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9 Types of Lat Pulldown Machines Expained

Unleash the full potential of your upper body workouts with this ultimate guide to the types of lat pulldown machines!

Essential for carving a powerful upper body, lat pulldown machines focus on the latissimus dorsi and other key muscle groups. Perfect for gym owners and fitness enthusiasts alike, our compiled selection of diverse machines promises to meet your specific needs, goals, and fitness program.

Plus, don't miss our top picks for each type to maximize your workout. Get ready to transform your routine—let's explore!

types of lat pulldown machines

Table of Contents

What Are The Different Types Of Lat Pulldown Machines?

  1. Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown
  2. Leverage Lat Pulldown
  3. Lat Pulldown with Weight Stack
  4. Lat Pulldown Low Row
  5. Lat Pulldown Mid Row
  6. Diverging Lat Pulldown
  7. Iso-lateral Lat Pulldown
  8. Lat Pulldown Chest Press Combo
  9. Lat Pulldown Rack Attachment

Top Lat Pulldown Machines Explained

Each type offers unique features that are suitable for different fitness goals and body types. From plate loaded to weight stacks, we'll guide you through the key features and specific muscles targeted by each.

We'll help you find the perfect match for your workout routine.

Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown Machine

Plate-loaded lat pulldown machines are designed for exercising the latissimus dorsi muscles. These muscles are large and located on the back. They contribute to shoulder and back strength. 

This machine has a seat for you to sit on. It also has a padded bar connected to a cable system overhead. And it has a location to load weight plates. The weight plates offer resistance. You can change the amount of weight depending on your strength and needs.

If you want to add convenience to your workout routine or add another piece of equipment to your collection, we recommend the Body Solid Pro Lat Pulldown Low Row Machine GLM83.

plate loaded lat pulldown machine

 

GLM83 Pro Lat Pulldown /Low Row Machine Features:

  • No-Cable-Change Technology” makes transitions between high and low pulley exercises effortless
  • Thick, comfortable DuraFirm™ seat pad
  • Patented nylon bushings provide smooth weight carriage travel
  • Comfortable, multi-position 8" foam rollers lock you in position for high pulley lat work
  • Seated Row Foot Brace for low pulley lat work
  • Includes Lat Bar and Straight Bar
  • 60"L x 32"W x 82"H

Leverage Lat Pulldown Machine

A leverage lat pulldown differs from standard cable machines. It uses weight plates as resistance, rather than a fixed weight stack.

The leverage system delivers consistent resistance throughout the workout. This increases muscular engagement, especially in the latissimus dorsi (lats). It also requires greater stabilization from the user. This engages a wider variety of muscles and provides an enhanced workout. This is great if you are looking for safe, efficient back-strengthening activities.

If you’re looking for a top-tier leverage lat pulldown machine at a great price, the TKO lat pulldown machine is unbeatable.

Leverage Lat Pulldown Machines

TKO Strength 903LPD Plate Loaded Lat Pull Down Machine

  • Natural feel of free weights in a guided lat pull down motion.
  • Biomechanically and ergonomically correct range of motion for the best contractions.
  • Oversized pivot point for smooth lift and long-lasting durability.
  • Steel handles for added longevity and maintenance-free use.
  • High-quality materials and paint job give off a premium look, which is good for your gym/facility while still saving money. 

TKO Plate Loaded Lat Pull Down Features: 

  • Cushion: Filled with MC high resilience foam material with a high grade vinyl upholstery
  • Frame: 2" x 4" heavy duty gauge steel
  • Plate Storage Holders: 4 holders Included free. Made with stainless steel.
  • Handle Grips: Brushed steel knurling handles
  • Seat Support:  Color coded, spring assisted adjustments

Leverage Lat Pull Down Specifications:

  • Dimensions(LWH):  63" x 57" x 77"
  • Product Weight: 373 Lbs.
  • Load Capacity: 300 Lbs.
  • Frame Color:  Graphite and Black
  • Upholstery Color: Black
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 5 years parts, 6 months upholstery 

Lat Pulldown Machine With Weight Stacks

Weight stack lat pulldown machines come with a set of preloaded weights. You can easily adjust them with a selector pin. This type of machine is a popular choice for both home and commercial gyms due to its convenience and ease of use.

