Reverse Grip Pulldown – BENEFITS + How To

Who doesn’t want powerful back muscles? Everyone does!

If you aim to work towards this fitness goal, reverse grip pulldown is an excellent exercise that works the latissimus dorsi muscles (lats) and various other muscle groups. Also, this exercise helps you accomplish an athletic and bulky back.

People of all fitness levels can do reverse grip pulldowns as it doesn’t require much expertise. Adding reverse grip pulldown to your back workout regimen will build impressive core strength and sturdy upper body stability. This lat exercise requires a vertical rowing exercise machine, which is available in most gyms.

It is an ultimate guide that will teach you everything about the benefits and step-by-step instructions for reverse grip cable pulldown. Also, read along to discover the best alternatives and variations of reverse grip pulldowns.

Let’s dive into it.

Benefits of Reverse Grip Pulldowns

Here is a listing of the advantages of reverse grip pulldowns so you can understand their importance in your workout routine and include them immediately.

Improves Strength

Reverse grip pulldowns and their variations are great for improving strength and endurance because this exercise is relatively more effortless, and you can easily maintain a long-term commitment.

Reverse grip pulldowns amplify your power and speed while helping you concentrate on your breathing. Forearm strength is another main focus of reverse grip cable pulldown.

Limited risk of injury

People with no background in fitness or related areas can also perform this exercise since it is beginner-friendly and has a low risk of injuring themselves. Furthermore, it reduces the chance of getting tired of the same exercises.

Advantageous for the back and arms

Reverse grip pulldowns do magic to your upper back by increasing its width and adding to the thickness.

It also allows you to straighten your back and get a more confident posture. This lats exercise stabilizes your lower back and cures back pain.

Helps in mass-building

With the correct posture and form, reverse grip cable pulldowns are beneficial for building mass muscles while also helping you lose weight.

The key to creating muscle mass is slowly moving so your body is under tension for maximum time.

What Muscles are Worked in Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown?

Compared with a reverse wide grip lat pulldown, the reverse grip lat pulldowns focus your lower lats more.

It targets various muscles in your lower back alongside your arms and upper back muscles.

Here is a list of muscles that are involved in reverse grip pulldowns:

  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Teres major
  • Biceps brachii
  • Posterior deltoid
  • Trapezius
  • Rhomboids

How to do Reverse Grip Pulldowns?

Here’s a step-by-step guide for mastering reverse grip pulldowns:

  1. Put a straight bar adjustment to the cable machine.
  2. Sit down facing the machine and adjust the knee pads according to height.
  3. Select the weight and hold the bar with an underhand grip such that your palms are towards your torso.
  4. Take a deep breath and hold up your glutes, core, and back.
  5. Extend your elbows and squeeze in your lats while slowly bringing the bar down towards your body until it touches your upper chest.
  6. Hold this form for 2-5 seconds, then slowly let the bar back into its initial position while your arms are completely extended, and lats stretched.
  7. Once the bar is raised, repeat the exercise for a fair number of sets and reps.

Tips to Master Reverse Grip Pulldowns

To perfect the reverse grip pulldown technique, you have to gain experience, and experience comes with trying out various sets, reps, and weights.

Here are some professional tips that will guide you through mastering reverse grip lat pulldowns: 

  • Wear wrist wraps to reduce injury risks and maximize your weight-lifting capacity
  • Use straps for other muscles to pull heavier weights without losing your grip.
  • When you are doing the exercise, make sure to squeeze in your shoulder blades and keep your chest up.
  • Do not use momentum when lifting weights. Limit your momentum, allowing you to build stronger muscles and boost your strength.
  • Don’t wobble your body between reps to lift more weight.

Reverse Grip Pulldown Variations

Adding reverse grip pulldown variations in your workout regimen will help stimulate the muscles in new movements and, thus, produce efficient results.

Here is a list of the best reverse grip pulldowns that are worth trying:

1. Reverse Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

This variation targets the inner bicep muscles and the middle back alongside the lats. Reverse wide grip lat pulldown allows you to tone your abdominals and help to build the peak.

2. Pause Rep Reverse Pulldown.

Pause reps or dead-stop reps are excellent variations that maximize the time under tension and eliminate the use of momentum.

This variation gives the most mid-back activation in just 1-2 seconds which may also result in muscle soreness, creating a humbling experience.

3. Narrow Grip Reverse Pulldown

Narrow grip reverse cable pulldowns improve the inner bicep muscles while adding muscle mass and thickness to arms.

Reverse Grip Pulldown Alternatives

Here are the best reverse grip pulldown alternatives you should consider when you want to switch things up or cannot perform the original reverse grip pulldown for some reasons:

1. Chin-ups

Chin-ups are a great alternative when you are aiming to build muscle and strength in your upper back and biceps. Furthermore, chin-ups are a great core stabilizer.

2. Supinated Grip Barbell Rows

This reverse grip lat pulldown alternative has more biceps involvement and thus results in more muscular arms.

3. Seated Supinated Cable Rows

Doing a cable row while sitting and with an underhand grip increases the movement of the biceps and works on the shoulder blades as well.

Final Thoughts

From the above discussion, we can conclude that reverse grip lat pulldown is an incredible back exercise that primarily focuses on the muscle groups while also targeting secondary muscle groups.

It has a never-ending list of benefits associated with upper body strength, endurance, and muscle-building.

After reading this article, you understand how to properly reverse grip lat pulldown and its best alternatives and variations to add new stimulus to your workout routines.

4/5 - (5 votes)


James Moore
James Moore
James is co-founder of He works as a fitness trainer and nutrition specialist. His main mission is to inspire people to relentlessly pursue their sport goals. He believes staying in shape has an overall positive effect on body, mind, and spirit.

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