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The Supinated Pulldown –
A Back-Widening Present From The Lat Gods

The Supinated Pulldown

The Supinated Pulldown, aka the Underhand Lat Pulldown or Supinated Lat Pulldown, is an awesome exercise movement for building the latissimus dorsi muscle of the back. The supinated position of the hands (underhand grip) is responsible for shifting the focus of the exercise from mainly targeting the upper back and upper lat muscles to focusing more on the lower lat fibers.

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The Supinated Pulldown Article Continues Below!

Supinated Pulldown

What Muscles Does The Supinated Pulldown Work?

What Muscles Does The Supinated Pulldown Work?

Other muscles targeted by the Supinated Lat Pulldown include the Biceps Brachii, Infraspinatus Levator Scapulae, Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Posterior Deltoid, Mid, and Lower Trapezius, Teres Major and minor, shoulder stabilizers, sternal pectoralis major, and forearms. 

Who am I?

Supinated Pulldown Master Class by Psymon H.

I'm Psymon H., your online training partner, and workout motivator. In this Supinated Pulldown master class, I will show you how to perform the best underhand Lat Pulldown exercise to help grow your lower Lats and improve your overall back development.

Supinated Grip vs Pronated Grip

Apart from the grip, the elbow position will also help determine which part of the latissimus dorsi is targeted. For instance, when you take a pronated grip as you would with a wide grip front lat pulldown, your elbows are away from your body ensuring most of the stress goes to the upper back and lat muscles.  In this pronated grip position, you are using far less of the biceps brachii.

The opposite is true with the supinated lat pulldown where the elbows are kept tight to the body. The supinated grip allows you to use more weight and to be able to bring the weight down further compared to the traditional Lat Pulldown because you are using a higher percentage of the biceps brachii muscle. As a result, you can maximize the contraction of the latissimus dorsi muscles. 

How to Do A Supinated Pulldown: 

Supinated Pulldown Position 2End Position

Items Needed: Pulley Cable Machine or Cable Pulley System attached to a power rack, and one straight bar attachment. 

Next to the grip, the most important aspect of the supinated lat pulldown (reverse grip lat pulldown) is how you position your body. This is especially true if you're using a pulley cable system attached to a power rack. If you are using a pulley cable system (as shown in the pictures), make sure to get as close to being under the line of the straight bar as possible. If you are further away from the bar, you can inadvertently change the exercise to be more like a row. More stress is placed on the mid and lower trapezius and less on the Latissimus dorsi muscles. 

Cue 1: Grab the straight bar with a supinated grip with hands about shoulder-width apart.

Cue 2: Sit with your back upright in the chair or on the floor with your arms outstretched overhead.

Cue 3: Lift your chest, tense your core and inhale.

Cue 4: Pull the bar straight down towards your lower chest. Keep the torso as still as possible and try not to rock from front to back during the exercise. 

Cue 5: At the bottom of the movement, retract your shoulder blades by pulling them down and back to help add more contraction to the lower latissimus dorsi muscle fibers.

Cue 6: Use a 3-4 second count when returning to the start position (the eccentric portion of the movement).

Single-Arm Supinated Pulldown:

To help zero in on your form, you can also perform this reverse grip lat pulldown with one arm at a time using a single handle attachment. If you're going to do a single-arm supinated lat pulldown, ensure you use a supinated grip throughout the movement. As you pull the weight down, you can also lean your torso to the side you are working to add more stress to the lower lat muscle.

Supinated Lat Pulldown Sets and reps:

If your main goal is to build muscle, start with 3-4 sets of 5-20 repetitions aiming for 0-2 repetitions in reserve (RIR). As your training experience expands, you can increase the number of sets and time you perform supinated lat pulldowns during the week.

Supinated Lat Pulldown Alternative: 

We're going to use Straight Arm Pulldowns as an alternative to the Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown as we can hit the same area of the latissimus dorsi as we do with the supinated pulldown with some tweaks.

Items Needed: Pulley Cable Machine or Cable Pulley System attached to a power rack, and one rope attachment.

Cue 1: Grab each end of the rope attachment with a neural grip and step back from the station. 

Cue 2: For this variation, stay in the almost upright position to throw most of the stress on the lower latissimus dorsi muscle fibers. Lean slightly forward at about 15-degrees from upright.

Cue 3: Lift your chest, engage your core and take in an inhale.

Cue 4: Exhale as you begin the exercise. With arms straight just above the line of your head, pull the rope down towards your hip area. 

Cue 5: Slowly return to the start position. 

If your main goal is to build muscle, start with 3-4 sets of 5-20 repetitions aiming for 0-2 repetitions in reserve (RIR). 

Thank you for reading our supinated pulldown master class. If you want to add more muscle to your back using only dumbbells click here!

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