Wondering how to end your backache and general weakness on your shoulders and chest? Reverse grip pulldown exercise primarily targets the lat muscles. However, you will notice considerable changes in your biceps as well as the back muscles after several workouts. In addition, it will work your forearm and strengthen your shoulders and chest.

Your back comprises of a group of muscles that need different types of exercises to grow. You can perform the reserve grip lat pulldown during your upper body, back, full body and pull workouts.   This exercise is critical if you want to have a strong back, shoulders, biceps and torso. And who doesn’t? Actually, the workout assists in the growth and strengthening of almost all muscles of your body. Some people think it is a hard exercise to execute. But I don’t think so. Let’s find out.

How to do Reverse Grip Pulldown

Step 1

Sit down in the lat pulldown machine provided after attaching a wide grip handle.

Step 2

Hold the handle with your palms facing you (supinated grip), shoulder-width apart.

Step 3

Start the movement by depressing the blades of your shoulder and flexing your elbow as you extend the shoulders.

Step 4

Slowly pull the handle until your elbows align with your torso. Then gradually release the grip back to the starting point

Step 5

Repeat this exercise for the recommended number of times or until you feel exhausted.

Tips for Executing Reverse Grip Pulldown

Woman Working Out Reverse Grip PulldownControl Weights

Avoid momentum at all cost because it will reduce the exercise to unproductive activity. You can do it by controlling weight in the course of the training

When not to Wrap the Thumb

If you find out that your biceps are overworked and the back is not active enough, then it is time to avoid wrapping your thumb on the dumbbell.

Head should remain straight

Ensure that your head maintains a strong, steady position. Don’t allow it to jut forward during the workout.

Shoulder Blades to Move on Rib Cage

Do not close the shoulder blade down and allow them to move via the glenohumeral joint but instead, let them move on the rib cage.

Shoulders Should Internally Rotate

Let the shoulders rotate internally and rise slightly as the movement continues. You will reverse this move and push the shoulder blade before pulling your arm.

Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdown

You don’t want an imbalance in your forearms’ muscles. Do you? If you want to have well-built arms, then you need to balance workouts for biceps and triceps muscles. The reverse grip pulldown exercise works the biceps more than the triceps. Then to balance it off, integrate reverse grip triceps pulldown. How? Let’s find out.

Step 1

Begin by setting a bar attachment on a pulley machine

Step 2

Hold the bar using your palms facing you and arms at shoulder-width apart.

Step 3

Use your lats to lower the bar until you fully stretch your arms. The elbows should remain by your sides. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. Consider this as your starting point.

Step 4

Slowly raise the bar attachment as you breathe in until it is in line with your chest. Your elbows should remain stationary and by your side as the forearms move.

Step 5

Then slowly start lowering the cable bar back to the starting point as you breathe out and contract the triceps.

Step 6

Repeat as recommended.

Reverse Grip Pulldown: Muscles Targeted

Muscles Targeted In Reverse Grip Pull DownDuring a workout, the reverse grip pulldown muscles worked include the back muscles such as the latissimus dorsi also known as lats. This large muscle helps to rotate your arms as well as the scapula internally. Moreover, your shoulder muscles have to be stable to assist in the execution of the reverse grip pulldown. Muscles such as the trapezius work together with the shoulder muscles to aid the movement during the exercise. In addition, for an excellent grip and to maintain the movement, the bicep muscles help in coordinating all these muscles.

If you have some difficulty with the movement of your shoulder but still want to see some improvement on your lats, then the best exercise to go for is the reverse grip pulldown. It will sooth the shoulder muscles as it works on your lats.

Importance of Reverse Grip Pulldown Workout

Working the Lower Lats

Most of the bodybuilders have beautiful and wide upper lats, the kind that leaves admirers turning. But the width of their lower lats is small and unattractive. The exercises they use don’t target the lower lat but the upper one. The good news to this, is in turning the grip. Instead of the customary overhand grip, you reverse it to underhand to reap the desired results. The reverse grip lat pulldown now targets the lower part of the lats.

If you pull your hands back in a position of underhand, it means that the lower lats are now more involved than when the hands are in an overhand position. Besides, now the elbows are close to your sides making it easier for the lower lats to be worked on.

Strengthens Your Back

For an entire back development, the reverse grip will work excellently for you as compared to overhand grip. The underhand pulldown not only works for the lower lats but also all your back muscles, biceps, the forearm, and the shoulder muscles.

Improving a Full Range of Motion

Besides helping in the development of the lats, reverse grip pulldown workout enhances the movement of your scapula and shoulder joints. It also builds and increases your shoulder’s stability during movements with the help of biceps and trapezius muscles. As a result of the coordination of muscle groups brought about by reverse grip pulldown, this workout is considered more beneficial to your body and a better alternative than the traditional grip lat pulldown workout.

