The Latissimus Dorsi
The lat muscle is what gives you that wide V-tapered look. You need to train them in width and length to develop them optimally. I’ve listed a few exercises that target the Lat specifically and a few tips to go along with them.
Standing Lateral Push Down:
With this motion you want to focus on keep your arms in a consistent position. If you bend your elbows much you’ll start to incorporate more and more of you tricep muscle. As you pull down bring the rope outwards and all the way down to your outer thigh. As you reach the top of the motion try and get a full stretch in your lateral muscles.
If you use a triangle shaped bar it will help you target your lats better. Having your thumbs pointed at 45 degree angle will help engage your lats.
Seated Lat Pull downs:
Use a wider grip. Relax your hands and forearms and imagine them more as hooks. Focus more on pulling with your elbows then with your hands. Keep your back in a natural position and try not to swing the weight. When you reach the bottom of the motion try to bring it all the way to your chest. However, as you pull down with your elbows keep you your forearms perpendicular with the bar to avoid using your forearm.
Close Grip Seated Cable Rows:
Keep your elbows pointed downwards. Your lower back shouldn’t compromise. But your upper back can round over to allow a fuller range of motion. Rounding your lumbar spine and upper to middle back are two different things. As you are at the end of the motion try and imagine squeezing a pencil with your back muscles.
This muscle is prominently used for retracting your shoulder blades. It’s that central area of the upper middle back.
Single Arm Dumbbell Rows:
Slow down and squeeze at the top. If you have to, use wrist straps to take tensions off your grip.
Keep your head down in a neutral position. Pull with your elbows and squeeze at the top.
Doesn’t matter with what. Lean forward a little bit. Contrary to some users, don’t do this in a rotational movement. Just straight up and down.
Building a good well developed back is important, but often neglected. It may be harder to workout or push yourself on because it’s not as visible. Just remember that everyone else can see it. A lot of your back muscles directly contribute to some of your other big lifts. Having strong lats help stabilize your spine as you deadlift. Even a well developed upper back can create that shelf for the bar to sit on while you squat. Don’t forget about the muscles and don’t forget to target each of these major muscle groups.
Another article will be coming soon to address developing the Teres Major and Minor. Subscribe to the plate by plate blog. If you have any opinions or suggestions please comment below.