I know the Lat Pulldown is a great exercise for the back, but whenever I do it, my shoulder starts hurting. Is there an alternative to it in without overhead movement, where the hand does not move above the shoulders?

3 Answers 3


I have the same issue. Rows, will work the lats very well. There are about a million variations on rows too, so try them and see what works best for you.

Quite frankly, I think the inverted row is one of the best back exercises one can do. It's body weight, but beginners can bring their legs closer to their body while more advanced folks can leave their legs extended. Once that's no longer challenging you can switch to a one-armed row too. Oh, and you need almost zero equipment. Maybe a broomstick and two chairs?

That said, look around here and see if there are any other back exercises you can do that won't hurt your shoulder. But, give the inverted row a shot. You might be surprised that it's such a challenging exercise.

  • I'm agreeing with the answer, I'm wondering thought when do you move from an inverted row into a pull-up? You can't do inverted rows for ever right I mean at some point they just get to easy.
    – MJB
    Aug 11, 2017 at 11:41
  • 1
    I'd say if you can do pull-ups, you should do pull-ups (forever and ever). The Inverted row can be made more difficult the same as a pull-up can (by adding weight or doing one-handed). For those of us who have shoulder issues preventing us from doing pulldowns and pull-ups, I'd say the Inverted Row should be your go-to exercise.
    – Frank
    Aug 11, 2017 at 11:48

If it hurts you may be injured. In which case, stop all training and get it checked out. Otherwise you risk making it worse and a longer lay off.


Do some shoulder mobility work before starting your workouts. Take a pvc pipe or a long stick of sort, hold it in front of you and put it behind your back. Do band pull aparts. Do some rotator cuff work. Warm up.

You can do assisted pull up machine, yates rows (look it up), dumbbell pulls, high row machine etc. Do some dead hangs.

But I think your emphasis should be on checking out your shoulders, doing mobility work (look up kelley starr's becoming a supple leapord) and warming up.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.