Second to the leg muscles, your back muscles are the largest muscle group in the body. While the gluteus maximus (the booty) gets the prize as the most superficial muscle group, the latissimus dorsi of the back are the widest muscle group. The name itself when translated actually means “wide back.” Being a powerhouse muscle group of the body, there are few upper body exercises you can do that do not engage the back muscle to some extent. There are however some specific movements you can do that work the back more than other exercises, and the close grip lat pulldown is one of them.
The lat pulldown is one of the most popular back exercises you can do in the gym. Even if you’re a novice when it comes to weight lifting or building muscle you probably know what to do when you see a lat pulldown machine. The equipment is pretty self explanatory: sit down, grab the bar, pull down. I think the simplicity of the movement is actually what contributes to the fact that it’s one of the most common exercises done incorrectly.
Close Grip Lat Pulldown with Neutral Grip
1. Adjust the lat pulldown machine with the Neutral Grip bar. (This is the one that looks like it has two handles on either end of it.)
2. Wearing your Gym Gloves, grab the handles with a Neutral Grip which means that your palms facing inwards (really you can’t use this bar any other way). Pull your shoulder blades down and back before you begin the movement. This is your starting position.
3. Pull the bar to your upper chest, pause and slowly return the weight to the starting position. This constitutes one rep.
Close Grip Lat Pulldown Tips
– A common mistake used on a lot of lat pulldown exercises is to pull the bar too far down. This is also when you’ll notice the variation in grip. For example if you’re doing a standard lat pulldown using a pronated grip (palms facing away), and you bring the bar too far down, your elbows will naturally start to pull behind you versus to the side which is the correct movement.
The opposite is true when you’re doing a close grip lat pulldown using a neutral grip; your elbows will want to pull out to the sides if you bring the bar too far down whereas the movement you want to accomplish is elbows pulled behind you.