I’m generally not a big fan of very wide grip pulldowns, I think that a medium overhand grip works just as well and wide grips tend to limit the range of motion.
One of the key aspects of getting the lats involved has to do with what happens at the shoulder.
Like the Cable Row, there are numerous variations on the lat pulldown primarily involving changes in grip position (underhand vs.
The same basic form errors, pulling the bar too low leaning too far back or ending up in a hunched over position can happen with this variant of the pulldown as well (the triceps extension variant where the lifter takes the bar all the way to the legs is more common because of the grip) and I’m not going to show those. I once read a quote by Arnold saying if you wanted wide lats, do 50 wide-grip pull-ups per session, doesn’t matter how many sets.

This was working great for a month or two, my lats were visibly growing, but then I realized I could no longer fully straighten or close my right arm (at the elbow).
When teaching a beginner to do pulldowns I’d advise against letting the shoulders shrug up at the bottom.
Julian: I disagree, I would rather teach proper technique from teh get go and that means learning to depress the scapula. I want to say that while doing overhand lat pull downs (humeral adduction), flaring the elbows causes the shoulder movement get out of the scapular plane. They may get a tremendous arm pump but the lat seems to go unused.  As usual, this generally has to do with improper form (which is often secondary to using far too much weight).

In a properly done pulldown The shoulders should elevate (move up) at the top of the movement and active shrug down at the end (in the Cable Row the shoulders move forwards and backwards). There’s a risk that being unable to feel the tension in their lats will mean they just relax and let the shoulder joint bear the load, which could cause injury.

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