Don’t let the unavailability of the Hammer Strength machine stop you from hitting those lats. This article will discuss top Hammer Strength lat pull alternatives to develop a well-crafted strong back.
Hands down, the Hammer Strength machine is my all-time favorite when I want to train the vertical pulls. It allows you to target the back (especially the latissimus dorsi) with unmatched precision.
However, it’s very likely that you might not find the Hammer Strength lat pull machine in every gym — especially the low-budget gyms. This raises a legitimate concern about knowing the closest alternative to the exercise.
This article will briefly examine a range of exercises that can be used as viable hammer-strength lat pull alternatives.
When it comes to strength training, there are a variety of tools and machines available to target muscle fibers more efficiently. Hammer Strength lat pull is one of the machines that is designed to specifically target the back muscles.
Hammer Strength lat pull was originally designed to mimic the biomechanics of vertical pulls, and since then, developing that V-tapper look has never been easier. It primarily targets the latissimus dorsi and allows superior mind-muscle connection.
There are a few things that I personally love about the Hammer Strength lat pull machine.
Hammer Strength lat pull works the entire back muscles. Let’s have a look at muscle engagement in more detail.
It is one of the largest muscles in the body and runs through the mid-spine to the upper arm bone. It is the muscle responsible for the v-taper look. The lats are involved in various upper body movements, including shoulder extension, adduction, and scapular retraction, as well as trunk rotation and pulling activities.
The degree of lat activation while lat pulldown highly depends on the grip positioning.
These muscles are located in the upper back, primarily responsible for shoulder blades’ retraction, protraction, and stabilization.
Trapezius and rhomboids function as secondary muscle to stabilize the shoulder blades while the vertical pulls.
It is a group of long muscles that runs through the sacrum to the neck, responsible for torso extension, rotation, and lateral flexion.
Spinal erectors play a crucial role in maintaining proper posture and providing stability to the spinal columns.
The teres major and minor are the muscles that surround the rotator cuffs. Teres major stabilizes the shoulder joint and adduct, extend, and medially rotate the arm at the shoulder joint. Teres minor function is to laterally rotate the arm at the shoulder joint and provide additional stability to the shoulder.
It’s the back portion of the shoulder that is responsible for shoulder extension, external rotation, and horizontal abduction. All kind of pulling motions requires some degree of posterior delt activation. Furthermore, posterior delt strengthening can significantly improve shoulder stability and body posture.
The Hammer Strength lat pull is a compound exercise with a substantial bicep, brachialis, and brachioradialis engagement.
Perhaps it’s crucial to understand the criteria before you choose the alternative.
Hammer Strength lat pull is quite unique in its own sense, and it is pretty hard to find an exercise that offers similar benefits like the Hammer Strength lat pulls. Before you make a choice, make sure that the exercise provides at least some of the following benefits:
Now you know the basics, it’s time to jump directly to the Hammer Strength lat pull alternatives.
All the exercises in this section have been carefully curated to mimic the benefits of Hammer Strength lat pulls. We recommend you try all the exercises at least once to determine which works best for you.
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.
The only difference between the cable lat pulldown and Hammer Strength lat pulldown is the path of handles — while the Hammer Strength lat pull is designed to move with a slight archy trajectory, cable lat pulldown moves in a straight line.
Cable lat pulldown is highly effective for beginners as it is easy to use and allows you to choose the resistance that suits your physical strength.
Hammer Strength lat pulls offer different gripping variations, including a wide and a close grip. This is the reason we included close grip variation in the list.
As a fitness enthusiast, one should always try various gripping options to target muscle fibers from different angles.
Don’t worry if your gym doesn’t have a Hammer Strength lat pull machine, pull-up bar is still a staple gym equipment.
Pull-ups and chin-ups are the most basic functional bodyweight movement that targets the entire back. However, pull-ups are quite challenging and still represent a bucket list goal of most novice lifters.
Pull-ups and chin-ups are not suitable for all lifters — especially beginners. This is the reason we suggest you incorporate assisted pull-ups into your routine.
A pull-up band is a humble piece of equipment that can help you provide the required assistance. These bands come with a wide range of resistance. You can choose a band that suits your requirement and gradually progress toward the lighter bands.
Inverted rows are quite underappreciated and often misunderstood, but that doesnt mitigate its benefits. Inverted row requires you to set the barbell (preferably smith machine bar) at waist hight, get under the bar, and start rowing yourself towards the bar.
