If your lats don’t seem wide enough and they look like they end shortly below your armpit, you will want to watch this video on how to get a v-taper. Here I show you 5 lat exercises for getting a wider back by focusing on the lower lats. The key to getting sweeping lats is to not only train your back with the right exercises but by making sure you are performing them the right way.
That said, if you want to build a wider back and lats you have to do two very important things in your back workouts. First, you must be willing to take the exercises you are doing through a full range of motion. Simply focusing on the middle portion of every row, pullup and pulldown is not going to give you fully developed lats just as doing this with your curls will give you fully developed biceps.
Beyond that, if you don’t ever focus on creating a peak contraction of the lats by digging your elbow into your hip at the bottom of every rep, then you won’t get the muscle to grow as much as it is capable of. Each of the lat exercises shown here will help you to do exactly this. They will take your lats through a full range of motion and get you to place extra emphasis on the contracted position of the muscle.
The first exercise shown is called the tripod underhand row. It is important to note that the grip makes all the difference in the effectiveness of this exercise in targeting the lats. When you perform it with an overhand grip you shift most of the focus of the move to the muscles of your upper back rather than the latissimus. When you switch to a supinated grip your elbow becomes much easier to tuck into your side, drive towards your pelvis and ultimately obtain a greater contraction of the lats in their fully shortened state.
The second exercise is the wide grip underhand pulldown. This one actually helps those that struggle to feel what it should feel like to get your elbows driven into your hips. Because the movement starts with your elbows out wide, the only place for them to travel is down and in closer to your hips and pelvis. The underhand position once again helps to allow the elbows to ultimately get closer to your sides and increase the contraction of the lats.
The rocking pulldown is another awesome back exercise for building wider lats because it adds the additional ability to get rotation of the torso as you drive your arm down into your side. Being able to focus on one side at a time helps those that struggle to feel a strong contraction in the lats even more.
If ever there was a face pull for your lats, the high cable row would be it. This allows you once again to train one side at a time in a very athletic manner – by standing on your feet with the ability to include rotation for a v-taper back. This enables you to separate your hips from your shoulders by rotating them in opposite directions which really increases the stretch on your lats and allows for a more powerful contraction. Not just that, the up and away position of the arm creates an even more significant stretch on the lats attachments which tends to allow the user to feel a stronger contraction of the lats at the end of each rep.
The incline single arm stretch pulldown is an amazing lat exercise for growing a wider back. This setup does require that you have access to an incline bench and a cable apparatus, but if you do, it’s worth the extra effort. Here you can get an amazing stretch on the lats by letting your arm drift high up overhead, with a clear target for your elbow to be driven down towards your hip on every rep. The contraction you should feel on this in your lower lats will be intense if performed correctly.
Finally, there is no better lat exercise for building straight arm scapular strength than the straight arm pushdown. Performin the move one arm at a time as shown in the video. Look to not just get to the level of your back but past it to really increase the squeeze on the lower lats in the bottom position.
All of these lat exercises are great for building a wider back and lats. You do not have to do all of them to get results. In fact, if you mix in one or two with your standard heavy rows, weighted pullups and deadlifts, you will notice a wider back in no time. If you are looking for a complete workout program that will build not just a wider back but a more muscular and athletic body overall, be sure to head to athleanx.com at the link below and check out the ATHLEAN-X training systems.
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