The Best, Unexpected Exercises on a Lat Pulldown Machine

Man doing lat pulldowns

Despite the name, the lat pulldown machine is for so much more than just lat pulldowns. In fact, this cable machine or power rack attachment is incredibly versatile – and a great option if you don’t have the budget to add a full functional trainer attachment to your power rack or the space for a stand-alone cable machine.  

There are so many different exercises you can do on a lat pulldown machine, from your arms to your abs to your legs. If you’re considering getting a lat pulldown machine for home, here are some of the many ways you can use it.  

What is the Lat Pulldown Machine Good For?  

Lat pulldown machine

A lat pulldown machine can be a stand-alone cable machine or an attachment to your power rack that’s also often paired with a low row cable attachment point. This pulley system can be either plate-loaded (where you change the weight by adding weight plates onto a weight horn) or selectorized (where you change the weight by moving a pin in a weight stack).  

The best lat pulldown machines feature a 1:1 ratio, which means a 10-pound weight will feel like 10 pounds of resistance. This is best for slower, strength-focused cable pulldown machine exercises. Other stand-alone functional trainers (like the Arcadia, for example) have a 2:1 ratio, whereby moving 10 pounds feels like 5 pounds. This is more suitable for explosive, functional fitness-style exercises.  

A lat pulldown machine is great for adding versatility to your home gym and challenging your muscles in different ways. One benefit of cable exercises over barbell or dumbbell exercises is the cables provide constant tension on both the eccentric and concentric part of the move.  

Lat Pulldown Machine Tips 

If you want to get the most out of you lat pulldown and low row attachment, here are a few pro tips:  

  • Get a Leg Roller Attachment to hold you in place so you can do heavy pulldowns. If you don’t have the budget for that or you have a 1000 Series rack (there’s no leg roller for that rack series – yet), you can also position your Pin Pipe Safeties at the height of your lap when you’re sitting on a bench box, place a barbell on the safeties, load it up with heavy weight, and roll it over your lap to hold your thighs down while you pull.  

    Leg roller attachment on a power rack
  • Load up on cable attachments to add versatility. Here’s a look at the different cable attachments and how to use them, courtesy of a professional bodybuilder. A lat bar is a given, but don’t overlook exercise options with a shorter, straight bar, row attachments, a D-handle, Sports Handle, Tricep Pressdown Bar, Tricep Rope, curl bar, and Ankle Cuff. There’s a way to use every cable attachment on a lat and low row machine, so the more attachments you have, the more options you have.  
    Triangle pulldown attachment on Ares
  • Check out all of the different cable attachments here. Tip: Save money buy going with a package, like the Pro Series Package that includes a triangle row attachment, D-handle, neutral grip lat bar, 48” lat bar, and a straight bar.  

Lat Pulldown Machine: Muscles Worked

You can get a full-body workout on a lat pulldown and low row attachment, although you can’t do every exercise that you can do on a full functional trainer. This is because the lat pulldown and low row attachment points are fixed; their height cannot be adjusted. In addition, there are not cables on both sides, so you can’t do chest or rear delt flies with both arms at the same time, for example.  

Still, there’s a lot more versatility than just lat pulldowns and low rows. Here’s a look at some of the many exercises you can do on a lat pulldown and low row attachment.  

What Other Exercises Can I do on a Lat Pulldown Machine?  

Here are the top five lat pulldown exercises you’re not doing (but should be):  

1. Straight-Arm Pulldown 

Attachment: Straight bar 

How to do it: 

Lat pressdowns on a cable machine

2. Tricep Pressdown/Pushdown  

Attachments: Straight bar, Tricep Pressdown Bar, or Tricep Rope 

How to do it:

Tricep Pushdown

3. Cable Crunches

Attachment: Tricep Rope 

How to do it:


4. Overhead Tricep Extensions (from a high point) 

Attachment: Tricep Rope 

How to do it:

5. Standing Cable Woodchop 

Attachment: Tricep Rope or D-handle

How to do it:

Woman doing woodchoppers on a cable machine 

What Other Exercises Can I do With a Low Row Cable Machine? 