The inverted row is a beginner-friendly exercise as it allows you to alter the resistance by changing foot positioning. Inverted row works the lats but also the rhomboids, traps, spinal erectors, and rear delts. We incorporate inverted rows as an efficient regression of pull-ups because of their ability to target and strengthen similar muscle groups.
A resistance band lat pulldown is a perfect solution for those who like to workout at home. All you need is a good resistance band and a high anchor point. Resistance band lat pulldown is a beginner-friendly exercise as it does not produce heavy resistance.
How does an advanced lifter incorporate it into the training?As an advanced lifter, a resistance band lat pulldown can be employed to add volume to the back training. Suppose you did a few sets of bodyweight pull-ups, and now you are not in a position to execute another set. This is the time you should do a few sets of high rep resistance band lat pulldown to completely annihilate the muscle fibers and induce muscle hypertrophy.
Bent-over dumbbell row is a time-proven back builder but also puts a significant amount of stress on the lumbar spine. Incline dumbbell row allows you to obtain all the benefits while keeping the lower back out of the equation.
Although incline dumbbell row is a horizontal pulling exercise but works on very similar muscle groups including: lats, traps, rhomboids, teres major/minor, posterior delts, and arms.
The single-arm dumbbell row is an exercise that never goes out of style. It is a unilateral movement that targets the lats, traps, rhomboids, posterior delts, and arms.
What is the benefit of including unilateral movement in training? No matter how good your form is, one side is usually stronger than the other, which is why I always suggest my trainees to bet more on unilateral moves.
Suspension row is just like the inverted row but performed with the suspension trainer (TRX, gymnast rings, etc.). Suspension rows add instability to the movement, resulting in higher motor unit recruitment.
T-bar row is a popular bodybuilding movement that helps you hone in on the lats and upper back. The T-bar row is an auxiliary movement that trains the lats and upper back without putting the lower back under pressure.
The T-bar row is an excellent alternative to the Hammer Strength lat pulls as it targets the same muscle groups with multiple gripping options.
When it comes to strength training, there is a good way and a better way. Avoiding common mistakes can supercharge your training for the best results and injury prevention. Here is a list of a few avoidable mistakes that you should know.
Let’s start with the most obvious but still the most common mistake — poor form.
The back is a non-mirror muscle, making it really hard to establish a mind-muscle connection. This is why a good back is hard to develop compared to the chest.
Ensure you learn about the proper techniques before executing the exercise. If you can’t feel the right muscle, then it makes sense to seek expert advice, not advice from a gym bro.
Whenever you try a new exercise for the first time, start with lightweight, to help your body adapt to the new movement pattern and assign appropriate motor units.
Too many guys are ignoring the importance of lower back strengthing. The strength of your lower back will dictate the PR of your compound lifts (deadlifts, squats, barbell rows). Neglecting your lower back can lead to muscle imbalances, poor posture, and back pain.
Make sure you emphasize the lower back strengthening exercises like hyperextension, bridges, supermans, etc.
Do not overtrain while chasing a cobra back. Make sure you allow the muscle proper rest and recovery between the training session. There should be at least a 2-3 days gap between back training.
Doing the same workout for a long time will make the body adapt to the activity, and you will get better at it, but it will no longer be the best training program for YOU. Bringing variety to the training routine allows you to stimulate the muscle in a totally new way, and you will be able to add more value to each training session.You have to remember the novelty factor when trying to build muscle mass.
I see lifters training heavy and trying to push through the limits on a daily basis. It’s a path that leads to injuries.
To emphasize the proper development of muscle fibers, you must undulate the training intensity. Undulating the training intensity means changing the rep ranges from low to high or high to low. Here is an example:
Using momentum can lead to poor form and decreased effectiveness of the exercise. Momentum can also lead to injury and strain on your back muscles.
Slow down your movements and focus on the contraction of your back muscles. Use a weight that challenges you, but allows you to complete the exercise with proper form.
Hammer Strength lat pull machine is excellent back training equipment. However, it would be needless to lose sweat if you don’t have access to the machine. We talked about plenty of alternatives that can deliver more or less the same results.
Irrespective of what alternative you choose, focus on maintaining proper form, incorporating a variety of exercises, allowing for rest and recovery, and warming up before your workouts. By following these tips, you can sculpt a stronger aesthetic back.