The Lat Pulldown has earned it’s right to be placed alongside some of the best upper body strength exercises that exist, and for good reason!
It is a compound exercise, meaning it targets several joints and muscles at once. It targets a range of muscles through your upper back, to your biceps, forearms and core. But it is best known for its ability to assist in developing your latissimus dorsi.
The latissimus dorsi are the largest muscles in your back and are responsible for a range of functions, for example, extension, adduction …and let’s not forget their aesthetic benefits! Hello, width! Learn more about your lats here!
So, you know that working your lats is a must, but what if you don’t have your own Lat Pulldown machine? Are there Lat Pulldown alternatives with dumbbells?
Indeed, there are! Read on to learn all about these 5 powerful exercises.
#1 Single Arm Bench Supported Row
The Single Arm Bench Supported Row is a unilateral exercise that allows you to load one side of your body at a time. Unilateral exercises are great for developing equal strength and mass through your left and right sides of your body. The Single Arm Bench Supported Row targets your lats, rhomboids, traps, as well as your biceps.
This exercise is done with one dumbbell of an appropriate weight, and a bench for support. To perform this exercise correctly, support your body weight on the bench, maintaining a neutral spine and neck.
Start holding the dumbbell on an extended arm and row the weight upwards towards your ribs – elbows skimming past your sides. Hold for a second at the top of the movement then return to starting position.
One of the simplest, yet one of the most effective Lat Pulldown alternatives with dumbbells. Watch the video below to see how to do it:
#2 Kroc Row
Like the Single Arm Bench Supported Row, the Kroc Row is a unilateral exercise which targets mostly the same muscles. The Kroc Row differs in that it is done without the full support of a bench; thus, it can be viewed as the more challenging version of the Single Arm Bench Supported Row due to the core stability it requires.
The Kroc Row is done with one dumbbell of an appropriate weight, and the back of a bench or a surface, at an appropriate height, to partially support yourself on.
To correctly perform the Kroc Row, support your bodyweight by placing a hand on a surface that allows you to position your body at a 45* angle, whilst maintaining a neutral spine and neck. Have your feet in a split stance with your weight centred in your front foot.
Start holding the dumbbell on an extended arm, hanging in a neutral position, and row in a straight line from there towards your rib cage. Hold for a second at the top of the movement then return to starting position.
Technique is extra important with this Lat Pulldown alternative, so be sure to check out the video below on how to perform it safely:
#3 Dumbbell Bentover Row
This Lat Pulldown alternative with dumbbells, is a bilateral exercise requiring you to use both your left and right side, simultaneously. The Dumbbell Bentover Row will give your lats a good working over, as well as your rhomboids and lower traps.
To correctly perform this exercise, have a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. From here, bend forward at the hips until your torso is at a 45* angle. Make sure you keep your core engaged, as well as maintain a neutral spine and neck to support your lower back.
Start holding both dumbbells on extended arms, and row in a straight line from there towards your rib cage, elbows going out wide/45*. Think of squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement before returning to starting position.
Here is a guide to performing this exercise correctly:
#4 Incline Dumbbell Row
The Incline Dumbbell Row is like the Dumbbell Bentover Row in terms of the technique required for the movement and the muscles worked.
The main difference here, however, is that your entire body weight is supported by a bench, allowing you to isolate your upper back by taking the load off your core.
To perform the Incline Dumbbell Row, you need to lie face down on an elevated/incline bench, holding the dumbbells in either hand beneath the bench. Have your legs straight, resting your toes on the floor. Row the dumbbells in a straight line towards your rib cage/until your arms are horizontal.
Take a look at the details of how to do this exercise here:
#5 Decline Dumbbell Pullovers
The Decline Dumbbell Pullover is often associated with a chest and tricep exercise. However, if done with the correct specific technique, this exercise can give your lats a significant workout. This exercise can be done on a flat bench, decline bench or even an incline bench.
Performing a variety of these Dumbbell Pullovers allows you to work the muscles from multiple angles.
To do the Decline Dumbbell Pullover, lie on your back on a declined bench holding a single dumbbell between your hands, with a slight bend in your elbow. Starting with the dumbbell at your hips, lift it up and over/behind your head to create a stretch through the lats. Then engage through the lats and pull back to starting position.
You need to get the technique spot on here to effectively target your lats, rather than your chest or triceps, so be sure to check out the video below:
There you have it, 5 powerful Lat Pulldown alternatives with dumbbells! I hope you enjoyed learning about these exercises as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you!
There is really no reason for your lats to miss out at home when you have this range of exercises designed just for them. Try out a couple of these lat pulldown alternatives with dumbbells this week and leave us a comment in the comments section below, letting us know which one your favorite is!