Why it's on the list: Your first impulse may be to reach for the wide-grip bar, but back-focused EMG research suggests that use of a close neutral grip activates the lats similarly to a regular grip. This grip also allows for a longer range of motion and increased time under tension for the lats, which is great for building muscle.
Slow down the rep tempo on these, squeeze hard at the bottom of each rep, and allow a good stretch at the top.
Lat pull-down variations for back growth:
- Neutral-grip pull-down (narrow, medium, wide)
- Overhand-grip pull-down (narrow, medium, wide)
- Underhand-grip pull-down (narrow, medium, wide)
- Rope handle pull-down
- Single-arm pull-down
- Half-kneeling or full-kneeling pull-down
In your workout: When used as a mass-building exercise, it's best placed toward the middle or end of your workout for sets of 8-12 reps. It's great as a pump-focused finishing move, as well.