(6 modifications that will grow your lats)
The word WIDER is something you probably try to avoid when thinking about your fitness goals.
But when it comes to your BACK… that’s exactly what you want!
Whether you seek massive gains or just want to put on a little bit of lean muscle…a v-tapered (wider) back should be your goal!
Developed lats (what helps with back width and what we are focusing on in this article), are not only great for an overall balanced physique … they also help give the illusion of a smaller waist!
Most people (usually unknowingly) build their back only for thickness and don’t include enough exercises for WIDTH!
I’m sure you probably already include popular lifts, like pull-ups or pull-downs. Those are great for building back width! But your GRIP and HAND PLACEMENT are important factors you may not have considered.
Today we are showing you some UNIQUE TECHNIQUES that will enhance lat activation. Plus some of my other favorite back width exercises!
6 Exercises For A V-Tapered Back
(Do’s & Don’ts For A Wider Back)
Even if you recognize the names of these exercises…pay close attention!!
Each has a very specific twist in the technique that will totally change the way you activate your lats!
Pull Up Negatives
Pull-ups are a gold-standard for back day, but one of my favorite ways to do them that really burns the lats … is focusing ONLY on the NEGATIVE portion.
The key with these .. GO SLOW!! The lowering motion should take in the LEAST 5 seconds.
You can work your way up to 10 or 15 seconds and even stopping to do iso-holds on the way down!
Take as much time as possible to lower before you fall into a dead hang position and then do it again.
Chest Supported T-Bar Rows
T-bar rows are excellent for the upper traps, side lats, and rear delts. You can do these with a bar set up in a corner with a close grip handle or a plated machine if your gym has one.
I’m opting for NEITHER because the biggest technique mistake I see people make with T-Bar rows is yanking the weight and never using their lats to pull. That is why I prefer to do these chest supported. Some gyms have chest supported machines. If not, all you need is an incline bench!
Yes, this is a basic lift, but there is a reason everyone does it! It hammers your lats, especially if performed with the right grip, hand placement, and form!
Most research says that you will get more lat activation by using a pronated (overhand) grip .. with hand placement medium width, but not too wide.
The most important thing is that you use a weight that allows you to execute proper form.
Keep your torso fairly upright, with a slight arch in your lower back (so that it looks as though your chest is slightly pushed out.) Keep this position throughout the entire movement. No swinging! Pull with your elbows as if you are trying to pull them straight into your rib-cage. Do not bounce up and down out of the seat, and do not use your biceps for power. Pause and squeeze your lats and shoulder blades together at the bottom of every single rep.
Single Arm Leaning Cable Rows
Standard seated cable rows using a close grip attachment are great for lats. But making one small modification makes a big difference in being able to use mind-muscle connection and get a crazy lat burn.
Put a single handle on a seated cable machine. Grab a mat for your knees and put it at the end of the bench. Get on your knees with your hip bones at the edge of the back of the bench and lean forward. One arm at a time, you will stretch forward as far as you can and then pull straight back. You will start with wrist palm down, and as you pull twist your wrist. Keep your arm in tight, but at the end of the rep, pull the elbow just slightly out. Your body will remain in a forward lean throughout the movement. Keep constant tension on the cable and really squeeze with every rep.
If you are short on time and can’t do isometric, or you don’t have a single handle, you can also do these with a standard close-grip attachment sitting on the bench. But instead of sitting upright .. you will lean your torso forward with your chest almost touching your thighs .. and stay in this full leaning position while performing the entire pulling movement. Keep your head down, so your spine remains neutral.
Close Grip Pull-Down (then push out)
This version of a close grip cable pull is not the way you likely perform it! Adding just one small pushing motion kills the mid to lower lats.
Grab a standard close-grip attachment and perform the seated close grip pull down as usual.
But when you get to the chest, in one fluid motion, you will push out away from your chest, then squeeze.
Pull down (don’t pause) .. and then scoop straight out .. squeeze! Reverse that exact movement back to the starting position.
Standing Alternating Arm Kayak Lat Pulldowns
This is your standard standing lat pull-down with one small change.
Instead of grabbing a straight bar and using both arms to pull down .. you will go from one side to the other in a kayak motion.
Get in a standard standing lat pull-down position. In a kayaking motion – pull to one side – return to center – pull to the other. That’s one rep.
If you want to challenge yourself even more.. after you kayak to each side .. go down with BOTH arms for a standard lat pull-down! That’s one rep.
This workout focuses on BACK WIDTH!
Back thickness is also important when you are building a 3D back.
Make sure you are incorporating a FULL training approach on back days.
You may have a body type that is genetically prone to having a narrow upper-body and wider lower-body. This may mean you need to emphasize back training even more!
Or, you could have a body type that easily packs on upper-body width, but needs a lower body to match!
If you aren’t sure what your body type is it’s crucial that you know so that you can start training (and eating) for your genetics.
Knowing your body type and training in a way that is ideal for it .. will help you achieve the best results in the fastest time!
This FREE BODY TYPE QUIZ will tell you your body type and get you started with the next steps you need to take! Check it out!
Try adding these exercises modifications to your next back day then come back and leave a comment!! I’d love to know what you think!