These machines usually have a seat with a thigh support pad. There is a pulley system overhead and a bar connected to a cable. You can change the resistance by attaching the weight stack to the cable.

The York Barbell STS Lat Pulldown Machine is reliable. It's a great option for effective lat workouts. It has all the features you will need and is cost-effective and durable.

STS Lat Pulldown Machine Features:

  • Adjustable locking leg hold-down secures body position.
  • A straight bar with angled ends ensures correct arm and wrist position.
  • 4200-pound tensile strength aircraft quality cable.
  • Available with either a 250lb or 300lb selectorized weight stack

York Barbell Lat Pulldown Machine Specifications:

  • Assembled Dimensions: 53”L x 47-1/2”W x 90”H
  • Colors Available: Silver, White
  • 250lb Stack: (10) x 10lb Plates + (10) x 15lb Plates
  • 300lb Stack: (20) x 15lb Plates

Lat Pulldown Mid Row

A lat pulldown mid row machine is a versatile fitness equipment. It combines the benefits of lat pulldowns and seated rows to provide an effective upper-body workout. It targets a variety of back muscles. These include the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, and biceps.

This dual-function machine enables you to perform vertical pulling workouts (lat pulldowns) for upper back and width. It also allows you to perform seated rows for mid and lower back thickness.

If you're looking for a perfect lat pulldown machine gym setup, The BodyKore Lat Pulldown/Low Row Machine is perfect for you! 

You can perform many exercises to target different muscles. This machine is an excellent and versatile match for your everyday workout. The replaceable combo unit allows you to choose between a lat pulldown and a seated row.

Lat Pulldown Mid Row Machine

BodyKore Lat Pulldown/Low Row Machine Features:

  • 4-Position adjustable foam rollers and intuitive foot placement help keep the user secure and stable
  • Interchangeable seat from lat pull down to low row
  • Footrests provide greater stability during exercise
  • Lat bar and low pull handle included
  • Frame made with 3.5” oval rolled steel tubing – rated over 1000lbs
  • Thermosetting electrostatic powder coating insinuates a bright color and glossy metallic shine
  • Cup/phone/key holder

Lat Pulldown Low Row

A Lat Pulldown Low Row machine is a type of workout equipment that combines lat pulldown and low row movements in a single machine. It targets the back muscles, especially the latissimus dorsi. It also stimulates the biceps and shoulders.

The lat pulldown focuses on the upper back, while the low row targets the middle and lower backs. This dual-purpose equipment saves space for back training. It's popular in home and commercial gyms.

For the best performance and functionality, the Bells of Steel Lat Pulldown Low Row Machine is our top pick for a lat pulldown low row machine.

Lat Pulldown Low Row

Bells Of Steel Lat Pulldown Low Row Features:

  • 2-in-1 back training: Rotate between lat pulldowns and cable rows seamlessly, introducing varied workouts without any fuss.
  • Colossal 310lb stack: Achieve dynamic back workouts with the effortless pin-loaded 310lb weight stack, eliminating the time-consuming process of loading/unloading plates.
  • Rack attachment compatible: Amplify your workout routine by integrating power rack attachments, diversifying your fitness regimen.
  • Stainless steel lat bar: Jump into action immediately post-assembly with the included rust-resistant lat bar, ensuring smooth, consistent workouts every time.
  • Curls, raises, & more: Experience enhanced usability with the forward-shifted seat, optimizing the lower cable for a range of standing exercises.
  • Overload with ease: Micro-load up to 20 lbs for precise weight training and combine with resistance bands for an unmatched intensity in your workouts.
  • Built for home gyms: Crafted for space efficiency without compromising on versatility, ensuring it becomes the cornerstone of your home gym, not just another piece collecting dust.

