The close grip lat pulldown also referred to as the close grip hammer pulldown or the close grip hammer drill, is an effective workout to strengthen your lower back. This compound exercise will also assist in improving your posture and arm strength.
The close grip pulldown is an excellent exercise for fitness levels, from beginners to advanced gym rats. In this article, I’ll give you all the information you need to perform the close grip hammer pulldown.
What is close grip lat pulldown?
The close grip lat pulldown is one of the best workouts to strengthen your lower back. This exercise helps improve your grip strength and helps to build your upper back and shoulder muscles. The lat pulldown has been a popular exercise for those of all physical fitness levels for decades.
The close grip pulldown helps develop your grip strength and works on your triceps, chest and deltoids, upper back, and abdominal muscles. This exercise works on your entire core body muscles because your muscles are pushed from the floor, which works the outer muscles of your body, including your back and abdominal muscles.
Lat pulldown close grip has become one of the most dominant exercises for both strongmen and bodybuilders due to its high repetition rate, enormous weight being used, and unique set of exercises. The close grip pulldown utilize a wide range of abdominal muscles to produce a muscular contraction of the lower latissimus dorsi, rectus abdominis, and pectoralis major.
As opposed to other common exercises, such as sit-ups and pull-ups, the close grip requires using your hands and fingers in close contact, exerting a greater force through these muscles.
How to do the close grip lat pulldown?
To perform this exercise, you must have basic grip strength, be able to raise your arms overhead, have a good position to perform the movement (seated or standing), and execute the movement smoothly.
Begin by sitting comfortably with your feet and shoulder-width apart. Your elbows should be placed just over your shoulders, slightly bent, and you should be holding a weight in each hand.
As always, start on the softer side, allowing your hands to move slowly back toward your body until they are nearly touching. Your elbows should not be too far out to the sides, as this may cause wrist problems.
When you are first starting, it is best to keep your elbows slightly bent, as this will help you get a better feel for the movement.
As you get better at performing the close grip lat pulldown by placing your elbows out too far, you will be able to increase the speed of the movement. You can do this by simply increasing the weight, or resistance, increasing the weight and resistance, or both.
Once you have reached the point where you can place your weight resistance together, you will then begin to perform the movement at a comfortable speed for you.
To stretch your muscles, make sure you contract your pectorals, even if you do not want to lift them actively. This will help to keep them limber and prevent any injuries.
As you repeat these exercises over again, you should be able to feel your muscles getting stronger. Keep in mind that you should not go too heavy during the first few workouts using this technique. If you have not yet reached the starting position when starting, start by using light weights.
The closer you get to the starting position, the heavier you should gradually get. After you reach the starting position, you should be able to easily perform a close grip lat pulldown.
Benefits of close grip lat pulldown
1. Strengthen and build the lat muscles
Close grip lat pulldown exercises help strengthen and build the lat muscles in your back, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and forearms. The pulldown itself is basically a chin-up type exercise. Lat muscles are actually much more complex and interrelated than many people realize. Several different muscles are involved in performing a close grip pulldown, which is why many people get confused when trying to design their fitness routines. The lat muscles can be thought of as having three separate functions: controlling movement, maintaining position, and maintaining correct form. Learning how to perform these functions properly will help you improve your overall physical performance and help you prevent injuries.
2. Work every muscle group in your body
One of the most beneficial aspects of doing close grip lat pulldowns is that they work almost every muscle group in your body, which can be very beneficial. When you perform a full range of motion lat pulldowns, you work almost every muscle in your body. This makes it easier to maintain proper form because you use so many muscles to perform each rep. Since the body uses a full range of motion in each rep, you are working all of the muscle groups simultaneously, which means that you will be building more muscle mass.
3. Close grip lat pulldown improve your overall strength
Another benefit of doing close grip lat pulldown is that they are a great way to improve your overall strength. When you are doing a traditional lat pulldown, you are pulling down on the bar with your hands, which requires that you use a lot of strength in your arm. However, when you perform a lat pulldown, you use your entire body strength to pull the bar down, making it much easier to use more strength. Since you are using your body strength to pull down the bar, you will be building more muscular mass in a shorter amount of time.
4. Build a better grip for your regular exercises
An excellent close grip also helps you build a better grip for your regular exercises. When you perform a traditional lat pulldown, you grip the bar with your thumb and pinky fingers, holding it between your index and middle fingers. However, when you perform a close grip, you will be holding the bar with your thumb and index fingers, with your middle finger only resting on the edge of the grip. Since the thumb and index fingers are the most used, this allows for more balance, allowing you to do more repetitions on your exercises.