Increases Grip Strength

The reverse grip pulldown will increase the strength of your grips because it will work on the muscles of your forearm to maintain a firm grip as you hold the bar during the exercise.

Mistakes to Avoid

Errors are common in most workouts. Again, we all learn through mistakes. However, in reverse grip pulldown exercises, some mistakes are hard to identify, and you can keep making them. Below are some common ones you need to avoid

Uncontrolled Movements

When doing a reverse grip pulldown, avoid jerky body movement and ensure that during every repetition you are stable and able to keep a controlled and constant pace.

Pull the Bar Gradually

Always make sure you are pulling the bar gradually towards the top of your chest in a controlled manner and return the bar slowly in the same way.

Bending Back Forward

Avoid bending your back forward when executing the workout. Make sure that your back is straight during the exercise. In addition, push your chest forward, chin upwards, and pull your shoulders towards the back.

Reverse Grip Cable Pulldown

There’s a slight difference between other reverse grip pulldown exercises and the reverse grip cable pulldown. Find out!

Step 1

Sit on a pull-down machine that has an extensive bar attached on a pulley at the top. Adjust the machine’s knee pad to suit your height. It will avoid being lifted by the resistance connected to the bar.

Step 2

Grasp the bar with your palms pointing your torso. The hands should be closer to each other than your shoulder width.

Step 3

At this time both your arms should be stretched and holding the bar. Now bring your torso back to 30 degrees as you develop a curve on your lower back and keep your chest out. Consider it as your beginning point.

Step 4

Breathe out and push the bar down to a point where it points your upper chest. Ensure that you keep squeezing your back muscle even after reaching a place of full contraction. Put your elbows close to you. As you bring the bar towards yourself, your upper torso should not move. The arms alone need to make movements. The forearm should concentrate on holding the bar

Step 5

Remain in that contracted position for a second. Breathe in and return your bar to initial point. Let your arms and lats remain fully stretched.

Step 6

Repeat the process as recommended by your instructors.

Alternatives to Reverse Grip Pull-down

Reverse grip pull-down machine is quite expensive. If you can’t afford to purchase one for your home use, then you can be sure to find some in your local gym. However, below are alternatives that can provide you same results and are inexpensive.


Woman Doing Pullups Alternative Reverse Grip Pull-downFor this kind of exercise, all you require is a level sturdy bar put high to enable you to hang from the bar in a way that you don’t touch the floor. If the bar is a bit low, then bend your knees and cross your feet.

  • Step 1

Hold the bar with both your hands. Your arms should be straight and at shoulder width apart.

  • Step 2

Allow your body to hang as you hold the bar with your arms. Then lift yourself towards the bar to a point where your chin is above it.

  • Step 3

Using a controlled movement, now begin lowering yourself down without allowing your muscles to relax fully. Go far down to your starting point.

  • Step 4

Repeat the process as you maintain a straight body and avoid a swinging movement.

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

One-Arm Dumbbell Row In this type of alternative, you need dumbbells and a workout bench. If you don’t have one, then any flat sturdy bench will do. If you want to exercise your left side, these are the steps to follow

  • Step 1

Stand on the bench’s left side with your knee, lower leg and right hand on it.

  • Step 2

With a straight back parallel to the floor, stretch your left arm downwards to the floor as you pull the shoulder blade back.

  • Step 3

Grasp the weight and lift it up to your chest, ensuring that your elbows are next to your body.

  • Step 4

Hold the weight for a moment as you squeeze the blades of your shoulder. Then lower it down slowly

  • Step 5

You can repeat the process for some number of times before changing sides.

Incline Bench Barbell Row

  • Incline Bench Barbell RowStep 1

Slope your bench a little bit. Then place barbells on the raised side of the bench.

  • Step 2

Lie on this bench facing down. Your chest should be on the raised side. Your feet should be on the floor and supported by the bench on either side.

  • Step 3

Using an extensive overhand grip, where your hand is slightly more apart than shoulder width distance and your palms are pointing you, lift the bar as far as you can.

  • Step 4

Your head should remain up and straight. Your eyes should look forward as you lift the weight and your elbows held tightly against your body.

  • Step 5

When the weight is at the top, increase the intensity, squeeze the blades of your shoulders together. Then lower the barbells.

  • Step 6

Return the weight slowly to the floor.

Take away

An excellent reverse grip pulldown exercise is essential for your physical health. Integrate it in your exercises to have a healthy back, shoulder, and chest as well as well built biceps. However, if you can’t afford the reverse grip lat pulldown, don’t worry! The alternatives are equally valid and pocket-friendly. Try them all before deciding on the most suitable for you. Working out your lat and back muscles is the best decision you can make regarding exercises.