Wide grip upper pulldown


The pull-up (or vertical pull) loads the same muscle mass as pull-ups, which means that in many cases it can serve as an excellent alternative to them.

For example, for beginners who find it difficult to perform pull-ups, working with their body weight, or as an element of diversity in the training of more experienced athletes.

Benefits of traction exercises

The pull on the upper block is one of the main exercises in bodybuilding and fitness. At its core, the exercise is basic and involves a huge array of muscles in the work, in particular, it affects the outer edges of the latissimus dorsi, upper back, pectoral muscles, as well as the rear bundle of deltoid muscles, biceps and forearms.

This exercise will be especially useful for beginners and those who, for various reasons, are poorly given pull-ups. In the case of the deadlift, you can easily vary the load, while in pull-ups you work with your own weight, which for many is an unbearable mass. Also, the advantages of this exercise include its minimal injury risk.

Wide Grip Upper Pulldown Technique

1. Sit on the machine and secure your legs so that they do not come off the bench during the exercise, using a special T-roller. Then lift yourself up slightly and grab the bar with a wide grip. Sometimes, due to the design of the simulator or your height, you will not be able to reach the crossbar on your own, in this case, have your partner help you lower it down. Now straighten your back, tighten your lower back and fully straighten your arms, without releasing the crossbar, and rest your feet on the floor. This is the starting position.

2. Take a deep breath and, holding your breath, tensing your back muscles and bringing your shoulder blades together, gently pull the bar down to your chest. When the bar reaches shoulder level, pause and tighten your lats as much as possible.

3. Slowly return the bar to its original position, exhale. After a pause, do the next repetition.

It is important:

In order to maximize the load on the back muscles (first of all, the lats), pull the bar straight down, for this you need to sit on the bench directly under the bar. When the bar moves diagonally in your direction, the rear deltas take on part of the load.

When performing the exercise, do not round your back and shoulders, and do not strain your abs, if it doesn’t work out otherwise, then the weight is too big for you and you need to reduce it.

Begin the exercise by bringing the shoulder blades together and only then help pull the bar with your hands so that the elbows fall parallel to each other and straight down.

By holding your breath while pulling, you help keep your torso straight, which makes the exercise safer.


Depending on your grip and its width, pulling the vertical (upper) block will allow you to work the muscles of the upper and middle back. Rule of thumb: the wider the grip, the more the upper lats work, which actually determines the width of the back. Accordingly, the narrower the grip, the stronger the load is shifted downwards by the latissimus dorsi. And if your main goal is biceps, then just change the grip to reverse (palms look at the body) and grab the bar with a grip already shoulder-width apart.

Working muscles during the pull of the upper block

  • latissimus dorsi
  • upper back
  • pectoral muscles
  • deltoid muscles (posterior head)
  • biceps
  • forearms

Alternative exercises

  • Pull-ups

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