Best Lat Pulldown Alternatives With Dumbbells

Lats are one of the most overlooked muscles that are quite important to us and shouldn’t be forgotten. A Lat pulldown is a pulldown exercise that involves grabbing a weighted bar, sitting down, looking straight forward, and pulling the weighted bar all the way down to your chest by moving your elbows backward.

Lat Pulldown Exercises: Why are they important?

So why are lat pulldown exercises essential to us? The reason the lat pulldown is so crucial is that the muscles are strengthened. The Latissimus dorsi muscle, the primary muscle in your back, will be stronger each time you do it, and doing this can help with better posture.

Not only are you getting a better posture if done correctly, but you’re also increasing your spinal stability, which has significant health benefits. These include muscular balance, healthy weight gain, increased overall strength, and, as we know, better posture.

These are some of the reasons you should be using lat pulldowns to give your workout that ideal back growth, and better yet, leave you healthier each time you do it.

4 Great Lat Pulldown Alternatives With Dumbbells

Single Arm Bench Supported Row

The single-arm bench support row is an exercise that lets you load one side of your body at any one time. All you need is an appropriate weight and a bench for support if you have one.


  • Hold the dumbbell with an extended arm and row the weight upwards towards your ribs.
  • Hold this for a second at the top, then slowly return to the starting position and repeat for however many reps you want.
  • Switch side after X amount of reps, and do the same with the other side.

The single-arm bench supported row is a straightforward and time-saving upper back workout, as it’s a unilateral exercise. This exercise primarily focuses on your lats, rhomboids, traps, and your biceps, making it an all-around exercise for your back.

While performing this single-arm bench supported row, you do need to be careful of balancing your muscles. If you do ten reps, you must do the same on the other side of your body, as you’re only utilizing one side of your body when using this exercise.

To get the most out of this exercise, you will need to keep everything balanced, work hard, and don’t let muscle fatigue work. It’s the way in when performing the single-arm bench supported row.

Incline Dumbbell Row

The incline dumbbell row is another excellent exercise that you can use as an alternative to a lat pulldown. The incline dumbbell is similar to others in this list in terms of technique but allows you to have another way to get to your upper back muscles.


  • For this, you will need an elevated and inclined bench that will let you extend your arms fully.
  • Lie face down on your inclined bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • With your legs straightened, row your dumbbells in a straight line towards your rib cage until your hands and elbows are horizontal.

There are many reasons why the Incline dumbbell row is beneficial and, in some cases, better than a standard lat pulldown. The main benefit for the inclined dumbbell row is that your entire body weight is supported by your inclined bench, which in turn allows you to isolate your upper back and working it harder as you’re taking all the load off your core.

If you want to get the best out of your Inclined dumbbell row, you will want to consider how you’re positioned. Obviously, doing the same amount of reps on each arm is not a problem, as you’re using both simultaneously. The only thing you need to be aware of is that you need to be centered on your bench. Being slightly left or right of your inclined bench will move your center of gravity, and therefore letting one muscle do more work than the other.

The best way to get past this is to line your nose up with the middle of the bench near your head, and you should be able to be reasonably well centered.

Decline Dumbbell Pullovers

Similar to the above, the decline dumbbell pullover is more focused on the chest and tricep when being performed. However, this exercise can bring your lats out if done correctly and give you a fantastic lat workout.


  • To utilize the declined dumbbell pullovers to exercise your lat, you will need to lie on your back on a declined bench.
  • Holding a single dumbbell between your hands, start the dumbbell from your hips, lift it up and over your head to create a tough stretch through the lats.
  • Then, engage them all over again and reverse it to end up at the beginning also, ready for another rep.

Doing a declined dumbbell pullover in this way utilizes several other muscles that you wouldn’t otherwise utilize when using a pulldown machine. As mentioned, you will be working out your chest and triceps, and your lats when stretched behind your head.

Not only this but when performing the declined dumbbell pullover, you will be working your muscles from all kinds of angles, giving a better overall muscle growth.

To get the most out of this workout, you should be looking to be completely central to your bench and go all the way from your hips to as far back as you can (without hurting or pulling a muscle) when you go over your head. Doing so will let you utilize your lats to the greatest possibility.

Kroc Row

Like a single-arm bench support row, this fantastic row is an excellent alternative to a lat pulldown from a machine. As you’ll see the more you read about this, the Kroc row is almost like a more advanced version of the single-arm bench support row, as you’re doing it without the bench, and is an excellent alternative to the first if you don’t have a bench to work with.


  • Firstly, you will need to support your body weight by placing your hand on a surface that will allow you to position yourself at a 45* angle, all while maintaining a neutral spine and neck.
  • Once found, you will need to make sure your feet are in a split stance, with your weight centered in your front foot.
  • Hold the dumbbell on an extended arm, hanging in a neutral position to start with, and then row the dumbbell back in a straight line, back to your ribs.
  • Hold this movement at your ribs for roughly a second, and return slowly to the original starting position to repeat the exercise for how many reps you wish to complete.

This exercise may be more beneficial for your lats as you will feel it a little bit more. By not utilizing a bench, you’re taking all of your weight and pushing it onto your arm and forward foot, which can strengthen both of them too.

Something to note when using the Kroc row is the technique. If done incorrectly, you may be prone to longer muscle fatigue, or faster muscle fatigue, which will not help you when trying to work out. Getting the best positioning and technique right is crucial to this movement.

As this workout focuses on one side of your body, make sure you switch and repeat the same amount of reps on both sides to balance your muscle growth. Something else to note is, the first reps you do, make sure your arm that suffers less from muscle fatigue goes first, so keep you strong for the second rep on the other arm.


All in all, here you have four of the best lat pulldown alternatives that you can try at home with your dumbbells. Although some of these require a bench, there are plenty of ways that you can still get your lats a thorough workout, all while keeping you fit and healthy.