Bells Of Steel Lat Pulldown Specifications:

  • Weight: 528lbs/239.5kg
  • Length (Depth): 69.9”/1,775mm
  • Width: 41.3”/1,049mm
  • Height: 86.7"/2,203mm
  • Pull Ratio: 1:1
  • Pulley Material: Aluminum
  • Lat Bar Material: Stainless Steel
  • Machine Material: Steel
  • Machine Coating: Black Powder Coat
  • Machine Type: Pin-Loaded Stack
  • Cable Capacity: 550lbs
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime

Diverging Lat Pulldown Machines

Diverging Lat Pulldown Machines are special fitness equipment. They simulate the natural movement of the arms during a lat pulldown exercise. They have two separate handles that move separately. This provides a more natural and ergonomic motion consistent with the body's biomechanics.

This design helps distribute stress equally across the muscles. It focuses on the latissimus dorsi in the back and activates the biceps and shoulders. The diverging action gives a more effective workout.

It lowers the chance of injury and promotes balanced muscle development on both sides of the body.

The TKO Commercial Diverging Lat Pulldown Machine is our most recommended one. 

It is comparable to high-end commercial equipment brands. It is made with heavy gauge steel. It also has premium leather upholstery and a sleek protective paint job. This guarantees long-lasting quality and an attractive appearance. 

Diverging Lat Pulldown Machines

TKO Diverging Lat Pulldown Machine Features:

  • Multi-grip TPU covered handles allow workout variety
  • Adjustable thigh hold down pads provide stability and firm support during workouts
  • Cushion filled with MC high resilience foam material covered with high grade, double stitched PU leather upholstery
  • 200lb Weights stack - 10lb increments

Iso-lateral Lat Pulldown Machine

An Iso-lateral Lat Pulldown Machine is gym equipment that enables independent arm mobility during lat pulldown exercises. Each arm functions independently. This allows you to work both sides of your body equally, addressing muscular imbalances and improving coordination.

This machine focuses on the latissimus dorsi muscles in the back, as well as the biceps and shoulders. It provides a balanced and effective upper-body workout. The iso-lateral design is especially effective in promoting symmetrical strength and muscular development.

The Body-Solid Pro Clubline Series II machines are hard to beat for intense workouts. They feature a step-in entry for convenient use.

They also have DuraFirm™ pads to prevent fatigue and pain during extended workouts. Its heavy-gauge steel frames are welded on all four sides. This provides rock-solid stability and durability. 

Iso-lateral Lat Pulldown Machines

Pro Clubline S2LAT Series II Lat Pull Seated Row Features:

  • Full Commercial rated
  • Instructional Placard included
  • 5 position adjustment on leg hold down
  • Independent lat pull-down movements for symmetrical strength development.
  • Longer seat pad to accommodate all size users on mid-row station
  • Fully shrouded
  • 2”x3” twelve gauge steel
  • Includes two cable handles, traditional lat pull-down bar and straight bar.
  • Standard weight stack 160lb (73kg) with optional 235lb (107kg) upgrade

Lat Pulldown Chest Press Combo

A Lat Pulldown Chest Press Combo is a multipurpose gym machine that combines the lat pulldown and chest press movements. This dual-purpose equipment allows you to work on both your upper back and chest muscles in one station. The pulldown targets the latissimus dorsi. The chest push targets the pectoral muscles.

It's an effective way to get a full upper-body workout. This is especially true in compact spaces like home gyms or fitness centers.

The Body Solid Pro Dual Commercial Vertical Press and Lat Station is one of the best models we can suggest. 

It's a single-station solution for many upper-body exercises. It offers a space-saving solution to focus on your chest and upper body. It also provides extra emphasis on the triceps and shoulders.

Lat pulldown machine with Chest press combo

 

Pro Dual DPLSSF Commercial Vertical Press and Lat Station Features:

  • Adjustable press arm for a full range of motion
  • Ergo grip press handles for correct positioning.
  • Heavy gauge 2"x4" mainframe construction and aircraft quality cables and pulleys.
  • Biomechanically designed for maximum range of motion and outstanding muscle development.
  • Works as a modular component on the Pro•Dual 3-Stack and 4-Stack Gyms
  • Dimensions: 67"L x 47"W x 83"H

Lat Pulldown Rack Attachments

These are accessories you can attach to power racks or squat racks, allowing racks to be used for lat pulldown exercises. These additions enhance the usefulness of a standard rack. These allow you to target the latissimus dorsi, biceps, and rear shoulders without the need for a separate lat pulldown machine.

