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Every now and then the best thing you can do is reach for a new exercise to help spark all new gains. In this video, I’m going to show you my new favorite back exercise that is best for your lats and getting a wider, stronger back. The back movement is actually a variation on a more common but still overlooked back exercise called the straight arm pushdown.
Here, I’m going to show you how to perform the one armed version of the straight arm pushdown and how to do it for better gains. There are some immediate advantages to the single arm version that aren’t present in the more common two armed version. First, you cannot hide your back muscle imbalances. If your right arm is stronger than your left, using the more traditional double arm version will allow you to hide your weakness with the strength in your other side.
This not only promotes more imbalance but it will compromise your lat development in the long term. In order to isolate one side at a time you need to train one side at a time. Beyond that however is that fact that you are able to get a better lat contraction with the single arm variation as well. Because you are able to pull the arm down and back while twisting your torso a bit in that direction at the bottom of the rep, you can get an incredibly strong contraction in your lats that is absent in the two arm version.
Go ahead and try it yourself and you should instantly notice the increased contraction that you feel in the side you are working that you simply won’t get when using two arms at once. The other major benefit of the back exercise shown here is that you can use the free arm to help spot you as you start to fail. This means that you can push the exercise beyond positive failure and either perform forced reps or negative reps to increase the intensity of the movement and get better back gains because of it.
The width of your lats is going to be determined not necessarily by your genetics but by the amount of complete development you have in your lats. The better you can contract the muscle and take it through its full range of motion, the more likely you are to reach your full potential in getting wider, thicker lats.
Now, before you think that you need a full gym membership in order to take advantage of this new back exercise that is simply not the case. With just a band and a pullup bar, you can anchor the band on the bar and turn this into an easy to perform home back exercise that can provide the same back gains as its gym companion. Never let the excuse of not having access to lots of expensive equipment be the reason why you aren’t seeing the type of gains that you should be.
For a complete program that shows you how to make gains, not excuses, head to and get one of the ATHLEAN-X Training Systems. Train like an athlete and see that the biggest gains in your lats will come from performing your back exercises right rather than just simply performing them.
For more back exercises and workouts to build wider lats and a thicker back, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at