A fully-equipped home exercise center offers all the variety of workouts you’d find in a conventional gym. It’s a great asset if you’re keen to improve your body composition and health but find it hard to squeeze in extra time within your schedule.
Strength training machines with a lat pulldown are a perfect option, usually with a strong steel frame and a long bar to grip onto.
Traditional home gyms used to exclude this feature, but there’s a reason a lat pulldown is such a sought-after piece of kit!
Training your lats (latissimus dorsi) can strengthen your back, help stabilize your spine and improve your posture – while looking more toned.
In this guide, we look at the six best home gyms that come with a lat pulldown to help you make a good call about the workout center for you, with pros and cons, rating comparisons, and a look at the ideal features for a quality home gym.
If you’re after a quick recommendation, our top model reviewed is:
The Marcy Home Gym incorporates over 30 strength training options, including arm press, chest press, pec fly, lat pulldown, leg curl, and leg extension mechanisms.
The Best Home Gyms With Lat Pulldown Bars
Next, we’ll take a closer look at our six best home gyms, all with a lat pulldown among a range of other accessories and features.
You get over 30 different exercise options, with dual functioning press arms and leg developer, designed to align with your knee joints for effective, injury-free leg curls and leg extensions.
There are multi-position pulleys you can adjust as you wish and a 150 lb weight stack with a lock to keep the weights safe when you’re not working out.
Each unit includes ankle straps for standing leg curls, a lat pulldown bar, padded press arms, and a leg developer station.
- Lat pulldown feature
- Rated 4.5 after 1,782 reviews
- Lockable weight stack
- User weight capacity of 300 lb
- Dual-action arm press
- Pins for easy adjustment
- 150 lb weight stack
- The weights are a little basic (plastic over cement)
Brand video link:
The weight stack on the Marcy Home Gym goes up to 150 lb, with a removable preacher curl pad, lat bar, ankle strap, chest press, and butterfly press, so it’s a good option for a multifunctional gym without needing to buy any added extras.
Because it’s based on pulleys and cables rather than a weight stack, you need less space than for a conventional weight stack, and the tension building is progressive, so it’s good for an exercise regime if you’re looking to make continual improvements.
The lat bar is integrated and angled for a better grip, and the seat is quick-release with a high-density foam cushion.
You get a few accessories included, such as the lat bar, squat bar, and an ab training strap, with a five-year warranty on the power rods, one year on the frame but 60 days on the parts.
- Rated 4.5 after 1,612 reviews
- Lat pulldown feature
- 65+ different workouts
- 210 lb of power rod resistance
- Optional upgrade to 410 lb resistance
- Multiple cable and pulley positions
- Includes an ab strap, squat bat, and lat bar
- Assembly is fiddly with bolts labeled in small print
Once you’ve assembled the Bowflex Xceed, it has a large variety of workout options, with a heavy-duty steel frame for stability and durability.
The XRS 50 home gym system is a workout unit made up of pulley systems on the top and bottom of the frame and a set of nine 12.5 lb weights in the stack – so 122.5 lb altogether.
With the pulleys, you get up to 280 lb of resistance to work against, with a combined fly and chest press station with a pulldown bar to focus on your lats. The leg roller is padded for comfort and can be used for hip flexors, quads, and leg extensions.
This home gym has a sewn vinyl seat and includes an exercise chart if you’re unsure where to start or want some workout inspiration.
Some buyers have reported issues with customer support, so we’d suggest you check the pulleys and weights in the box before you start assembly, just in case.
- Rated four stars after 799 reviews
- Lat pulldown feature
- 112.5 lb weight stack
- Sturdy frame
- Comes with an exercise chart
- Tough vinyl seat
- 280 lb total pulley resistance
- Basic but functional and low-cost
- Need to retain the box in case of a warranty claim
Customer video link:
The Weider XRS 50 doesn’t have lots of added extras, but it’s a classic home gym with an affordable price that includes all the equipment you’ll need for a full upper and lower body workout.
The Bowflex Blaze is a high spec home gym with a sliding seat rail so you can add some rowing cardio and leg presses to your usual workout.
Although it’s a substantial home exercise station, the bench folds away, and there are wheels underneath so you can move it around when you need to – the gym weighs 98 lb, so it’s a little lighter than some models.
There are lots of pulleys and cables which you need to assemble. Still, they’re also adjustable and have different position options to customize your workout or target a new muscle group.
