Most gym rats focus on the “mirror muscles” – like arms, abs, chest, and shoulders. But anyone who truly wants to achieve a V-shaped torso must work on their lats as well.
Also known as latissimus dorsi, these are the wide, fan-shaped muscles that cover your back and anchor your arms to the vertebral column.
Lat muscles have both cosmetic and health benefits, including:
Lat muscles take part in actions such as rowing a boat and pulling a door. Therefore, lat muscle exercises always involve pulling or rowing motions. Our top 5 selection includes:
These are the staple for lat muscle bulking.
You want your arms comfortably wide apart (about shoulder-width) on the pull-up bar. Face your palms away from your body.
Pull yourself up until your neck is above the bar. Pause for a second and lower your body in a controlled fashion until your arms are straight. Do 3 sets of 10.
You should always keep your back straight, although that shouldn’t be a problem with pull-ups as gravity’s got you covered. Also, avoid shaking your hips to create upward momentum.
Some consider this workout a chest exercise but it actually touches on several other muscles, including the lats, triceps, and abs.
Lie on your back on a bench while gripping a single dumbbell over your head with both hands on the weight rather than the bar.
Keeping your arms straight, lower the weight over your head till you feel your chest stretch. Pause and pull the dumbbell back to the start position. You could do 8-10 reps thrice.
This allows you to carry more weight with both hands than you normally would with dumbbells on either hand.
Start with your torso tipped from the hips at about a 45-degree angle. You don’t want to bend too low because your back may strain. Your arms should be facing you – they can also face out.
With your knees bent, take the bar out and lift it in the direction of your belly button. Try 12-16 reps.
Almost similar to pull-ups, lat pulldown allows you more freedom to focus on your lats by giving them a tight squeeze at the end of every rep.
While seated in the lat pull-down station with your legs under the padding, hold the bar with both your arms extended.
Gradually pull the bar towards your chest while keeping your back straight at an angle of approximately 60o for maximum results. Once the bar is down, pause before allowing it to rise slowly.
Besides training your lats, this routine improves your core and shoulder stability.
Take a pushup position with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart and each hand holding a dumbbell.
Do a push-up and row one dumbbell off the ground and towards your belly button.
Go back to the plank position and repeat the motion, rowing the other hand this time.
If it gets too difficult, you could try doing this exercise with your knees on the floor.
Each exercise carries unique advantages and some help bulk many muscles other than lats. For maximum effect, you might want to combine several workouts.
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