8 Best Hammer Strength Lat Pull Alternatives (2023)


by George Gigneyupdated on November 10, 2022September 12, 2022

Your back muscles play a number of very important roles in your day-to-day life, including providing support and maintaining a healthy posture. They also generate a lot of power when it comes to performing exercises, which is why many people want to train their posterior chain.

The Hammer Strength lat pulldown machine targets your lattisimus dorsi, which are two of the most powerful and largest muscles in your back, and is great for muscle growth.

While it’s an extremely effective exercise, you might be looking for something different that will still enhance the strength of your lats. So, here are 8 alternative exercises to the Hammer Strength lat pulldown.

1. Inverted Row

via Gfycat

(Video) Fettle Fitness Plate Loaded Lat Pulldown Review - The Cost-Effective Hammer Strength Alternative

How to:

  • Set a barbell in a squat rack at roughly waist height. Lie under the bar facing up, with the bar in line with your upper stomach.
  • Grab hold of the bar with an overhand grip and your arms straight.
  • Engage your abs and core, then pull your chest toward the bar by bending your arms. Your body should be in a straight line throughout the movement.
  • Lower yourself back down until your arms are straight again and repeat.
  • 12-15 reps.

Equipment Used:

  • Barbell
  • Squat rack

Why It’s A Great Alternative:

This exercise targets the majority of the muscles in your upper body, most specifically your lats, forearms, abs, and traps. A particularly amazing lat exercise.

Pro Tip:

The lower you set the bar, the harder this exercise is, so bear that in mind.

2. Barbell Bent Over Row

How To:

  • Your starting position should see your feet in line with your hips before you hinge at the waist to take hold of the bar, with a slight bend in your knees. Pull your belly button toward your rib cage.
  • With an overhand grip, drive your feet into the floor to pick up the bar and bring it to just below your knees. Your arms should be extended.
  • Pull the bar into your midsection by sending your elbows backward. Lower the bar back down to just below your knees and repeat.
  • Reps: 10-12.

Equipment Used:

  • Barbell

Why It’s A Great Alternative:

First off, you only need one piece of kit for this unilateral exercise. The main benefit here is that you’re targeting the main muscle groups in the upper section of your posterior chain, and moving through a similar range of motion as you would with lat pulldowns, thus helping in muscle growth.

Related Post: 9 Calorie Burning Step Box Exercises

Pro Tip:

When rowing the bar, keep your elbows tight toward your body to ensure proper form – don’t let them flare out to the side.

3. Pull-Ups

How To:

  • Grab the bar with both hands roughly in line with your shoulders, or slightly wider, your palms facing away from you.
  • Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended. If your feet are touching the floor, bend your knees and pull your feet toward your bottom.
  • Pull yourself up until your chin is just above the bar.
  • Lower back down under control and repeat.
  • Reps: 8-10.

Equipment Used:

  • Pull up bar

Why It’s A Great Alternative:

Undoubtedly the hardest bodyweight exercise out there, this move will get your entire upper body working and help build some serious muscle growth when performed through the full range of motion.

Pro Tip:

If you’re struggling to perform pull-ups, consider using an assisted pull-up machine or resistance bands to build up your strength. Or, begin by hanging from a bar without pulling yourself up.

(Video) 4 Lat Pulldown ALTERNATIVES You Must Try!!

4. TRX Row

How To:

  • Take a hold of the TRX handles in each hand and begin to step away from the anchor point.
  • Once there is tension in the TRX straps and your arms are extended, shuffle your feet forward and angle your body backward until it is 30-60 degrees. Your arms should be extended while holding the handles and your body in a straight line.
  • Bend at the elbows and pull your torso up, with your palms facing inward and your feet remaining on the ground.
  • Lower back down and repeat the movement.
  • Reps: 12-15.

Equipment Used:

  • TRX

Why It’s A Great Alternative:

Not only is this a great back-strengthening exercise but it also has the added challenge of needing to focus on stability and coordination, plus the change in angles make it quite a fun exercise to perform.

Pro Tip:

Keep your back straight throughout the entire movement and your head in a neutral position. Don’t let your back arch.

5. Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

via Gfycat

How to:

  • Lay a single dumbbell on the floor next to a flat bench. Put your left leg onto the bench with your knee and shin laying along with it. Your right leg should be extended next to the bench and bend over so your torso is parallel to the ground. Support yourself with your left hand at the upper end of the bench.
  • With your right hand, extend your arm down and grab hold of the dumbbell with your palm facing inward. Lift the weight off of the ground so your back is straight and your right arm is extended while holding the dumbbell.
  • Bend at the arm and pull the weight into your midsection. Hold here for 1-2 seconds.
  • Lower the weight back down under control until your arm is extended again, then repeat for the desired amount of reps and then switch arms.
  • 10-12 reps on each arm.
Related Post: Rack Pulls vs Deadlift: Which is a Better Exercise?

