I was told once way back when, as a lanky, ectomorph of a gym newbie by a yoked lifter, “If you want to show everyone up, just walk in and do 20 unassisted pull-ups before you workout.” I was on a serious mission and had he told me to stand on my head and whistle old lang syne I probably would have. None the less, “lat work” became a big part of my training. And still is. Over the years I’ve trained back several different ways. It has never been enough for me to “just do deadlifts.”
The latissimus dorsi muscles, or the “Lats,” are one of the widest muscles in the body and are commonly referred to as “the wings.” Triangular in shape, the lats flair our from either side of the upper spine along the scapula to the humerous, or upper arm, and down to the lumbar. Swimmers, rock climbers, and bad-ass physique competitors all have lats worth a little envy.
Building a nice set of wings need not be an arduous task or futile. It simply requires a little fine tuning and getting out of the comfort zone of standard, cookie-cutter routines. As in daily life, making the smallest of changes can have the biggest impact. Alternate between these three exercises so baby can get some back.
Short Grip Lat Pull-Down
The Pull-down is a standard in any back workout. Switch the grip often and target the lats a more efficient way. Perform the exercise with hands slightly shoulder width apart.
Tip (switch it up)
Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down
I incorporate the wide grip at the end of a workout using a high rep/low weight formula. My goal here is to exhaust the muscle. Grow baby, grow.
“When looking back doesn’t interest you anymore, you’re doing something right”
Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
Form is always the game-changer with any exercise as targeting the muscles correctly is the ultimate point. I equate it with a nutrition plan that’s on point. It also helps seperate the truly serious from the knuckleheads. Here, focus on keeping the elbows tucked in. Avoid letting them flair out.
And of course don’t forget bro-mans advice from earlier. Throw in as many unassisted pull ups as you can, whenever you can. Trust.
Balance and symmetry. Strength and agility. Get it right, get it tight.
6 AM – 8 PM Monday – Friday
“The desire for symmetry, for balance, for rhythm in form as well as in sound, is one of the most inveterate of human instincts” – Edith Wharton