Close Grip Lat Pulldown Muscles Worked (In-Depth Look at Each Muscle)

When it comes to building a wide and muscular back, exercises that involve the element of vertical pulling work perfectly. Lat pulldown is one such exercise that has a prominent place in every lifter’s back training routine.

However, you must keep in mind that wide and well-developed lats aren’t just the result of performing countless wide-grip lat pulldowns. Lifters who have the best lats also incorporate exercises like close grip lat pulldowns to fully develop their backs.

So if you too want to build a massive back, you must incorporate close grip lat pull downs in your back training routine.

In this post, we will be giving you a detailed overview of the muscles that get used when you perform a close grip lat pulldown.

Let’s get started.

Muscles worked in close grip lat pulldown

Close Grip Lat Pulldown Muscles Worked

The close grip lat pulldown is an upper-body compound lift. Owing to this reason, it engages multiple muscle groups in its execution.

Many people might think that performing close-grip lat pulldowns only targets the lats. But that is certainly not the case. Performing close grip lat pulldowns targets multiple muscle groups and develops them too.

Let’s have a look at all the muscles that get used in performing close-grip lat pull downs:-

Latissimus dorsi

The latissimus dorsi aka lats are the muscles that are responsible for giving your torso a v-tapered appearance. If you want to train them adequately, you must include close grip lat pulldowns in your workout routine along with its wide grip variation.

Performing a close-grip lat pulldown also enables you to train the lower portion of your lats. When the lower portion of your lats gets developed, it makes your lats appear fuller.

You must have seen many bodybuilders whose lower lats are so well-developed that they sweep all the way down. Building such a wide and aesthetic back requires one to train the lower lats adequately. And it becomes possible by performing close-grip lat pulldowns.


The trapezius is one of the largest muscles in the upper body. It originates from the bottom of your neck and goes all the way to the middle of your spine.

If you want to train your trapezius effectively, only relying on performing shrugs is not going to suffice. Even though shrugs are an effective exercise to train your upper traps, they are not much capable of training the middle and lower portions of the traps.

However, when you perform a close grip lat pulldown, its execution engages the middle and lower portion of your traps. This in turn develops your trapezius completely and gives your entire back an aesthetic and denser appearance.

Upper back

Your upper back musculature has a crucial role to play in making your upper body look big and muscular. When those muscle groups are well-developed they enhance the girth of your upper body.

The execution of a close grip lat pulldown requires you to lean back a bit and pull your elbows down until they touch the sides of your torso. This engages your upper back muscles and gives them adequate stress that facilitates their growth.

Rear delts

In order to have a three-dimensional shoulder development, you need to make sure that your rear delts are trained as much as your front and side delts.

When you perform a close grip lat pulldown, its execution requires you to keep your elbows by your sides and pull them back. This places adequate stress on your rear delts and contributes to their development.

To activate your rear delts more while performing close-grip lat pulldowns, you can choose to pause for 2-3 seconds in the concentric phase of this exercise. Also, make sure to squeeze your rear delts at that point.

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Close grip lat pulldowns are performed either with a neutral grip or a supinated grip. The former uses a v-bar handle whereas the latter uses a straight bar handle.

When you perform a close grip lat pulldown with a neutral grip, it engages the brachialis muscle in your upper arms. This muscle lies in between your biceps and triceps.

The development of the brachialis muscle pushes your biceps upward which enhances the peak of your biceps. It also makes your arms appear bigger and fuller.

When you perform a close grip lat pulldown with a supinated grip, it gives your biceps a great workout. Owing to this reason, the close grip lat pulldown is considered an effective compound movement for your biceps.


Irrespective of whether you perform a close grip lat pulldown with a neutral grip or a supinated grip, the muscles in your forearms will get a decent workout.

Any pulling exercise for the upper body engages the brachioradialis muscle of your forearms. And close grip lat pulldowns are no different in this regard.

When your brachioradialis is well-developed, your forearms look bigger and muscular. It also enhances your forearm strength in general.

Close-grip lat pulldowns also improve your grip strength. This further enables you to establish a better mind-muscle connection with your other muscle groups.

Serratus Anterior

The serratus anterior is a small group of finger-like muscles that lie between your outer chest and ribs. The execution of close-grip lat pulldowns activates them and provides them a decent workout.

Well-developed serratus anterior muscles make bodybuilding poses like the front double biceps pose or any other overhead pose more aesthetic.

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Final Words

If you are someone who finds repping some impressive numbers on the pull-ups or chin-ups, you can rely on performing close-grip lat pull downs to build your foundational strength.

However, you must not lean back excessively while performing the close-grip lat pulldown. Doing so will engage your lower back more and you won’t get the desired gains from this exercise.