The lat tower is angled, so you get a better workout and can work on your back, shoulders, and posture. Note that this home gym doesn’t include a weight stack but works on pulleys and resistance, 210 lb as standard but up to 410 lb if you want to upgrade.
- Lat pulldown feature
- Rated 4.5 after 1,743 reviews
- Option to upgrade to 410 lb of resistance
- Sturdy, tough frame
- 210 lb of resistance as standard
- Seven free workout programs
- Includes a squat bar
- Measures higher assembled than on the product specification
- Limited range of motion
Customer video link:
The Bowflex Blaze isn’t the cheapest home gym, but it is a high-quality model and comes with a broad range of exercises – including a lat pulldown and an ab pad.
The child-proof weight stack lock is vital if you have small ones and means that your weights are secured with a padlock so they can’t shift or slide when not in use.
A solid 14-gauge steel tube frame keeps the home gym stable, suitable for up to a 300 lb user weight, and there is a removable preacher curl pad included, plus a chest press, butterfly press, and lat row.
Each station is covered with a foam roller pad for comfort, and the weight stack is vinyl coated for durability.
- Rated four stars after 255 reviews
- Lat pulldown feature
- Affordable price point
- Includes a weight stack lock
- Full equipment range
- Supports up to 300 lb user weight
- Comes with ankle straps, a shiver bar, and a lat bar
- Very large, so a little difficult to assemble
- The bar underneath the seat is a little too narrow
This home workout machine has everything you’d find in the strength training room at the gym (aside from free weights), and the price point is difficult to argue with for value for money.
The Gold’s Gym home gym has all the basics – it looks quite slimline but weighs in at 225 lb (and a 300 lb delivered weight), so you’ll likely need a second person to help with the assembly.
You get a chest press and fly station, a leg roller, pulleys at the top and bottom of the unit, and that lat pulldown bar we’re looking for.
Each home gym comes with a workout chart, which can be essential for anybody new to using gym equipment or looking for guidance about the right exercises to focus on for a particular muscle group or body area.
The cost is reasonable given the popularity of the Gold’s Gym brand, and you get a stack of weights with the machine – they’re easy enough to adjust with the pins that you’ll find on similar pieces of standalone equipment in the gym.
- Rated four stars after 417 reviews
- Lat pulldown feature
- Solid 225 lb home gym
- Comes with a 112 lb weight stack
- Exercise chart included
- Up to 300 lb user weight capacity
- 280 lb of resistance
- The weight jump between levels is big
- Some buyers have received the XRS 50 but branded differently
- Tension cables can be very tough to start with
The Gold’s Gym XRS 50 is a near-identical model to the Weider XRS 50 (third on this list) – but the branding is something that appeals to a lot of home gym users who want a matching Gold’s workout set.
The Benefits of Choosing a Home Gym With a Lat Pulldown
Working out at home can be a convenient way to build exercise into your routine without the cost and time required to travel to a gym – particularly if you don’t have a great gym nearby.
Lat pulldown machines are a familiar piece of equipment in the gym, but if you’re unfamiliar, it’s a type of exercise that works your back and shoulder muscles much like a chin-up or press-up, but with less weight.
If you’re working on your press-up form or find either of those bodyweight exercises challenging, a lat pulldown is an accessible way to start strengthening your spine without putting any stress on your joints.
Pulldowns are the reverse of a pull-up and are positive for overall strength and fitness.
Other advantages to having your own private gym at home include:
- Privacy: millions of people prefer to work out at home because they’re unfamiliar with the gym environment, don’t find it welcoming, or wish to exercise away from the view of others. The joy of a home gym is that you can wear and do anything you like without distractions.
- Time efficiency: one of the bugbears of a busy gym is that you often find yourself waiting for equipment to become available. A home gym includes a range of pulleys, weights, and exercises you can use as and when you wish, without stalling your workout or taking longer breaks than you’d like to.
- Always available: if you work night shifts or prefer to exercise early in the morning, it’s sometimes difficult to find a gym that caters to your schedule. A home gym is there when you need it, whether in the middle of the day or night.
- Cost-saving: although a home gym requires an initial investment, longer-term, it’s almost always significantly cheaper than maintaining a gym membership. You don’t need to travel or pay for parking and won’t be tempted by pricey designer juices!
Buying a home gym workout station like those we’ve reviewed here is ideal if you don’t have a spare room to fill with workout equipment and want something smaller that you can use along with cardio exercises like running, walking, or cycling.
