V Bar Lat Pulldown Exercise Guide: All You Need To Know

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You have arrived at this blog as you want to know just how good the v bar pulldown exercise is, right?


You’ve wanted to add muscle mass to your back and lats and know if this lat pulldown variation is as good as people claim it to be?


Good! As that is what you are about to find out!


The V bar pulldown is an excellent exercise for beginners because it is relatively easy and doesn’t require a lot of weight.


However, this exercise can also be more challenging by using heavier weights or performing additional sets.


This blog will share just how good this back and lat exercise is and inform you of everything you need to know about it. We will empower you with all the necessary information to add serious mass and size to your back muscles!


What is the V Bar Pulldown?

The v bar lat pulldown machine is a versatile piece of equipment that can target different muscle groups in the back. It is one of the most popular exercises on the lat pulldown machine and is an excellent exercise to build strength in the back and rear shoulders.

The exercise has its name from the type of handle used that resembles the letter V and is attached to a cable pulldown machine.

v bar pulldown

Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Back Training Guide <<<

Which back muscles are worked in the V-Bar Pulldown?

V bar pulldowns work the latissimus dorsi (primary), rhomboid (secondary), trapezius (secondary), rear deltoids (secondary) and biceps (secondary)

v bar pulldown muscles worked

How To Do A V-Bar Lat Pulldown

Get to a cable pulley lat pulldown machine and attach the v-bar handle.


Adjust the seating and leg rest pads so you are firmly in place when seated and your feet are flat on the floor.


Ensure the weight stack still provides tension at the top of the movement and stretches your back and upper body.


We are now ready to go through the movement!


  • Select the correct weight on the machine that will allow you to warm up with this exercise

  • Align yourself between the seat and the pads, and then grab the v bar handle with a neutral grip and sit down whilst holding the v bar handle

  • Once seated, you can lean back slightly (no more than 10 degrees), creating space for the v bar to pull it down to the lower chest area.

  • Pull your shoulder blades back and down, keep your core tight, and remain in this position to start the reps. (this is known as the starting position)

  • Pull the v bar down to your middle chest, ensuring that your elbows are pointed to the side when the v bar touches your mid-chest

  • Hold this position for 4 seconds whilst you contract your upper back as hard as you can, and then reverse the movement so that the bar returns to the starting movement. This starting position will enable you to perform maximum stretch of the lats.

  • Well done! You’ve just done your first rep! Let’s get nine more!


v bar pulldown example

Recommended Read: >>> How Much Does The Smith Machine Bar Weigh? (Answered) <<<

V Bar Lat Pulldown Workout Plan

The v bar lat pulldown should be used as part of a wider back workout. The goal for the v bar pulldown would be to break down the lat muscles and create muscle hypertrophy.


We can achieve this by ensuring the entire back muscle group is trained with the correct exercises, intensity, weight and reps. Below is a back workout plan incorporating the v-bar pulldown and other vital exercises.


v bar lat pulldown workout plan

Recommended Read: >>> 15 Compound Back Exercises For A Big Back <<<

Ten Key Benefits of Doing The V Bar Pulldown

Now that I covered what the V bar pulldown is let’s take a look at some of the benefits of this exercise.

1. It’s a great way to build back muscle

The V bar pulldown is an excellent cable machine exercise for building strength and muscle in the back. This exercise targets the latissimus dorsi, the most significant muscle in the back. The lat muscles generally don’t get much direct work, so the V bar pulldown is a great way to give them extra attention.


From my personal experience, I’ve found that the V bar pulldown is one of the best exercises for building a wide back. You should add this exercise to your workout routine to build a strong and muscular back.


2. It can help improve your posture

The V bar pulldown is also an excellent exercise for improving posture. This is because the exercise helps strengthen the upper back muscles responsible for keeping the shoulders in alignment.


Stronger upper back muscles can help pull the shoulders back, leading to better posture. Additionally, the V bar pulldown can help stretch the chest muscles, further improving posture.


