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In my gym, we have this bar for lat pulldown

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I am trying to do wide grip pulldowns. I can do the grips in red comfortably by I always struggled with the green grips and can only do them with small weights. Is there any difference between these two grips and which one is better?

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    Someone's probably gonna make a proper answer soon (or I might when I have time), but I just want to throw this in there; don't think of it as one being "better" than the other. They both have their benefits, and you should be doing both.
    – Alec
    Nov 25, 2022 at 10:13
  • Better for what? The grips do slightly different things, so you have to be more specific about what better means to you.
    – Thomas Markov
    Nov 25, 2022 at 10:33
  • @Alec, My problem is that the grips in green are too wide for me and I have never felt comfortable doing them. But I see a lot of people in my gym doing them. So I am worried that I am missing out on something and some part of my body is not been activated by not doing them. Is it ok to skip these grips?
    – Isaac
    Nov 26, 2022 at 6:48

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There are too many variables in lat-pulldown to consider. Apart from the two positions in your post, there is also a supinated, neutral as well as pronated grip. For the sake of not writing a whole article, I'll assume we are talking about pronated grip. So let's break this down to parts:

Close Grip

Muscle Activation: Latissimus Dorsi ++, Biceps Brachii +, Forearms +

Close grip lat-pulldowns is the most shoulder-friendly and risk-free out of the three variations. It will not work your latissimus dorsi as much as the the wide-grip, but it will also involve your biceps brachii. Furthermore, this variation will put stress on your forearms/wrists since the weight you're pulling down is not aligned with the rest of your arms.

Medium Grip

Muscle Activation: Latissimus Dorsi +++, Biceps Brachii +

Medium grip lat-pulldowns is the most balanced position. It will not work your latissimus dorsi as much as the other two, but it will also involve a bit of your biceps brachii. Moreover, it is a lot more friendly and risk-free for your shoulders than wide-grip. Mechanically, your arm position is in a better spot than wide-grid so this is the main reason that you can lift heavier.

Wide Grip

Muscle Activation: Latissimus Dorsi ++++, Rotator Cuffs -

Wide grip lat-pulldowns are indeed activating the most your latissimus dorsi, but they come with a cost. Firstly, your rotator cuffs are getting very exposed and stressed, and if we add a bit of ego in the lift it can really bring a bad outcome. Also, it is very logical that you are weaker in this grip since your arm position is mechanically in a disadvantage for pulling down.

I'm confused... What should I do then?

None of the three is the most superior. My opinion is to use the one that you find most comfortable both in terms of injury-prevention and lifting progressively heavier, and stick with it. Just because wide-grip is giving a bit more latissimus dorsi activation, does not mean that you can't achieve the same work with medium-grip. In the end of the day, all that matters is having your muscles sore. One could target the lats with wide-grips and exhaust them quickly and one could use narrow-grip to do more reps while also putting some work to his biceps. Also, do not try behind-the-neck pulldowns. This variation is bad and risky.

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  • My problem is that the grips in green are too wide for me and I have never felt comfortable doing them. But I see a lot of people in my gym doing them. So I am worried that I am missing out on something and some part of my body is not been activated by not doing them. Is it ok to skip these grips?
    – Isaac
    Nov 26, 2022 at 6:47
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    @isaac Yes that's what George is saying. "Just because wide-grip is giving a bit more latissimus dorsi activation, does not mean that you can't achieve the same work with medium-grip."
    – Sean Duggan
    Nov 26, 2022 at 16:02

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