Trainer Tip Tuesday: The Underhand Grip Lat Pulldown


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercise: Underhand Grip Lat Pulldown

Muscle Groups:  Latissimus Dorsi, Biceps

Importance:  This pulldown variation allows you to pull through a greater range of motion than with an overhand grip. It increases the activation and contraction of the lower lats and utilizes more of the biceps.

Proper Form:

  1. On a lat pulldown machine with the wide bar attached, set the knee pad to your proper height to keep you from rising up off the bench

  2. Grip the pulldown bar just inside shoulder width with a supinated grip (palms facing you) and sit on the bench/seat with the knee pads on top of your quads

  3. Begin with both arms extended and your shoulder blades retracted, bring your torso back slightly

  4. Keeping the elbows close to your body and shoulders relaxed, pull the bar down and back until it reaches your upper chest

  5. Squeeze and fully contract the back muscles as you pause briefly in the bottom position

  6. Re-extend your arms and allow the bar to go back to the starting position in a slow, controlled manner

  7. Repeat for desired number of repetitions

Progression/Regression: Chin-ups, Overhand Lat Pulldown, Pull-ups


  • Be sure to keep your elbows close to the body and shoulderblades retracted throughout the movement

  • Take advantage of the additional range of motion afforded to you by the underhand grip and make sure you pull all the way to your chest

  • Squeeze your back muscles to help ensure the biceps are not overpowering the movement

Sample Workout, 5 Rounds:

  • 10 Reverse Grip Pulldowns

  • 10 Push-ups (feet elevated)

  • 25 Mountain Climbers (each leg)