ups
As we mentioned above, you may find chin-ups difficult in the beginning.
If you’re just starting out, band-assisted pull-ups are one of the most efficient alternatives to the lat pulldown.
It’s done just like you would do a regular pull-up at home, that is, pull your body up while holding a pull-up bar.
The only difference is the addition of an elastic rubber band to provide support to your body weight so that you don’t feel much tension or pressure on your arms.
Band-assisted pull-ups involve tying an elastic band on the bar and placing one foot in the loop and then pulling yourself up just like you would in a regular pull-up.
This way, pull-ups will become a lot more manageable and less tiresome for beginners.
3. Elastic Band Resistance Pulldown
Another popular variation of the lat pulldown is the elastic band resistance pulldown.
With this variation, you can mimic lat pulldown as they’re done at the gym. All you’ll need for this are two elastic bands.
You might even find elastic bands with an anchor, specifically for this purpose.
Tie each elastic band into a knot at their mid-point and anchor them at the top of any door in your home by shutting the door against the knots.
Stand straight such that you’re facing the door with the handles hanging down. Hold a handle in each hand.
Extend your hands upward to the point where the handles are, instead of making handles hang too low down. Grip the handles and step back till you feel tension developing in the bands.
At this point, pull the handles down till your hips, allowing the elbows to lead the movement. It’ll put emphasis on your back muscles.
If you wish to challenge your back muscles farther, you can try using a heavier band or increasing the tension. You can even place a seat below the handles and perform it while sitting.
4. Kroc Rows
Kroc rows are not for the faint-hearted. This is a form of heavy-loaded exercise that involves lifting super-heavy weights.
You should only perform Kroc rows if you’re certain that you can do it. In fact, we won’t recommend that you perform Kroc rows without supervision.
If you can take care of all the dos and don’ts related to this exercise, there’s no reason why you can’t do it at home.
You’ll need heavy dumbbells for Kroc rows. It starts by bending your body forward and down while placing one hand over a bench.
You should bend only enough that your shoulders are above the level of your hips. Place the dumbbells on the floor.
Get in the position with one hand resting on a bench and the other loose.
Using your free hand (the one that isn’t supporting your weight), lift the dumbbell up till your hips and lower it without placing it on the floor.
You should feel the tension in your shoulder and back muscles while you’re at it.
Keep in mind that Kroc rows aren’t suitable for you if you’re still learning. You need to be physically fit and strong enough to lift heavy weights in such an unusual position.
The benefits of this exercise are as great as the level of difficulty that it’s associated with.
5. Band Pull Apart
The band pull apart is another one of those excellent lat pulldown alternatives that can be performed at home.
You don’t need any specialized tools or equipment to do it. All you need is an exercise band.
Stand upright with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. This stance will provide you with the support that you need.
Hold the exercise band in its extended form in front of you, keeping both arms up to your shoulder level.
Position your grip such that your palms are facing down. Keep your chest out, shoulders up, and core tight and extend both your arms on either side of the body while stretching the exercise band.
You should extend your arms fully to either side at the end of the movement. Slowly return to the starting position.
This is the end of one rep. As your body gets used to the tension, you can gradually increase the number of reps.
If you’re looking for ways to really challenge yourself, you can try the band pull apart exercise using a heavier band.
It puts stress on your lat muscles and helps you get a complete upper body workout. It’s one of the most effective and efficient lat pulldown alternatives.
6. Bent-Over Rows
The next on this list of lat pulldown alternatives is the bent-over rows.
Just like other exercises on this list, you don’t necessarily have to go to the gym to perform it.
You can do them right at home if you’ve got a barbell or a pair of dumbbells.
The bent-over rows involve your lat muscles primarily, but they also use other essential pulling muscles of the arms and back.
Hold your dumbbells or barbell in each hand and stand straight with your feet placed shoulder-width apart.
Slowly bend down, such that your chest is out, and your back is flat, almost parallel to the ground. You may bend your knees for increased stability.
Let your arms hang with the weight while you’re adjusting your position.
Once you’re set, start raising the weight up till the level of your chest and lower the weight back down, allowing your elbows to lead all the way to complete a rep.
Make sure to keep your arms close to your body throughout.
The bent-over rows are a rather simple form of exercise that you’ll complete smoothly and easily.
It doesn’t involve any complicated technicalities, except for keeping your body at the right angles (usually 45 degrees).
The one word of caution here is to ensure that you keep your back straight at all times.
At no point should you allow your back to curve, as that can lead to a serious back injury down the line. Remember, good form first, heavy weights later.
Best Lat Pulldown Machines
- Best Commercial Quality Lat Pulldown Machine: Rogue Monster Lat Pulldown Machine
- Best Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown Machine: Titan Fitness Plate Loaded LAT Tower v2
- Best Budget Lat Pulldown Machine: Merax LAT Pulldown and Low Row Cable Machine
- Best Home Gym Machine with Lat Pulldown: Bowflex Xceed Home Gym
- Best Value Lat Pulldown Machine: Valor Fitness CB-12 Lat Pulldown Machine
- Best Weight Stack Lat Pulldown Machine: Titan Fitness Lat Tower
Best Power Racks with Lat Pulldown Attachments
- Best Overall: REP FITNESS PR-1100 Power Rack with Lat Pulldown
- Best Budget: Fitness Reality Squat Rack 810 XLT with Lat Pulldown
- Best Half Rack: Sunny Health & Fitness Half Rack with Lat Pulldown
- Best Premium: Rogue RML 490 Power Rack + Monster Lite Slinger Stack
- Best with Plate Storage: Valor Fitness BD-7 Power Rack with Lat Pulldown
The lat pulldown is an excellent exercise that helps you strengthen your back.
Plus, it’s not just beneficial for weight lifters or bodybuilders; anyone can take advantage of this exercise since it helps strengthen the muscles that you need to carry out everyday activities.
The stronger your lat muscles are, the more swiftly you’ll be able to move around.
The best thing is that there are numerous efficient at pulldown alternatives that you can do at your home, so no more excuses!
Start getting those gains!