Woman using the low row attachment

A seated row is the obvious exercise with the low row attachment – but that’s not all. Here are seven more exercises to try on your low row cable machine.  

1. Overhead Tricep Extensions (from a low point) 

Attachment: Tricep Rope 

How to do it:

2. Face Pulls 

Attachment: Tricep Rope 

How to do it:

3. Plank Rows 

Attachment: D-handle 

How to do it:

4. Cable Curls 

Attachment: Multi-Grip Curl Bar 

How to do it:

5. Lying Cable Pullovers 

Attachment: Straight bar 

How to do it:

6. Cable Deadlift 

Attachment: Multi-Grip Curl Bar 

How to do it:

7. Cable hip Abduction 

Attachment: Ankle Cuff 

How to do it:

The Best Lat Pulldown and Low Row Machines

Wanting to add a lat pulldown and low row machine to your home or commercial gym? Check out these options. 

Plate-Loaded Lat Pulldown (1000 Series)

Lat and Low row attachment

Expand your home gym power rack with the Lat and Low Row Attachment. This pulley system attaches to a PR-1000 or PR-1100. The system features a 1:1 ratio, which means a 10-pound weight will feel like 10 pounds of resistance. The machine comes complete with a lat bar and straight bar.

Pulleys are made from high-quality plastic. The cables are durable, made from galvanized wire with a raw steel core, strong enough to handle 1,000lbs. The weight horn can handle 450lbs. The Lat and Low Row Attachment is compatible with both iron and bumper Olympic plates (2”). This piece of equipment is compact, only slightly taller than the uprights of the power rack. It adds 17” to the rack’s depth, while bringing a ton of additional strength-training options to your gym.    

Selectorized Lat Pulldown and Low Row (4000/5000 Series)

Selectorized lat and Low row

This pulley system is compatible with the PR-4000PR-5000Omni, and Apollo™ half rack and brings the functionality of cable movements to your set-up. The system features a 200lbs weight stack with 1:1 ratio, meaning 10lbs feels like 10lbs. The weight stack also features band pegs to add additional resistance and the weight stack can be upgraded to 300lbsQuickly move between 10lbs weight increments with the magnetic pin.  

The attachment comes with a matte black powder-coated lat pulldown bar and low row bar and is also compatible with a wide variety of our cable attachments. The tread foot plate is adjustable through an integrated pop-pin system for bracing against during low rows. The cables are high quality, made from galvanized wire with a raw steel core, and the pulleys are aluminum. Note: This attachment requires the Rear Base Stabilizer , which serves as the anchor point to the rack. 


Ares  cable attachment

Ares cable machine

The Ares™ cable attachment is a fully integrated, functional trainer and lat pulldown/low row attachment that affixes to your existing PR-4000 or PR-5000 power rack. The Ares™ attachment features dual weight stacks of 260lbs each (with an option to upgrade to 310lbs per stack) that you can use for unilateral exercises. Or connect both stacks together for bilateral movements that demand heavier weight, like lat pulldowns. The patent-pending Ares™ attachment features trolleys that are designed with a smooth plastic liner that’s easy to adjust up and down with one hand.  

The front pulleys swivel 180 degrees for versatile movements and work outside the rack. Hot-rolled steel plates with a machined finish assure consistent and durable weights that the magnetized pin slides into smoothly. A metallic black finished shroud, with a recessed stainless steel REP logo, features laser cut windows to see the weights moving.  

The 2:1 ratio means 100lbs feels like 50lbs, ideal for functional training. The Ares™ attachment comes with a footplate to brace against during low rows, four micro-adjustment 2.5lbs weights, D-handles (not pictured), a knurled chrome lat pulldown bar and low row bar, and a connector banana. If Ares is the God of War, this is the attachment to train you for it.  

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Man lifting with a lat and low row

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