How The Close Grip Lat Pulldown Pumps Your Back & Bis

close grip lat pulldown

Add this great variation into your back routine today!

We all try and maximize our back day routine and throwing in an exercise like the close grip lat pulldown may be exactly what we need. Working with the right exercises can make or break our gains and its important we work hard to really nail down a proper routine. Working our backs can be tough. While many exercises are out there, we want to make sure we are putting 100% into absolutely everything we do. The close grip lat pulldown is an exercise that can give us this option and then some.

Why does a strong back matter? On the one hand, it helps balance out our massive chests so our posture doesn’t totally suck. It will also aid in those bodybuilding and sport specific movements when it comes to lifting and other important movements, on top of adding to our overall balance and stability. Plus, it definitely adds to our physique and gives us a chance to show something off others will envy. The close grip lat pulldown is the perfect exercise to put into our routine to capitalize on all these gains.

Let’s take a look at the close grip pulldown and see what makes this exercise so great. From what it is, to muscles worked, to the awesome benefits, and how to perform it, this exercise can target your back in a different way so you only see continued growth.

What Is The Close Grip Lat Pulldown?

The close grip lat pulldown is a great exercise to work your back, as well as other muscles, and works with a different grip than other variations of the lat pulldown. By keeping your hands closer together, and subsequently your arms and the rest of the movement, you target your muscles differently and work to increase growth in unique ways (1). A perfect exercise to build strength and size in your back, while also aiding in things like posture, shoulder health, and overall balance, this is certainly an exercise to put into your routine.

Muscles Worked

The close grip lat pulldown will work a variety of muscles, of course those being your upper body muscles. Your lats will see great work done, and as this suggests in the name, are the primary movers, really working to give you a great boost when it comes to giving you those wing-like lats. As strong points of connection to your arms and trunk, your shoulders will also see work done, more specifically your teres major and rear delt. Along with these are also your biceps, traps, and rhomboids, to get accessory growth and work to better assist this movement.

Benefits Of The Close Grip Lat Pulldown

When looking at what this exercise can do, the close grip lat pulldown is a great example of a movement to really work those lats. As an effective back building exercise, you will get loads of benefits from this exercise.

Benefits of the close grip lat pulldown include:

  • Bigger, stronger backs: By working your lats, you start to build strength and size and really aid in those wing-like lats (2).
  • Better posture: Strengthening your shoulder and back muscles will aid in overall posture and allow you to maintain a more defined and stable physique (3).
  • Promote shoulder health: Working to strengthen your shoulders more, what you’ll find is that you can better protect your shoulders and that vulnerable joint.
  • Nice variations: Either as a close grip, neutral grip, or wide grip, you can find the right lat pulldown for you to see great gains.

How To Perform This Exercise

Here are the steps for performing the close grip lat pulldown:

  1. Set yourself up on the cable machine and plant your feet firmly on the ground.
  2. Reach up and grab the bar. Your hands will closer than shoulder width apart.
  3. When ready, engage your core and pull down to your chest. Really feel a squeeze as you lift that weight.
  4. Slow and controlled, return to the starting position, keeping your core tight to maintain good, solid posture.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

close grip lat pulldown

Differences In Lat Pulldown Grips

Looking at the lat pulldown exercise, you will find that there are a few different types of grips you can use, these being close-grip, neutral-grip, or wide-grip. The differences and what these can do for you will lie in various ways like how this affects strength, your body mechanics, proper muscle activation, and various degrees of difficulty. For example, the wide-grip will activate muscles differently than the close-grip given that you are working with a different grip and thus a different movement. By switching up your grip, you challenge yourself to work to target muscles in a way that will lead to more growth.

Best Supplements For Continued Gains

Supplements and a solid supplementation routine can greatly affect how you see gains. When it comes down to it, working with top supplements can make or break your desired goals. Working with the big three, being pre-workout, BCAAs, and protein powder, you can at least set yourself up off the bat to see great gains. Pre-workouts will work to enhance energy and focus (4), while BCAAs will burst through fatigue and allow for continued energy throughout the workout. Of course, protein powders will increase muscle growth, enhanced recovery, and can aid in all things weight loss and management (5). Other supplements to consider as well are creatine, multivitamins, and fat burners.

Wrap Up

The close grip lat pulldown is a great exercise to put into your routine for what it can do to your overall back development. As a nice variation of the lat pulldown, this allows you to target your muscles differently and really get a good workout to aid in all your muscle building and development wants and needs. For those looking to mix up their back routine, give this exercise a try and see what it can do for all your goals today.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Andersen, V.; et al. (2014). “Effects of grip width on muscle strength and activation in the lat pull-down”. (source)
  2. Leslie, K.; et al. (2013). “The Effect of Grip Width and Hand Orientation on Muscle Activity During Pull-ups and the Lat Pull-down”. (source)
  3. Harvard Medical School (2017). “Why good posture matters”. (source)
  4. Kedia, A.; et al. (2014). “Effects of a Pre-workout Supplement on Lean Mass, Muscular Performance, Subjective Workout Experience and Biomarkers of Safety”. (source)
  5. Pasiakos, S.; et al. (2015). “The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review”. (source)

Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.