Equipment Used:

  • Bench
  • Dumbbell

Why It’s A Great Alternative:

One of the best-known latissimus exercises, by isolating one side of your back at a time, you’re working these muscles even harder, but this move’s positioning also means you’re using your core and pec muscles as stabilizer muscles.

Pro Tip:

Like the barbell bent-over row, keep your elbow close to your body when lifting the weight up. Ensure your back is straight throughout the movement.

6. Seated Cable Row

(Video) Hammer Strength Lat Pull Down Tutorial

How To:

  • Sit on the adjustable bench/seat with a slight bend in your knees, roughly 45-degrees. Hold the handle with both hands and your arms out straight in front of you and your back straight.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the handle toward your sternum.
  • Hold this position for a moment, then extend your arms under control to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 12-15 reps.

Equipment Used:

  • Cable row machine

Why It’s A Great Alternative:

Cable machine rows target your back muscles and build some serious strength in your lats by adding a lot more resistance than you get from bodyweight training. When performed to exhaustion, this can be a pretty brutal exercise.

Pro Tip:

Avoid leaning back too much and make sure your legs don’t become fully extended during the range of motion. Remember, your back and arms are doing the work here.

7. Reverse Fly

How To:

  • Stand holding a pair of dumbbells and hinge forward, bending your knees slightly. The dumbbells should hang in front of you with your palms facing each other, your arms extended but not locked out.
  • Raise the dumbbells out to the side, keeping a slight bend in your arm and pinning your shoulder blades together.
  • Hold for a moment, then bring the dumbbells back in front of you under control and repeat.
  • Reps: 10-12.

Equipment Used:

  • Dumbbells

Why It’s A Great Alternative:

One of the more popular exercises for targeting your upper back muscles, this is easy to get the hang of but with the potential for significant strength gains in your posterior chain. Contrary to what some think, this also isn’t an isolation exercise.

Related Post: 16 Kettlebell Exercises For Arms That Are Total Game Changers

Pro Tip:

The key is to get the right starting position. Your body should be at roughly a 45-degree angle with your spine neutral and chest open and keeping this for the full range of motion.

8. Push Press

How to:

  • Clean a barbell onto the front of your shoulders so that your hands are underneath the bar, palms facing up.
  • With a slight bend in your knees, push the bar upward until your arms are extended, though avoid locking your elbows.
  • Briefly hold at the top, then lower the bar back to your shoulders and repeat.
  • 10-12 reps.

Equipment Used:

  • Barbell

Why It’s A Great Alternative:

This move torches your shoulders and back muscles and forces you to engage your core to keep things controlled. It can also be an excellent cardio workout and help burn body fat.

(Video) Lat Pulldown Cable Attachment - Best & Worst Options To Maximize Your Training!

Pro Tip:

Poke your head forward through the ‘window’ your arms create at the top of the movement, then move it back slightly as you bring the bar back down. The range of motion should be fluid.


Even just adding in 2-3 exercises from this list to your workout regime will see your lats get an excellent workout, equivalent to that of the Hammer Strength lat pulldown. These excellent exercises work multiple muscle groups at a time as well (also known as a compound exercise) and so can go beyond what the lat pulldown can do.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best lat exercise?

This is completely subjective and the simple answer is; the exercise that works best for you. Luckily, as this list shows, there are a lot of different exercises that work your lats, so it’s just a case of finding those that you can perform effectively and consistently.

How can I hit my lats at home?

Plenty of the exercises here, like the bent over row or reverse flys, can be performed at home with any equipment you might have or even everyday objects like bottles and tins. You don’t always need exercise machines!

(Video) 3 Hammer Strength Iso-lateral Rows - Back Workout with Exercise Variations

Should you lean back during a lat pulldown?

No, you should keep your torso in the same position with a neutral spine throughout the movement.


What is a good substitute for hammer strength pulldown? ›

Cable Lat Pulldown

Cable lat pulldown needs no introduction, and it is the closest alternative to the Hammer Strength machine as it follows the same biomechanics and targets the same group of muscles.

Are hammer strength machines effective? ›

When it comes to strength training, there are few pieces of equipment as versatile as Hammer Strength machines. Not only are they incredibly effective at helping you build muscle, but they're also great for improving your overall fitness level and preventing injuries.