5. Increase muscular development
The benefits of close grip lat pulldown also include increased muscular development. When you grip a bar with your fingers, you are working for multiple muscle groups simultaneously, which forces you to use more muscles to perform each repetition. By having your thumb and index fingers on the end of the bar, you force your muscles to work harder, leading to increased levels of strength. You will also be able to target more muscle groups, leading to a more even body workout. This is especially beneficial for people who have smaller physiques.
If you haven’t tried performing a lat pulldown before, you may be wondering how you should go about performing this exercise. It’s really quite simple. Just lay down under a barbell with both your hands, gripping the bar shoulder-width apart.
Then, using light momentum and proper form, perform the lat pulldown, switching hands between the index and middle fingers. These are just a few of the benefits of close grip pulldown.
How you can maximize your workout with this exercise?
1. Primary muscle groups
As mentioned above, it comes as no shock that the closed grip lat pulldown mainly works the lats. Originating from the lumbar region, the lats are the widest muscle in the human body. In addition, the upper lats perform a large percentage of arm strength. Other stabilizer muscles that are worked during any lat pulldown include the infraspinatus, teres major, rhomboids, and the lateral or medial deltoids. To target these smaller stabilizers, perform alternating hands exercises, with the palms facing up. Do these until the desired effect is achieved.
2. Secondary muscle groups
When performing the close grip lat pulldown, you’ll use your triceps to help lift the weights. The triceps are used to keep the arms upwards while doing the pulldown. Many people make one common mistake when exercising with a cable machine is holding the arms straight without engaging the triceps. If you keep the arms straight while performing the cable machine exercises, you’ll end up lifting with your biceps. For best results, make sure your triceps stay contracted the entire time.
3. Slicing and throwing
Many people do not know that when completing a close grip pulldown, the barbell must be kept close to the body throughout the exercise motion. This will keep the barbell at the starting position and prevent it from slipping back down and out of position, which could cause injury. Performing the exercise correctly will require that the barbell is held relatively high above the body, with the palms facing upwards. This will allow you to slowly return the barbell to the starting position, and the exercise will be more effective overall.
4. Weight gain
Most people that do regular strength training understand that weight gain is the key to success. However, with the cable machine, you can add many pounds of muscle by doing regular cable flyes and regular curls and extensions. By adding on extra bicep weight, you’ll find that you’ll be able to do more reps with fewer sets, which will lead to even more growth. Of course, you should always work out with heavy weights above your limit, but that doesn’t mean that you need to build your biceps as well. As long as you can do standard flyes with 80% of your one-rep max, then you’re covered.
5. Ease of use
When using the close grip lat pulldown, you’ll find that it’s fairly easy to perform. Unlike most exercises where the movement requires you to balance an object while standing or performing the movement using your hands, with the close grip attachment, you have both feet planted firmly on the ground, eliminating most of the balancing needed. Also, you’ll find that you can easily move your arms and perform the exercise in a wide range of motion, as opposed to other resistance training exercises where it isn’t easy to move the arm. It is also possible to do this exercise without having to rest the hands. Because of these benefits, many people prefer to use this as their primary source of lats resistance, rather than spending the time and energy on traditional weights.
Muscles worked by the close grip lat pulldown
1. Primary muscle groups
With the close grip attachment, there are three primary muscle groups that you target and work with when doing this exercise. The primary muscle groups you target when doing the closed grip lat pulldown are the biceps, forearms, abdominals, and glutes. These are your primary muscle groups because they are all working towards a common goal -to make your arms upwards. This means that all of your muscles are working together and are working hard towards achieving one goal.
2. Secondary muscle groups
Along with the primary muscle groups which we covered above, there are secondary muscle groups that you can also work out and gain from the close grip lat pulldown. These secondary muscles include your back, abs, calves, hamstrings, hips, and legs. Working out with weights is excellent for building mass and strength throughout your muscle groups, but the best way to gain from your workouts is to do so while using free weights. While performing the close grip lat’s exercise, you can use either dumbbells or barbells to perform the exercise, depending on your personal preference.
3. Upper back (Close grip lat pulldown)
One of the primary goals of the close grip pulldown exercise is to work out the upper back. The upper back is extremely important because it is central to many of the movement patterns in your workouts. The upper back supports your shoulders and provides a strong base for your neck, upper arms, and even lower back. This makes the upper back one of the more important muscles you can work out and improve.
4. Forearms and biceps
Working out your forearms and biceps is also important for overall muscular development. Working out your forearms and biceps will help you with your physique and improve your arm strength, core strength, and overall upper body strength. To perform the lat pulldown, you’ll grip a dumbbell in one hand while keeping both hands fairly close together. Next, move the dumbbell to your side, and then bring it back down to your chest area. Repeat this motion as many times as you’re comfortable.