3. It’s an excellent exercise for beginners

The V bar pulldown is a great exercise for beginners because it is relatively easy. This exercise doesn’t require a lot of weight, so you can start light and gradually increase the amount of weight as you get stronger.

Recommended Read: >>> Arnold Back Workout: How to Make Your Back Huge! <<<

4. It’s a versatile exercise

The V bar pulldown is also a versatile exercise because you can do it in many different ways. For example, you can change the width of your grip to target different muscles in the back. You can also use different weights and perform additional sets to make the exercise more challenging.

5. It’s a great exercise for athletes

The V bar pulldown is also a great exercise for athletes because it helps to build strength and power in the back and increase lat activation. This exercise can help to improve performance in sports that require pulling motions, such as football, hockey, and lacrosse.

6. It can help relieve back pain

The V bar pulldown can also help to alleviate back pain. This is because the exercise helps to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the back. Stronger back muscles can help support the spine and take pressure off the joints. Additionally, stretching the muscles can help to improve flexibility and range of motion in the back.

7. It’s a great exercise for overall strength

The V bar pulldown is also a great exercise for overall strength. This exercise works for multiple muscle groups in the back, shoulders, and arms. As a result, it can help to improve total-body strength.

8. It can help you improve your shoulder blades

The V bar pulldown can also help improve the position of your shoulder blades. This is because the exercise helps to strengthen the muscles that attach to the shoulder blades.

9. It’s a great exercise for your abs

The V bar pulldown is also a great exercise for your abs. This is because the exercise forces you to stabilize your core while performing the movement. As a result, your abs have to work hard to keep your body in a stationary position.

Ten Tips That Helped Me Improve My V Bar Pulldown

Now for the good stuff; here are my ten tips and tricks that helped me improve my V bar pulldown:

1. I Increased the weight gradually

The first thing I did was increase the weight gradually. I started with a lighter weight and slowly increased the amount of weight I was using. This helped me to avoid injury and allowed me to build strength in every muscle group slowly.

2. I Used a different grip

I also used a different grip. I tried a few different grips and found that the V bar gave me the best results. If you think about it, the V shape of the bar allows you to get a better grip on the weight.

Recommended Read: >>> The 17 Ultimate Cable Chest Exercises (Complete Guide) <<<

3. I Added more sets

Another thing I did was add more sets. I started with two sets and gradually increased to three or four sets. This helped me to build more muscle and get better results.

4. I Used a spotter

I also used a spotter. This is someone who helps you lift the weight and can also give you some tips and advice. Having a spotter can help you to stay safe and injury-free.

5. I Took my time

I also took my time. I made sure to rest between sets and didn’t rush the exercise. This helped me to avoid injury and allowed me to get the most out of the exercise.

6. I Used a full range of motion

I also used a full range of motion. This means that I lowered the weight and then lifted it up. This helped me to get a better workout and see better results.

7. I Kept my back straight

Another important thing I did was keep my back straight. Keeping your back straight will ensure you work the right muscles and avoid injury.

8. I Squeezed my shoulder blades together

Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do this exercise perfectly from the beginning. It takes time and practice to master the form. Remember to focus on quality over quantity; soon, you’ll be a pro!

9. I Contracted my abs

This is an important tip to help you get the most out of the exercise. Contracting your abs will help you to stabilize your body and avoid injury.

10. I Breathed correctly

Last but not least, I made sure to breathe correctly. This means that I inhaled when I lowered the weight and exhaled when I lifted it back up. This helped me to get more oxygen to my muscles and avoid fatigue.

Hand Spacing For V Bar Lat Pulldowns

The v bar will determine how many variations of grip you can have. Most v-bars have the exact sizing, so hand spacing is limited. The key in the movement is to ensure you can pull the v bar to the chest and contract hard at the bottom of the movement

Alternative exercises to the v bar pulldown

The v bar pulldown offers distinct advantages for back muscle stimulation, and it can be easier to perform drop-sets and super-sets between back exercises. However, other options offer the same level of muscle stimulation, and these can also be adopted :


Close grip lat pulldown: This targets the upper middle back and lats and the close grip forces the load towards the upper back. They do offer a similar level of muscle stimulation, and more often than not, their use depends on v bar availability.


