Home lat pulldown machines are increasing in popularity. Over recent years, commercialized home-use lat machines are no longer just a dream. These machines can be purchased at a great price and are high quality – if you know what to look for. We can help with that!
So lat pulldown machines – what are they?
There are two types: ones that can attach to a power rack, and ones that functions solo – the solo ones will be what we’re reviewing here.
As standard, they’re designed to have thigh support, a padded seat, and have a rod or upper cable that hangs down with a long bar attached. There are also some lat pulldown machines that can do further exercises due to a bottom pulley as well.
Lat Pulldown Machines – what types are there?
Stand-Alone – This type is small, fitting in many home gyms. It is self-contained but has one downside: its height. You will need to make sure you have high enough ceilings in your home to use it.
Power Rack Attachment – If your budget is limited and you are short on space, this is a good attachment to have. A lot of home gym enthusiasts build their gyms with the power rack at the center, and with this attachment you don’t have an extra machine to worry about.
Single-Stack Home Gym Attachment – Ideal for people who want to exercise regardless of experience or age. Home gyms that are single-stack offer versatility, but a lat pulldown attachment will always be a primary feature. This is brilliant if you are on a budget and are low on space.
What’s the best one?
That really depends on you. The machines are going to be based on the space you have in your home, your budget, and your exercising goals. Home gyms don’t have to be full of machines – a simple room with a power rack and a lat attachment or lat pulldown machine that is free-standing can be a great home gym.
We’ll show you in this review what your choices are for all types of lat pulldown machines.
I want a lat pulldown machine – what are the benefits?
Working on your lats can be done in several ways. Some users want to try a different approach that just pull-ups or bodyweight chins.
What exercises can you do?
Pulldowns are the obvious choice on a lat machine, but there are more exercises than just that. Cable T-bar rows, seated low cable curls, standing low cable curls, low cable rows, bicep curls, and triceps pressdowns are just some of the others.
You don’t get this sort of range with a normal chin-up bar. With different handles that can be attached, you’re able to do an even greater range of exercises.
What muscles will I be working?
If you are using a vertical pulldown with the machine, you’re going to use your lat (latissimus dorsi) muscles, but you’ll also be working other muscles too:
Rhomboids – Rhomboid minor and rhomboid major are on either side of your upper back, and are used, along with other muscles, to retract your scapula.
Trapezius – This is the most famous one you’ll see amongst bodybuilders. In their signature pose, this is the muscle that stands out best. It starts at your neck’s base, joins the shoulder, and then the spine’s middle. In that way, it falls in the shape of a triangle.
Serratus anterior – This muscle sits between your scapula and the sides of your chest. Situated at the body’s front, it follows between the 1st and 8th rib.
Levator scapulae – This is another muscle that helps with lifting your scapula. It sits on your neck’s back and sides.
Posterior deltoids – These muscles are used when you pull downwards. They are situated on the back of your shoulders.
Pectoralis minor – This triangle-shaped muscle is situated in your upper chest. It helps to move your scapula upwards.
Biceps – Although your biceps help during a lat pulldown, you need to be careful not to exercise them and ignore your lats. If you have poor form, you’ll miss exercising your lats entirely. Use your lats to begin the pull, and then your biceps will follow.
What am I looking for in a lat pulldown machine?
There are several features you can look for when you’re purchasing a machine. Some of them will be bonuses, others will be a must, so the type of machine will really depend on what you want to get out of it. We’ll share some features below.
Total Weight Support (Load)
The cheaper machines will only offer support of small weights, as they’re designed with new trainees in mind. If you’re looking for heavier weights, a more expensive machine is going to be important.
There are two types of weights in lat pulldown machines: stacks (bricks) and plates. The machines that support plates can be used with standard or Olympic plates (although you’re unlikely to find a cheap machine that will use Olympic plates). If you have spare weight plates already, getting a machine with plates is a good idea as that’ll help with expenses.
Thigh support and adjustable seats are the best features on a lat pulldown machine. A must-have feature when you buy.
The last thing you want is pads and cushions that will wear in a brief period of time. Quality firm pads are necessary, as is a sturdy frame with no wobble to it.
The cable (or upper rod) should also be of an excellent quality. A poor-quality cable could cause injury, and neither you nor the manufacturer want that! It’s good to check to ensure safety all around.
The price difference between machines with and without a bottom pulley isn’t large, and if you have a bottom pulley, you’ll be able to do more exercises, so it’s well worth the investment. It won’t come with the cheapest models but is definitely worth thinking about.
In this guide, we’ve only shown lat pulldown machines with warranties, as they’re necessary for this sort of equipment. The last thing you want is an expensive machine that fails after a few months and you have no recourse to return it!
Lat pulldown machines are fantastic additions to your home gym.
In this list, we’ve given you the six best for your money, and now it’s up to you! Weigh(!) the pros and cons and discover your lat potential.