One of the main goals of the close grip lat pulldown is to work your back. The back supports your shoulders and keeps everything together. It’s a huge benefit that many people overlook when they’re trying to get stronger. It’s not uncommon for most people to work their back several times a week with no noticeable results, but doing the close grip pulldown will really work your back to perfection. In fact, many athletes use the lat pulldown as their primary method for strengthening their backs.
Close grip lat pulldown variations
1. Single arm lat pull down
From a sitting, neutral position, pull down on the lat with one arm out in front. Because being more fully tucked in and can exert lats a little better, we can all benefit from having slightly better leverage over our shoulders. This will result in better contractions throughout the targeted muscle groups resulting in more growth. From an exercise standpoint, this will allow for greater ranges of motion and force through the use of a single arm.
Controlling the lats with your arms is much easier with a straight bar than when using a dip grip or partial lat pull down bar. You can also work the lats with the straight bar because you’re using the full range of motion. The straight bar adds more weight because you’re not holding onto a partial bar that would lose its rigidity and allow for more bending and closed range of motion, giving you a less effective workout and less resistance.
To get a full workout for the lats, perform the exercise using a half-kneeling single-arm cable pulldown bar. Sit in a chair with both feet flat on the floor about two feet away from each other. Place your dominant hand behind aside and grasp the training bar at shoulder width with a light grip. Slowly extend towards your chest while inhaling and exhaling at the same time, keeping your back straight throughout.
2. Wide grip lat pull down
The wide grip lat pulldown is a very effective exercise that can help you build big strong muscles in your chest. Start with putting on the lat pulldown machine and adjust the leg pads according to your height and weight. Sit on the lat pulldown machine; Put both hands on top of the bar, with the palm, grasp the handles of the lat pulldown machine.
For the first few weeks of using the lat pulldown, don’t get the desired grip width. As in humans, bodybuilders sometimes fail to achieve their goals. A simple explanation is, bodybuilding body is a complicated process. It requires training and plenty of rest to make it possible. So for those test subjects who fail to reach the desired grip width, sometimes bodybuilders can train without pause for more than five minutes.
The grip width of the lat pulldown machine depends on the exercise. To know the actual grip width needed for the exercise, you can’t simply take the grips of all your favorite lat pulldown machines and try it on your own. Measure the distance between your hands at the place where the hands meet when you grip the bars.
You should be able to feel the knuckles of your hands curl a little under the weight when you use the machine. The actual measurement taken in inches or pounds does not mean much because your muscles will not expand significantly. Therefore, it’s better to measure your actual grip width to know exactly how much width you need to adjust when exercising.
3. Behind the neck lat pull down
The behind the neck lat pulldown is a very advanced close grip lat pulldown variation and an extremely useful exercise to develop the upper back muscles. While the exercise is designed to work on the lats alone, you’ll also find a fair amount of upper back and bicep activation, as well as a bit of shoulder and triceps action. What makes this exercise different than regular lat pulling down? First, the resistance is placed behind the neck, meaning that you are using your body weight against which to pull the weight down.
To perform this exercise, once you have raised your arms to a right angle from your body, clap your hands together to form a circle, with your shoulders moving towards each other and your elbows pointing outwards. From here, squeeze the glenohumeral joint behind your neck and bring your shoulder blade down until your chin almost touches the floor while locking your elbow around your belly button.
4. V bar pull down (Close grip lat pulldown)
The V-bar pulldown is an exercise variation that is extremely popular and has been used by countless people around the world. It is used for various exercises but mainly works on the chest, back, shoulders, and even abdominals. This variation is so popular because it can provide resistance against which you can work out and do different exercises.
The V-bar pulldown uses two plates, one opposite each other, to help create resistance against which you can exercise. This is a great way to challenge yourself when working out and to get into shape. However, you must ensure that you are using the proper form when exercising with the machine. If you feel that your form is not correct, then the chances are that you will not be able to obtain the best possible results.
V bar pulldowns are easy to use, and they provide excellent results in a short space of time. The machine also offers you the opportunity to add weight as you become stronger, which means that you will work out longer.
One of the main reasons people feel like the V-bar pulldown machine is so effective is the variety of exercises you can perform with it. You can also work your upper body with the resistance offered by the machine, and if your goal is to build strength, then this is a must-have machine for you. Not only does it give you excellent results, but it is also affordable, which means you will always be able to find something new to use in your gym.
Close grip lat pulldown alternatives
1. Standing cable machine
Place your feet slightly forward from the starting position. Your palms should be facing towards your feet, with your hands pointing towards the ground. Let’s begin by performing a standard close grip lat pulldown, slowly returning the weights down to the starting position on the floor. Be sure always to perform your reps slowly and deliberately since the heavy strain is placed on your stabilizer muscles when performing the exercise, which will be discussed further in the section on exercises.