They are a space-saving and cost-effective option. If you are looking to upgrade your home gym or facilities and you only have a limited space, these are your best bet.

Transform the Body-Solid GPR400 Power Rack into a complete home gym with the GLA400 Lat Attachment

You can perform high and low pulley exercises, including lat pulldowns, rows, biceps curls, and shrugs, in the comfort and stability of a power rack.

Lat Pulldown Rack Attachment

Body Solid GLA400 Lat Attachment Features:

  • includes lat bar and low row bar
  • Product Weight: 84.9 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 80”L x 52”W x 80”H

Choosing The Best Lat Pulldown Machine Type For You

In this section, we will talk about the differences between lat pulldown machines designed for commercial use and those for home gyms. We will also discuss the differences between plate-loaded and weight stack models.

You must understand these variations to invest right in your fitness journey.

Commercial Use vs. Home Use

Commercial use machines 

These types are usually found in gyms and fitness centers. The best commercial lat pulldown machines are durable. 

Many users each day can handle heavy use with them containing heavier stacks. These machines are more expensive. But they include added functions that allow for a more dynamic workout experience.

Home use lat pulldown machines

They are often smaller, lighter, and cheaper. They are built for personal use in your own workout space. They fit into small places while also catering to specific users.

They lack the heavy-duty design and weight capacity of commercial equipment. Yet, they can still provide an excellent workout for people who want to do lat pulldowns at home.

Plate Loaded vs. Weight Stacks

When choosing a lat pulldown machine, consider whether to opt for a plate loaded or weight stack machine. Here are some of their differences: 

plate loaded vs. weight stacks

Plate Loaded Lat Pull Down Machines:

  • In plate loaded machines, you need to manually add and remove weight plates to change the resistance.

  • They offer a more flexible weight range. You can increase the weight as you advance.

  • Plate loaded machines are cheaper at first. But you may invest a lot more into the weight plate set to get a full range of options. 

  • They are easier to maintain and repair.

Weight Stack Lat Pull Down Machines:

  • Weight stack machines offer more of an all-in-one experience. 

  • They contain pre-set weights. The weights are easily changed with a pin. This makes them ideal for quick weight adjustments. Yet, they usually provide fewer options for exercise.

  • Weight stack machines may have a higher initial cost, but you don't need to buy separate weight plates.

  • They have a slimmer design. The inbuilt weight stack system delivers a smoother and more controlled workout.

Ultimately, your personal preferences, goals, and fitness level will determine the best option for you. You may test both and determine which one you prefer or include a blend of the two into your workout routine. One isn't always superior to the other; they serve different purposes.

Lat Pulldown Techniques and Variations

As fitness enthusiasts, we understand the value of proper form and technique in achieving success in a fitness journey and making sure it is safe. Here are several lat pulldown techniques and variations to help you get the most out of this fantastic upper-body exercise.

Proper Lat Pulldown Form

Video Creator Credit: Athlean X

Before we get into the variations, let's talk about the proper form for the standard lat pulldown machine exercise. Follow these steps to ensure proper technique while performing this effective exercise: 

1. Setting the appropriate height of the leg pad:

When preparing for a lat pulldown, make sure your thighs are in contact with the leg pad but not too compressed. The pad should lightly press on your thighs. This will enable your heels to raise slightly (1-2 inches) off the ground. It minimizes body movement with the bar.

2. Establishing an appropriate grip:

To begin the lat pulldown, grab a straight bar with an overhand grip. Adjust the width to your body proportions, but keep it broader than shoulder width. Aim for a neutral grip, with your wrists aligned above your elbows. The grip width affects muscle engagement. A wider grip targets the teres major, whereas a narrower grip focuses on the forearms.

3. Torso Angle:

Ensure appropriate torso alignment during the first pull in a lat pulldown. Maintaining a straight posture increases lat activation. Leaning back transfers the focus to the upper back muscles. You should base the degree of your lean on which particular muscles you want to target.

4. Pull the target point

During the exercise, make sure to engage the upper chest muscles (pectoralis major) near the collarbones. Avoid bending your chest forward and downward. Instead, imagine elevating your upper chest towards the bar and pulling it down.