What is the alternative to plate loaded ISO lateral row? ›

The incline prone dumbbell row is a free weight alternative to the iso-lateral chest-supported row that uses a free weight bench and dumbbells. It's a similar alternative to the seated row but provides the option of adjusting the exercise to target different parts of your back more.

Is MTS front pulldown good? ›

The pulldown exercise works the latissimus dorsi, or lats, in the back, as well as the arms. The machine front pull-down is a brilliant exercise with which you can build your back and arm muscles and develop your upper-body strength.

What are 5 alternative uses of hammer? ›

For example, hammers are used for general carpentry, framing, nail pulling, cabinet making, assembling furniture, upholstering, finishing, riveting, bending or shaping metal, striking masonry drill and steel chisels, and so on.

What is a good hammer alternative? ›

Top 10 Alternatives to Hammer
  • TestRail.
  • Salesforce Platform.
  • Postman.
  • UserTesting.
  • LambdaTest.
  • BrowserStack.
  • Hotjar.
  • Panaya Change Intelligence.

Is hammer strength as good as free weights? ›

The Hammer Strength Machine is the perfect alternative because it lets you enjoy all the unique features of both free weights and exercise machines. It is considered as one of the best equipment lines when it comes to working out.

What muscles does hammer strength machine target? ›

Hammer strength machine / seated chest press is a gym work out exercise that targets chest and also involves abs and shoulders and triceps.

How many reps of hammer strength? ›

Hammer Strength Row Sets and Reps

For Muscle Growth: Try 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps, ensuring that you approach muscular failure. For Back Strength: Go for 4 sets of 6 reps with a heavy weight. If You're Using One Arm: Try fewer sets with higher (12 to 15) reps for targeted lat activation.

What is plate loaded vs stack? ›

So what exactly is the difference between them? A plate loaded cable crossover machine allows you to load on your own conventional weight plates, while weight stack machines have weights that are tied to the machine itself and can't be changed out.

Is ISO lateral bench press effective? ›

The Iso-lateral bench press machine also recruits the biceps and muscles of the shoulders and back. Having Iso lateral movement results in individual as well as equal strength development. Heavier weights can be lifted with more control using this equipment.

What is the most optimal lat pulldown attachment? ›

To get the most out of your lat pulldowns, you need to use the best pulldown attachment to comfortably grip the bar and pull as much weight as possible. The best lat pulldown bar is the Titan Fitness 48″ Stainless Steel Lat Bar. It's durable, comfortable, and has solid knurling for a strong, non-slip grip.

Which version of lat pulldown is best? ›

Close Grip Pulldown

The close grip pulldown is one that you should choose if you want to focus more on isolating the lats. The closer grip will keep the arms more vertical which puts them in the best position when it comes to pulling with the lats only.

Is reverse grip better for lat pulldowns? ›

The standard Pulldown will not target the biceps as much. Reverse Grip Pulldowns improve and strengthen your lats and back, but not as much as the non-reverse variation.

What are the 6 types of hammer? ›

There are several common types of hammers that are frequently used around the home for DIY projects, including claw, framing, ball peen, club, mallet, and sledgehammer.

What is the most commonly used hammer? ›

Nail Hammers are your most common type of hammer because of their universal size. These types of hammers look like a finish hammer but are a little larger with heads weighing between 14 to 20 ounces and with faces that are normally smooth. These hammers are useful for driving and pulling nails or prying up wood.

Are titanium hammers worth it? ›

If you factor in fewer pain pills, doctor visits, and other muscle or joint injuries, the additional cost of a titanium hammer versus a steel hammer quickly pays for itself. The greater efficiency and the reduction in weight help reduce the potential for carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow.

What is the strongest hammer? ›

The best hammers you can buy in 2023
  • OX OX-P082920 Straight Rip Claw Hammer 20 oz with Non-slip Handle - Precision Balanced Hammer Tool Ideal for Carpenters and Electricians, Multi-colour. ...
  • STANLEY STHT0-51310 20oz Fiberglass Curved Claw Hammer, 570g. ...
  • Stanley FMHT1-51275 1FatMax XL AVX Curve Claw Hammer. ...
  • Mr.
Feb 8, 2023

What Oz hammer is best? ›

In general, the best all-around hammer weight is 16 ounces. It can do a bit of framing as well as a bit of light work. However, for light-duty work, hammers as light as 10 or 12 ounces will do the trick. Heavy-duty framing hammers weigh 22 to 24 ounces, and framing hatchets weigh nearly 30 ounces.

How much weight can the average man hammer curl? ›

The average Hammer Curl weight for a male lifter is 51 lb (1RM). This makes you Intermediate on Strength Level and is a very impressive lift. What is a good Hammer Curl? Male beginners should aim to lift 18 lb (1RM) which is still impressive compared to the general population.