2. Inclined dumbbell lat pulldown (IDC)
Begin your close grip pulldown by laying on your stomach, then clasping your hands together to make a fist, with your palms facing upwards. Place your hands directly under your shoulders, with your elbows resting on the dumbbells. If your hands are too close together, you will not be able to reach your palms out to your sides and will end up doing a regular lat pulldown instead of an inclined version. Do not rush through the movement, or you will be doing a total body workout, and that is not what you want to do.
3. Overhead close grip lat pulldown (OHP)
Overhead lat pulldown can be performed with an underhanded barbell and to build more strength to perform a standing-alternate dumbbell overhand. Let your arms hang down to just above your head, making sure your forearms and triceps are locked. Raise the dumbbells to your sides, over your head, and allow them to hang naturally. Furthermore, lower the dumbbells back down, and repeat the movement.
4. Behind the back lat pulldown (PBLS)
A behind the back (BKL) lat is performed exactly like a regular close grip lat pulldown, except you will be placing your hands behind your head. Bring the barbell back down, keeping your forearms locked and your elbows straight. Let the barbell hang down to either side of your head and return to the starting position. Do not rush through this movement. Be careful not to overwork your lats, and try to get a full range of motion in each repetition.
5. Front and elbow cable machine
The front and elbow cable machine are another great way to complete a full-body workout without getting a close grip attachment. These machines consist of a pair of bars with weight stacks on each bar. You place your palms in between the weight stacks and let the machine help you curl the weight upwards towards your head while your arms stay straight. Keep your forearms straight, and do not let the weight shift towards your hips or chest. Return the barbell to the starting position, and repeat.
Close grip lat pulldown mistakes
1. Do not perform the exercise in an upright position
A common error amongst weightlifters trying to learn how to do a close grip lat pulldown is that they do not perform the exercise in an upright position. Weightlifters should always do their exercises in a seated or neutral position. This will ensure that your elbows stay close together and your body maintains good posture. The closer your elbow gets to your body, the more you can stretch your pectoral muscles through the full range of motion. The wider your shoulders become and the further your elbows drop away from your body, the weaker your close grip pulldown will be.
2. Do not make the error of over-evolving the biceps
The most common mistake that weightlifters make when doing a lat pulldown close grip is to try to get their arms up as high as possible during the exercise, thereby causing tremendous stress on the biceps. As a weightlifter, you can’t get your biceps to hit their peak potential if you are putting strain on them. This over-evolving of your biceps will result in them becoming shorter and weaker. Therefore, do not over-train your biceps and do not perform the exercise in such a way that they suffer.
3. Do not do close grip lat pulldown with your arms in front of your body
Do not perform a close grip lat pulldown if you are in front of your body with your arms extended. This will put undue stress on your triceps and prevent you from getting a good hold onto the cable machine. If you hav a higher cable machine than your chest, do not pull yourself up off the floor by gripping the bar in front of your body. This is because when you are in front of your body, you can better see the bar and perform proper grip techniques. Furthermore, doing this will increase your risk of injury to the biceps as well as your back.
4. Do not lock the elbows
When doing close grip pulldown, a common mistake that people make is that they return to the starting position without locking their elbows. When doing close grip lat, make sure that you don’t allow your lower back to arch as it will increase the amount of time you spend in the side lat position. Also, when you are in the side lat position, make sure that your elbows are slightly bent so that they are facing toward your body. You want to keep your forearms on the floor throughout the entire lift. Also, if your hands are facing out towards the ground, you will want to keep your palms facing towards the ground.
5. Do not keep the elbows bent
The first mistake that people often make is bending the elbows. While doing a lat pulldown close grip with both hands, keeping the elbows bent and not straight is important. You should aim to do 3-4 reps of the close grip lat pulldown with your arms in the air. As you become more proficient with the exercise, be free to vary your rep range and set up into various challenges yourself. For example, you may try two hands on the cable machine, or you can do with two hands on the floor with your palms facing each other.
While there are many advantages of doing close grip lat pulldown, it is often underused in fitness circles due to lack of high-intensity training. Many fitness experts recommend that a full workout of close grip strength should be done each week, usually two or three times per week, for best results.
A regular training program for the upper body is essential when training for strength and endurance in the body and incorporated in any fitness plan. For those new to working out and who are unfamiliar with the lat pulldown exercises, it is recommended that you speak to a fitness trainer who can provide you with more information on what is best for you.
This exercise should not be omitted from your workout if you seek maximum results in your fitness training and bodybuilding efforts.
Make sure that you give it a shot; the results will amaze you! Get started right now.
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