5. Elbow joint position

During the workout, your target area impacts how you move your elbow. Imagine driving your elbows down into your front pockets while seated. This will help build larger lats. Move your elbows further back to target the upper back muscles.

6. Controlling eccentrics

During a lat pulldown, maintain controlled movement during the eccentric phase. The eccentric phase includes elevating the bar. The concentric phase is faster. Focusing on controlled eccentric lifting puts more force on the latissimus dorsi, guaranteeing full range of motion and encouraging muscular growth.

7. Increase the intensity of the exercise

Advanced fitness enthusiasts may consider integrating partial and/or paused reps into exercises to improve muscular growth. Using partial reps after failure is a great technique. It takes workouts to and beyond their limitations.


Key Tips:

  • Keep your back straight throughout the exercise. 
  • Keep your head in a neutral position, aligned with the spine.
  • Make sure to extend fully at the top and contract fully at the bottom of the movement.
  • Choose a weight that allows you to draw the bar down with your back muscles rather than momentum.

Lat Pulldown Variations

  • Wide grip lat pulldown: This variation engages the lat muscles to a greater extent and is usually performed with a pronated grip (palms facing away from your body). 
  • Close grip lat pulldown: In contrast to the wide grip variation, the close grip focuses more on the biceps and the middle back muscles.
  • Supinated grip or underhand lat pulldown: By changing your grip to an underhand or supinated grip (palms facing your body), you can target different muscle fibers and increase biceps engagement.
  • Neutral grip lat pulldown: Using a V-shaped handle or parallel grip handles, you can emphasize specific muscles, such as the lower lat fibers and the rhomboids.

For the full article, you can go to this blog:  Top Lat Pulldown Variations For A Large Back | Must Try

Remember that when adding these to your workout routine, it is important to maintain proper form and technique. This not only lowers the chance of injury but also guarantees that you get the maximum advantages of the lat pulldown exercise. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Lat Pulldown machine worth it?

We believe that a lat pulldown machine is well worth the investment, particularly for those looking to build a strong and sculpted upper body. This machine allows you to target many muscle groups. 

What are the benefits of a lat pulldown machine?

Working the lats results in better posture. It also leads to fewer cases of back conditions and a more attractive appearance.

We have a full article on the benefits of lat pulldown machines that you can read:  11 Lat Pulldown Benefits You Need To Know About

What muscles does a lat pull down work?

The primary muscle targeted by the lat pulldown machine is the latissimus dorsiThese muscles are responsible for shoulder extension, adduction, and internal rotation. By using this machine, you'll also be working on secondary muscles. These include the biceps, deltoids, teres major, infraspinatus, and rhomboids.

What is the alternative to the lat pulldown?

Pull-ups are an excellent alternative to lat pulldown machines. This weight exercise works the same muscles. It offers an intense workout without using gym equipment. 

Are pull-ups better than lat pulldown?

Pull-ups and lat pulldowns are both helpful in exercising the latissimus dorsi, but there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Some people prefer pull-ups for their versatility and natural action. Others appreciate the lat pulldown machine for its regulated resistance and adjustable weight. 

What is the difference between lat pull downs and cable rows?

Lat pulldowns target the latissimus dorsi muscle. The key difference is in the movement. Lat pulldowns demand bringing the weight down vertically. Cable rows need to move the weight horizontally

We have a full article you can read to know more about the difference: Lat Pulldown Vs. Cable Row | Comprehensive Comparison

Wrapping Up

We have finished exploring the 9 types of lat pulldown machines. They are accessible for different fitness levels and goals. We also provided our best recommendation for each type to help you decide what to get. 

Remember, the key to a successful fitness journey is choosing the right lat pulldown machine. It should best suit your needs, goals, and fitness program. Keep proper form and technique and have a consistent, progressive, and well-rounded workout routine.

Set out on a journey to stronger, more defined back muscles.

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About The Author

Matt Gemkow, the author of this content section at Select Fitness USA, boasts more than 15 years of fitness experience. He started out in sports and athletic training for many years and has since 2014 transitioned into heavy-weight training and bodybuilding. As a result, he has become one of the most experienced fitness equipment experts out there, and a valuable source of information.