What free weights should I use? ›

We would recommend a 5lb (2.5kg) or 10lb (4 or 5kg) as the lightest weight (depends on your strength level, some people are naturally stronger) and then from there pairs of 15lb (8kg), 20lb (10kg), 30lb (14kg), and 40lb (18kg) or 50lb (24kg) dumbbells as your top weight.

Do free weights build more strength? ›

Free weights help develop greater power, as compared to machines. Working out with free weights is a more efficient way to hit most fitness goals, including increasing strength and muscle size, changing body composition, and weight loss.

What does hammer pull ups target? ›

Hammer pull-ups are a great exercise for targeting your back and shoulder muscles. They are also a great way to mix up your routine and add some variety to it.

Is hammer strength same as bench press? ›

While both exercises that were compared involved maximum force production of the same muscles, the movement patterns were distinctly different. A HSCP (hammer strength chest press) keeps the individual in an upright position, while a free weight bench press is performed while in a supine position.

What are the benefits of hammer workout? ›

Hammer curls are an extremely popular exercise because, when the movement is done correctly, it:
  • Increases bicep size and strength.
  • Improves wrist stability.
  • Boosts muscle endurance.
  • Strengthens grip.

Is hammer strength owned by Life Fitness? ›

Later in 1997, Life Fitness bought Hammer Strength, a manufacturing of weight machines. ParaBody, Inc. was bought by Life Fitness in 1998.

Who owns hammer strength Fitness? ›

- Gary Jones, Hammer Strength Founder

Jones spent most his waking hours working on Hammer Strength products. He designed a proprietary 3D CAD software to design Hammer Strength machines. And, he moved his family into the factory.

Are upright rows bad for rotator cuff? ›

The problem with upright rows

The main issue with upright rows is the risk of shoulder impingement. Generally, shoulder impingement occurs when you internally rotate the shoulder (roll the upper arm forward slightly) and then lift it out to the side.

Is bent-over row better than rowing machine? ›

A bent-over row benefits lifters wanting to strengthen or grow their back muscles, while an upright row is a better exercise for a lifter focused on growing their shoulders and traps. Ideally, you will have both goals simultaneously or at different stages of your program, and you'll benefit from each!

What grip is best for upright rows? ›

The upright row is typically practiced with a shoulder-width grip, but you can adjust it slightly to bias certain muscles over others. Grab the bar close to target your shoulders, and widen it out if you want to emphasize your traps.

Why plate loaded machines are better? ›

Plate loaded machines can hold more weight than selectorized equipment, so they're ideal for gym members who like to lift heavy. Because they can be loaded with smaller weights.

Is plate loaded leg press better than machine? ›

Equivalent strength machines will function almost exactly the same in terms of the exercise being performed and how effective it is. For example, a selectorized leg press and a plate loaded leg press will both offer you the same benefits and effectiveness.

What is the difference between plate loaded and selectorized lat pulldown? ›

In simple terms, plate loaded means you use your own weight plates, like the Olympic weight plates you use for your barbell, to load the machine. A selectorized machine has a built-in stack of plates where you use a pin to adjust the weight up and down.

What is the most effective bench press? ›

The standard flat bench press is the overall winner for maximum chest hypertrophy stimulation and strength building, but the decline bench press is effective at activating your lower pecs and pectoralis major while placing less strain on your shoulders.

Is there a better exercise than bench press? ›

Push Ups

Range of motion: Push-ups have a greater range of motion than the bench press because your hands can move freely and you can lower your chest closer to the ground. This can provide a greater stretch to the chest muscles and potentially greater muscle activation.

What is the most optimal form for bench press? ›

The bar should be directly over the shoulders. Press your feet firmly into the ground and keep your hips on the bench throughout the entire movement. Keep your core engaged and maintain a neutral spine position throughout the movement. Avoid arching your back.

Is a wider or narrower grip better for lat pulldown? ›

Which grip is better for the lat pulldown will depend on your goals. A wide grip is better for lifters who want to increase lat strength or size or for those looking to improve their pull-ups. A close grip is better for those looking to target their mid and upper back or increase the strength of their back overall.

Should you go heavy on lat pulldowns? ›

Use Less Weight for Better Results

I know it's too heavy because, in order to get that weight down past their chin, they have to rock their torso backward due to the fact that the load is too heavy to pull straight down. The purpose of doing a lat pull-down is to widen your lats and strengthen your serratus.

Should you lean back during lat pulldown? ›

DON'T: Lean back as you pull the levers toward your chest. You won't hit the target muscles this way. Lose control of the weight as you return to the top of the move.