Safety Tips for Working Out With a Home Gym
Much of the safety around working out at home is common sense; not overdoing it before you have gotten used to an exercise, being sensible with seriously heavy weights, and wearing appropriate clothing.
However, it’s easy to forget about your surroundings, which can be dangerous if you toss a sweater on the back of the home gym and forget about it before you next sit down for a workout.
Here are a few simple guidelines to keep your home exercise sessions safe:
- Always close the door – some of these machines have very heavy weights, including weight stacks that can roll or shift. Make sure you shut the door, so children and pets can’t access your workout area and trip, or worse, have the risk of a hefty weight falling onto them.
- Tidy up – clothing, discarded water bottles, or earphones can become tangled in pulleys and pulldown bars and create a real safety issue. Make sure your home gym is well organized, and put the weights back on the rack each time you’re done.
- Ask for a spotter – if you’re experienced in the gym, you’ll likely know what you’re doing. However, if you want to try something new, have a home gym for the first time, or are going for a PB, it’s highly advisable you have someone work out with you just in case you need help.
- Warm-up and cool down – while warm-ups can feel tedious, they’re an important part of each exercise session. Suddenly yanking on a heavily loaded bar with cold muscles is a recipe for injury.
- Respect your weights – adding or removing weight plates should be done properly. You’ll know if you’ve ever dropped a plate on your foot! Remove one plate at a time, stand to the side, and replace each on the rack before doing anything else.
It’s also necessary to focus on good form – something we easily forget when we’re at home, and there isn’t anybody there to watch, and often no mirror!
Slow, light exercises performed perfectly are far more effective (and less likely to cause an injury) than a super heavy session with poor form.
If you feel yourself slumping, rounding your back, or completing half reps, it’s time for a rest or a slightly lighter weight.
How to Achieve Perfect Lat Pulldown Form
Lat pulldowns are a quick way to improve your back and shoulder strength, get better at pull-ups or press-ups, and correct any weaknesses in your posture or spine, so they’re a good exercise to add to your regime.
As with any exercise, the better your form, the better the results you can expect.
Whether you have a home gym with a pulldown bar, a resistance band, or a cable pulley machine, you’ll want to follow this step-by-step guide for tidy form.
- Sit comfortably, and make sure you can place your feet flat on the floor.
- Check the bar is at the right height for you to reach comfortably with your arms outstretched but without having to stand up.
- Adjust the thigh pad if you have one – they should tuck above your upper thighs to stop you from sliding or slipping.
- Grip the bar with a wide grip (wider than shoulder height, aiming for the angle in the bar if you have one).
- Use a knuckles-up grip, to begin with – you can experiment with different grips and hand positions later.
- Pull the bar downwards towards yourself until it’s at chin level, breathing out on the downward motion.
- Keep your body still and stationary. A little shift is fine, but you want to engage your abs and keep your feet flat on the floor, so the movement is all powered by your arms and back.
- Make sure the bottom of the movement is where your elbows have reached maximum motion on a downward angle without pointing backward.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades but keep your back upright and your shoulders square.
- From the bottom with the bar near your chin, return the bar slowly back in a controlled movement – don’t let go so that it crashes into the weights.
Most trainers recommend around eight to twelve rep per set for between three and five sets.
You can always do fewer reps with a higher weight or increase your repetitions and work through a shorter set cycle if you want to vary your workouts.
What to Look for in a Quality Home Gym Center
The key to picking a great home gym that you’ll get real use from is to think about your fitness goals, the exercises you want to do, and how to vary your sessions to keep them interesting.
Very few of us can stay motivated if we’re repeating an identical workout every day!
Here we’ve looked at two main types of home gyms that come with a lat pulldown bar – a flex-rod machine (one that has pulleys and cables) and weight stack home gyms (with weight plates).
There are pros and cons to both, so we’ll run through a few pointers to help narrow down your choices.
Pros and Cons of Flex-Rod Home Gym Machines
Home gyms that incorporate resistance cables or flex rods are made similarly to a weight stack machine, normally with a steel frame and bars.
The difference is that instead of weight plates you stack onto your home gym, you use rods or pulleys that provide resistance.
The machine connects to the rod or cables, and they bend or provide resistance as you push or pull to activate your muscles.
- Often slightly cheaper due to the lack of separate weight plates.
- Quick to adjust and adaptable to various workout regimes.
- Versatile and suited to multiple exercises.
- Increased focus on stability and core strength.
- Smaller and easier to maneuver than a home gym with a weight stack.
