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V Bar Pulldown [Exercise Guide]

v bar pulldown

What Is A V Bar Pulldown 

A V bar is a variation of pulldown in which we employ a specific handle mentioned in the exercise title. The V-bar pulldown uses a tighter grip than the standard lat pulldown. The practice implies utilizing a cable machine and pulling a weight down from above. 

There are three possible starting positions: sitting, standing, or kneeling. This is the ideal pulldown version for strength and muscle activation from both scientifical and biomechanical points of view.

What Muscles Does V Bar Pulldown Work

The V bar pulldown works the following muscle groups:

  • lats
  • biceps
  • rhomboids
  • rear delts

V bar pulldown trains your back muscles, primarily latissimus dorsi. The lats are essential for maintaining excellent posture and stability. When operating properly, the lats (together with the core musculature) serve as the glue that connects the upper and lower bodies. 

Lats workouts are critical for any athlete who wants to enhance their performance and increase their quality of life. That fact explains why exercise is valued by athletes worldwide. Few exercises can work out these muscles as well as the V Bar Pulldown. Secondarily, the movement targets the biceps, rhomboids, and delts.

How to Perform V Bar Pulldown

Step 1. Set up and get into the starting position

Attach the pulley to the cable machine’s top position. Grab the bar with a close grip (palms facing each other). You might do this exercise in both standing and sitting positions. If you choose the second option, adjust the knee pad to a comfortable level. 

Step 2. Pull down

Puff up your chest and pull back your shoulder blades to further activate your lats. Keep your elbows tucked in as you lower the bar to your chest area. Use your elbows rather than your hands to drive the weight to the movement’s bottom. As you bring the bar down, maintain some abdominal tone to avoid arching your back excessively.

Tip: to activate your lats even more, slightly lean your body back.

Step 3. Go back

Pause for a moment, and return the weight to its starting position. The shoulder blade should be able to move freely. Avoid locking the shoulder blade in place and moving just via the glenohumeral joint.

Advantages Of A V Bar Pulldown

Lats isolation

The movement’s technique implies pulling the elbows in front of the body. This condition leads to more effective lats work. The elbows’ position remains the same as you lift a weight, making it possible to load the broadest back muscle to the maximum.

Great stretch

The lats get a great stretch when doing this exercise, which helps load the muscles even harder. The standing variation is the best regarding this aspect. Because the 

the sitting position doesn’t allow the humerus to go higher than parallel to the floor.

Constant tension

The cables won’t let you relax even if you would have that in mind. Usage of a cable machine guarantees that your muscles receive maximum tension throughout the range of motion.

5 V Bar Pulldown Alternatives 

1. Kneeling Single Arm Lat Pulldown 

The main distinctive feature of the kneeling single arm lat pulldown is the half-kneeling starting posture. In addition to working latissimus dorsi, the movement activates the trapezius, deltoid, and brachioradialis. Lower body muscles work as stabilizers.

How to do kneeling single-arm lat pulldown:

  • On one knee, make a 90-degree angle with the floor. The cable machine is one step from your front leg. 
  • If your right knee is down, your left hand should hold the grip and vice versa.
  • Lower the handle, keeping your elbows underneath at all times.
  • Start the action again after you’ve achieved the exercise’s peak and pressed your shoulders together.

2. Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown 

The primary goal of the reverse grip lat pulldown is to strengthen the back muscles. The biceps are also placed under stress because of the reverse grip.

How to do reverse grip lat pulldown:

  • Attach a wide grip handle to the lat pulldown machine and sit comfortably. Ensure your knees are bent at 90 degrees.
  • Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the bar and use a supinated (reverse) grip to hold it.
  • Keep your neck and spine straight as you pull the bar to your chest.
  • Extend your elbows as you return to the starting position.

3. Cable Pullover 

A cable pullover works great for strengthening your back and shoulders. Also, this workout helps to develop stability and to make targeted muscles more flexible.

How to do cable pullover:

  • Choose a suitable attachment and connect it to the cable machine’s upper portion.
  • Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart as you grab the bar with your arms fully extended. Push your shoulder blades forward to achieve the needed stretch in the lats.
  • Squeeze the lats to begin the exercise, then lower the bar towards the body. You may do this by pushing your elbows toward your hips.
  • Return to the starting position.

4. Narrow Grip Pullup 

It’s a fantastic upper-body workout that works the inner lats and improves the back, arms, and core muscles. Pull-ups performed with a close grip target more of the biceps and chest muscles, resulting in an effective workout for the upper body.

How to do narrow grip pullup:

  • Make sure your bar is at the correct height. You should begin by hanging from the bar in a slack position. Take hold of the bar with both hands touching each other.
  • Extend your sternum to the maximum extent possible. Unless your chest touches the bar, you’re OK to lift your weight.
  • Try to maintain a straight line with your body while you go up. 
  • When you’ve reached the movement’s peak, and your chin is above the bar, release the tension.
  • Go back to the beginning point.

5. Dumbbell Pullover 

The dumbbell pullover works your back muscles and strengthens your torso and triceps. This makes it a terrific all-around upper body workout.

How to do dumbbell pullover:

  • Take a seat on the floor and rest your elbows on the bench’s edge.
  • Using both hands, lift a dumbbell to your chest.
  • Squeeze your glutes as you bridge up. Your aim is to find a comfortable shoulder position on the bench’s surface and feel reliable support of legs while standing firmly on the floor.
  • Take a dumbbell and raise it over your head. For a few seconds, hold yourself in this posture.
  • Bring the weight back to your chest. That’s one rep.


The V bar pulldown is many athletes’ favorite lat workout. There are not so many specific exercises focused on working latissimus dorsi. And here is where V bar pulldown stands out. It gives the lats all that is needed for excellent practice: isolation, stretch, and constant tension. If you don’t have access to the cable machine, you might choose the movement’s alternatives with other equipment.