Medium grip lat pulldown: This targets the lats and the upper middle back, depending on if you lean back or remain straight. The medium grip width also stimulates the biceps and upper arms, so people generally observe upper arms being worked out.


Wide grip lat pulldown: This targets the lats and rear delts but forces the movement to have a limited range of motion due to how far apart the hands would be.


Pull Ups: This targets the lats, upper back and rear delts but relies on your upper body strength to pull the entire body up. Due to the change in how it forces the body to work, many people experience significant gains in their upper body strength and size once they can do multiple sets of 10 reps in a session.


Studies have shown that muscle stimulation may be slightly beneficial if using a medium grip pull-down, but in the real world, any gain would likely be minimal. Therefore it can be safe to say that there is no best pulldown variation across these exercises.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are lat pulldowns good for powerlifting?

The lat pulldown is a popular exercise for people looking to build strength and muscle in their back and arms. However, there is some debate over whether or not the lat pulldown is an effective exercise for powerlifting.


While the lat pulldown does target the latissimus dorsi, a key muscle group for powerlifters, other exercises are more specific to the sport. For example, the deadlift and squat are two of the most essential exercises for powerlifters, as they train the muscles in the actual sport.


As a result, the lat pulldown may not be the best exercise for those looking to improve their powerlifting performance. However, it can still be a valuable addition to a powerlifting routine, as it can help to build overall strength and muscle mass.


Did Arnold Schwarzenegger incorporate v-bar lat pulldowns into his workout routine?

Yes, the Arnold back workout is known for its variety, and v-bar lat pulldowns were likely part of his routine to achieve comprehensive back development.

Are v-bar lat pulldowns considered a compound back exercise?

Yes, v-bar lat pulldowns are indeed a compound back exercise. They engage multiple muscles in the back, making them an effective exercise for overall back development.

How can I incorporate v-bar lat pulldowns into my wide back workout?

V-bar lat pulldowns are perfect for a wide back workout. They target the latissimus dorsi muscles, which contribute to the width of your back.

What are the differences between v-bar lat pulldowns and Lat Pushdowns?

While Lat Pushdowns primarily target the lats, v-bar lat pulldowns also engage other muscles in the back, making them a more compound exercise.

Can v-bar lat pulldowns replace bent over cable rows in my workout routine?

V-bar lat pulldowns and bent over cable rows both have their unique benefits. While you can incorporate both into your routine for comprehensive back development, they aren’t exact replacements for each other.

Are there any alternatives to v-bar lat pulldowns?

Yes, there are several alternatives to v-bar lat pulldowns, such as rack pulls and smith machine deadlifts.

Can v-bar lat pulldowns be part of cable back workouts?

Absolutely, v-bar lat pulldowns are a perfect fit for cable back workouts, contributing to a varied and balanced back routine.

How can I mix v-bar lat pulldowns and lat exercises with bands in my workout routine?

V-bar lat pulldowns and lat exercises with bands can be alternated in your routine to provide varied resistance and target the muscles from different angles.

Are v-bar lat pulldowns effective for a dumbbell lat workout?

While v-bar lat pulldowns utilize a cable machine, they can complement a dumbbell lat workout by providing a different type of resistance and engaging the muscles differently.

Can v-bar lat pulldowns be part of a back and shoulders workout?

Definitely, v-bar lat pulldowns are great for back and shoulders workouts. They target the lats, rhomboids, and traps, engaging both the back and shoulder muscles.

Final Thoughts

I hope I helped you learn more about the V bar pulldown and how to do it correctly. Remember to focus on quality over quantity; soon, you’ll be a pro!


Thanks for reading.

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