- Don’t have the same feel as a weighted machine.
- Resistance is often limited to 210 lb or 310 lb.
- Added resistance comes at a price premium.
- Cables and rods can be expensive to replace.
Features of a Cable Home Gym
The first thing to check on a cable home gym is the maximum weight resistance offered.
We’ve mentioned a maximum of 210 or 310 lb, which is standard. You can upgrade to as much as 410 lb on some of the models we’ve reviewed here.
It’s also important to check whether you can adjust the bench.
If your seat is fixed, you’ll be limited, whereas if you can switch it to vertical to suit different exercises, you’ll have a broader range of movements to choose from.
Pros and Cons of Weight Stack Home Gym Machines
A weight stack home gym is multifunctional and comes with weight plates that attach to a pulley or cable system.
The number of workout stations you get varies, so some models include a pec fly and others things like a preacher pad – if you have a favorite movement, check the accessories included before you order.
The more workout stations, the higher the price in most cases, and the more weights you get in a stack, the more you’ll usually expect to pay.
- There are many possible exercises for your legs, arms, and core.
- Safer and easier to use than dumbbells for many people.
- No additional cost to buy free weights.
- Easy to use and adaptable to your fitness level.
- These machines are big, heavy, and difficult to move.
- You’ll need at least two people to help with the assembly.
- Putting the components together often takes three or four hours.
- The quality of the weight stack varies considerably.
Features of a Weight Stack Home Gym
We’d recommend you check what the plates are made from.
Cast iron weights are a classic type of weight plate, but you can also get cement weight plates coated in vinyl that aren’t as durable – over time, the plastic tends to start cracking.
You’ll often get the option of upgrading your weight stack, perhaps adding extra weights when your strength improves.
Look for a model with an optional upgrade if you’re hoping to make some good strength gains.
The next thing to look for is the weight ratios.
Most home gyms with a weight stack have different ratios for each set of pulleys. For example, a home gym that advertises a max resistance of 300 lb might provide a limited resistance of 150 lb during a chest press.
Machines normally have a table that shows the ratios, and it’s unlikely you’ll get a 1:1 balance on every workout station.
Finally, have a look at the quality of the bench integrated within your home gym. Some workout units don’t have a bench at all, and others sell benches as a separate accessory.
Benches should be adjustable, ideally with a backrest.
FAQs – Choosing the Best Home Gym With a Lat Pulldown
Below we’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about buying and working out with a home gym equipped with a lat pulldown bar.
Can You Do Lat Pulldowns at Home?
Yes, if you buy a home gym with a pulley system or a lat pulldown bar included, you can perform lat exercises at home – alternatively, you can purchase standalone bands to make your own version.
Alternatives include eccentric pull-ups, normal pull-ups, or inverted rows to target the same muscles with similar movement patterns if you have a home gym that doesn’t come with a lat pulldown bar or the space for an attachment.
Is a Multi Gym a Good Option for a Beginner?
They are fine for any user, whether you’re an experienced gym-goer or want to get into exercise for the first time.
You can start with an empty bar to get used to the motion and start adding weights or upping the resistance levels slowly until you are confident of adding more tension.
Are Resistance Pulleys as Effective as a Home Gym Weight Stack?
They can be, yes. Free weights are popular, but they are less stable than a cable or pulley system.
Cables are a good idea for people testing out a home gym because if you need to let go or have gone too heavy, you can effectively let go without injuring yourself or anybody nearby.
It’s never advisable to release a pulldown bar because it will crash into the machine – doing that readily could cause damage.
However, a cable is an alternative to free weights if you require that safety element or aren’t confident lifting larger plates.
Are Home Gyms Worth it?
It all depends on your goals, but if you want to save money on a gym membership, workout at your convenience, and still build muscle mass, a quality home gym is your go-to.
Do I Need to Buy a Weight Stack from the Same Brand as My Home Gym?
Usually, yes. Lat pulldowns normally use a weight stack or weight plates – the difference is that stacks are already built into the machine, and you slide in the pin according to the weight you’d like to lift.Weight plates are manually moved and threaded onto the bar.
If you want to upgrade your weight stack, you should always buy from the same manufacturer; otherwise, there’s a good likelihood they won’t fit.
Hopefully, you’ve now got a great idea about the variety of home gyms you can buy with a lat pulldown, how they work, and all the pros and cons!
The ideal home gym for you will depend on your budget, space, and workout requirements, but we’ve included a range of quality home gyms to help you find the right model for you.