Of the myriad ways to train your back, the lat pull-down machine is just one small part of the big picture, but you’d be hard-pressed to find many guys who agree. The lat pull-down machine in most gyms is typically swarming with guys convinced there’s no other way to work the lats. As a result, serious lifters often write pulldowns out of their programs entirely to distance themselves from the lat pulldown crowd. That’s a shame, because after a solid lat workout pull-downs can be an excellent finisher that allows you to attack your lats with high volume and a superwide grip.

A set of strength bands can get you doing lat pull-downs again, even if the machine in your gym never clears out. All you need besides the bands is a sturdy object like a power rack (or pull-up bar). Instead of moving a pin to increase resistance, you can simply step back from the rack. You can also loop the band around the bar a few more times or use a thicker band.

The Workout

Attach handles to both ends of a strength band. At a power rack (or pull-up bar), loop the band over the top of the bar, wrapping it one to four times to create the desired tension.

Grasp each handle and sit on a box or bench facing the rack with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.

With your back flat, retract your shoulder blades and pull down on the bands until the handles meet your shoulders.

Bands allow you to easily vary the width of your grip.