How to build your own lat pull down machine

Updated April 17, 2017

Lat pull-down machines are staple pieces of equipment in most gyms, but can be expensive to buy for your own home. They consist of a wide grip bar that the exerciser pulls down against resistance to target the muscles of his back and sides, otherwise known as the latissimus dorsi. While lat pull-down machines generally use weight stacks to provide resistance against the pull of the bar, a simplified version can easily be made at home using a metal bar and strong exercise bands.

Insert the pull-up bar through the middle of both of the elastic resistance band loops so that they hang down slightly from the centre of the bar.

Install the pull-up bar in a strong doorframe, following the manufacturer's instructions supplied with your kit. Ensure that the resistance band loops do not slip off the bar during this process.

Insert one end of the barbell bar through one of the resistance band loops hanging from the pull-up bar. Insert the other end through the other loop.

Adopt a shoulder-wide stance in front of the suspended barbell bar. Grasp the ends of the bar firmly in an overhand grip and pull the bar down toward your chest in a slow, controlled motion. The resistance of the bands gives your latissimus dorsi a workout.


Resistance bands come in different strengths; choose one that you can comfortably perform 10 to 12 repetitions with, then move on to a higher strength once your body is comfortable with the exercise. Tie straight resistance bands into loops to use them in your homemade lat pull-down machine.


Always consult a doctor before beginning a new exercise regime.

Things You'll Need

  • Wide grip barbell bar
  • 2 strong resistance exercise band loops
  • Pull-up bar kit
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About the Author

Nikola Goddard has been writing since 2009. Her how-to and self-help articles center around health, fitness and green living and appear on various online publications. Goddard studied English literature at Beckfoot Grammar School. She is now pursuing a career as a freelance writer and has several blogs specializing in weight loss.