What is the best grip for wide lats? ›

The lats (and infraspinatus) were activated more in the wide grip than the narrow, but otherwise were more or less similar. As a result, the researchers concluded that the medium width grip is thus the best grip for overall muscle activation.

What is equivalent to a lat pulldown? ›

You must have bands to recreate a lat pulldown setup at home. However, pull ups, eccentric pull ups, or inverted rows all target the same muscle groups and similar movement patterns making them a great lat pull down alternative.

Why are pull ups better than lat pulldowns? ›

Lat Pulldown vs Pullups: The winner

Both of the exercises are great for your back, and particularly your lats; that goes without saying. Overall though, the pull up is a better exercise in terms of muscle activation, real strength building, and a better range of motion and muscles used.

Is overhand or underhand better for lats? ›

An underhand grip allows you to pull the weight down further than you would with an overhand grip. you'll be able to squeeze harder with your lats because of this, which helps to build a thicker, stronger back. You may also be stronger on this over wide grip as you use your biceps a lot too.

What is a hammer grip pull-up alternative? ›

A neutral grip pull-up is a form of pull-up in which the palms face each other similar to a hammer curl grip. This type of pull up is a good option for those starting out as you are more likely to perform more repetitions when doing them before building up to other, more challenging, pull up variations.

What muscles does hammer strength pulldown work? ›

hammer strength - pulldown is a exercise machine exercise that primarily targets the lats and to a lesser degree also targets the chest, middle back and shoulders.

What type of hammer is best choice for pulling a nail ________? ›

Claw Hammer or Nail Hammer

These types of hammers look like a finish hammer but are a little larger with heads weighing between 14 to 20 ounces and with faces that are normally smooth. These hammers are useful for driving and pulling nails or prying up wood.

What workouts can I do instead of hammer curls? ›

The 8 Best Hammer Curl Alternatives
  • Neutral Grip Pull Ups.
  • Close Grip Chin Ups.
  • Dumbbell Hammer Preacher Curls.
  • Reverse Straight Barbell Curls.
  • Cable Hammer Curls.
  • Zottman Curls.
  • EZ Bar Reverse Barbell Curls.
  • Concentration Curls.
Apr 21, 2023

What is the easiest to hardest pull-up grip? ›

The best pull-up grip is a medium-width, pronated false grip for targeting the lats. The underhand grip is best for targeting the biceps. The neutral and underhand grips are easiest for pull-ups.

What is the safest pull-up grip? ›

The one that we would like to see is the Crush grip where the thumb is wrapped around, reason being that, first it offers greater safety in comparison to the friction grip and second it helps to actively engage the thumb and muscles of the forearm better.

What is the easiest pull-up grip? ›

The chin up is the easiest variation of the pull up and is performed with your palms facing towards you, in an underhand (supinated) grip, this exercise allows use of the biceps a little more and is definitely the first type of pull up you should strive to master.

What is a common type of hammer used to pound and pull out nails? ›

A claw hammer is a hammer primarily used in carpentry for driving nails into or pulling them from wood. Historically, a claw hammer has been associated with woodworking, but is also used in general applications.

What simple machine is a hammer pulling out a nail? ›

When you push down on the handle of the hammer, the claw end of the hammer pulls up on the nail. A hammer is an example of a machine called a lever.

What ounce hammer is good for light general nailing? ›

A 16 oz. curved-claw hammer is a good choice for general use.

What is the most effective curl exercise? ›

Hammer curls are particularly effective because they target the outer head of the biceps brachii, the brachialis and the brachioradialis while engaging additional back and chest muscles. When performed correctly, hammer curls can maximize your arm gains and help improve grip strength.

What happens if you only do hammer curls? ›

Hammer curls are more effective for building forearm, wrist, and grip strength, while also hitting more of the biceps long head. But say you're short on time and can only choose one!? The hammer curl will work more muscle groups and work the biceps in ways that regular bicep curls do not.

What is the secondary muscle used in hammer curls? ›

Secondary Muscle Groups:

Hammer curls secondarily target your biceps brachii. Of course, this is still a curling exercise, which means the biceps will be involved in the motion.


1. Hammer Strength Pull Over
(Upstate Empire Fitness)
2. 8 Gym Machines You Need to Stop Using
(Gravity Transformation - Fat Loss Experts)
3. Hammer Strength Select Lat Pulldown
(Hammer Strength)
4. Hammer Strength Plate-Loaded Wide Pulldown Instructions
(Life Fitness)
5. Hammer Strength Plate-Loaded Front Lat Pulldown Instructions
(Life Fitness)
6. Hammer Strength Front Lat Pull Down
(Iowa State Recreation Services)


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