Medium-grip lat pull-down exercise
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Medium-grip lat pull-down

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Latissimus Dorsi
  • Synergists: Teres Major, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Rhomboids, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Biceps Brachii, Pectoralis Minor, Posterior Deltoid, Levator Scapulae
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Sit on the lat pull-down machine.
  2. Bring the thigh pad down onto your thighs so that you are secured in place.
  3. Grasp the bar with a pronated (overhand) grip, with your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart (medium grip). Your arms and shoulders should be fully stretched upward.


  1. Keeping your head back and chest out, exhale as you slowly pull the bar down to the upper part of your chest.
  2. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  3. Inhale as you slowly return the bar to the starting position, with your arms and shoulders fully stretched.
  4. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Pull the bar with your elbows, not with your biceps.
  • You can allow your torso to rock back as you pull down and to rock forward as the bar rises. However, keep the rocking to a minimum.
  • Do not pull the bar down behind your neck. The behind-the-neck lat pull-down is not recommended because it forces your shoulders into an extreme range of motion. You also have to tilt your neck out of alignment with your spine.
  • The medium-grip lat pull-down is great for strengthening and building your back and arms, as well as developing upper-body strength. However, the pull-up is even more beneficial. If you can’t do pull-ups, keep increasing the amount of weight that you pull down until it nears your body weight, after which you can graduate to pull-ups.
  • When performing the lat pull-down, using a wide grip is often said to more effectively activate the latissimus dorsi. However, a 2014 study by Andersen et al. found that a medium grip may offer minor advantages over wide and narrow grips. The study compared the activation of muscles on the lat pull-down machine using shoulder-width, medium, and wide grips. Generally speaking, the scientists found similar muscle activation with all grips. They concluded that a medium grip may have some minor advantages because it elicits greater activation of the biceps brachii in both the concentric and eccentric phases of the rep, and it elicits either higher or equally high muscle activation of all muscle groups in the eccentric phase of the rep. The scientists also found that the subjects were able to lift heavier loads using the medium and narrow grips compared with the wide grip.
  • See also the machine front pull-down and rope lat pull-down.

Medium-grip lat pull-down video


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