Lat training is a big part of any serious lifter’s workout routine. The lats are large muscles that take up a lot of space and are highly visible, which makes them a popular focus of bodybuilders and fitness models.
The lats are a large muscle group that cover a large area of the back. They help with shoulder adduction and flexion and are a key muscle group for pulling exercises.
Lat exercises are an essential part of any training program. They are highly effective at building size and strength in the upper back, and they also help strengthen the core and improve posture.
The trouble is, most people don’t know how to perform a proper lat exercise.
Performing lat exercises with a barbell is much more beneficial. This is because barbells allow you to use heavier weights, which builds more strength and muscle.
In this article, I’ll guide you through the 5 best barbell lat exercises and give you some tips on how to incorporate them into a routine.
Best Lats Exercises Using Barbell
1. Bent Over Row
The bent-over row is a fantastic exercise for building a wide back and getting a flat stomach. The added resistance from the barbell makes this even more effective. One of the biggest benefits of the bent-over row is you will build posture muscles which are not only important to postural balance but also can help prevent injuries.
Here is how you do bent over row:
- Start by holding a barbell in your hands with an overhand grip and your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your knees slightly and hinge at the hips so that your torso is parallel to the ground.
- Let the barbell hang down in front of you, keeping your arms straight.
- From here, row the barbell up towards the belly button until it touches your body, leading with your elbows.
- Pause for a moment at the top of the lift and then lower the barbell back to the starting position.
An incredibly effective lift that puts virtually no body weight on the lower back and allows you to safely work through your entire range of motion. You can start at a lightweight and do higher reps for burnout sets, or start heavy and take it slow for serious muscle gains. Try this lift out and maybe you will finally be able to crack past your current deadlift plateau.
2. Pendlay Row
Pendlay row is one of the most effective exercises for building muscle mass and strength. Pendlay Row works by pulling a weight above his torso, with both hands at the same time. This exercise does not rely on balance or support from other movements. It also has two benefits for people looking to lose weight—it burns fat and increases heart rate.
To do this exercise:
- Grasp the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your knees and hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and lean forward from the hips until your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor.
- Keeping your back straight, pull the bar to your lower chest.
- Pause, then return to the starting position.
Pendlay Row is a very effective way to develop muscle mass and increase strength because it allows you to lift your strongest weights. This exercise can be performed in all directions, which gives your body the ability to develop muscles evenly, without leaving any parts of your body.
3. T-Bar Row
The T-bar row strengthens the muscles of your upper back, allowing you to lift weight with better control and a stronger muscular contraction.
T-bar rows are great for developing a strong back and stabilizing the spine. This is an ideal exercise for anyone who wants to get bigger and stronger without excess bulk.
Here is how you do a T-bar row:
- Start by placing a T-bar in a landmine, or by loading a barbell into a corner.
- Stand over the bar, and position your feet hip-width apart.
- Bend at your hips and knees to grip the bar with an overhand grip, your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Keeping your back straight, drive your hips forward to lift the bar off the ground.
- Row the bar up to your chest, leading with your elbows.
- Pause for a count at the top of the movement, and then lower the bar back to the starting position.
If you’ve never tried t-bar rows before, give them a shot. They’re an excellent way to develop a stronger upper back as well as a stronger, more stable spine. You’ll be amazed at how much stronger your big compound lifts like the bench press and deadlift will become once you incorporate this into your routine!
4. Underhand Bent Over Row
The underhand bent-over row is a great upper body exercise. The workout targets the lats, scapula, rhomboids, and shoulders in one movement. It has been used by many athletes to strengthen their back muscles.
It allows you to hit multiple muscle groups by training both the upper and lower body while creating a large range of motion that can be adjusted depending on your flexibility.
To do the underhand bent-over row:
- Start with the barbell on the floor in front of you.
- Bend over and grab the barbell with an underhand grip, your hands should be shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your back straight and your knees slightly bent as you row the barbell up to your chest.
- Lower the barbell back down to the starting position and repeat.
The underhand bent-over row is a great exercise for strengthening and building muscle in the back. You will feel the muscle fibers of your back, shoulders, and arms working when performing this lift correctly, so remember to adjust your weights accordingly if you do not feel it in your muscles. Keep your muscles tight as you perform each rep.
5. Barbell Suitcase Row
Barbell suitcase row is an explosive exercise that forces every muscle group to work in unison. This is a compound movement that requires several stabilizing muscles but also works the core, legs, and back. Even though it looks simple and easy, it can be challenging to master.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Start by laying a barbell on the ground next to you on your left side.
- With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend down and grip the barbell with your left hand, keeping your back straight.
- Bend your knees slightly and pull the barbell up towards your waist, leading with your elbow.
- Once the barbell reaches waist level, slowly lower it back to the ground and repeat for 10-12 reps before switching sides.
This high-intensity move is a great cardiovascular exercise that’s a favorite among Crossfit athletes. But it’s also simple enough for beginners to try, and provides an excellent workout that works just about every muscle in the body.
Function Of the Lat Muscles
The latissimus dorsi muscles are a pair of large, flat muscles that attach to the lower back and extend up to the humerus. These muscles are responsible for several key functions in the body, including:
1. Extension of the shoulder joint – The lats are responsible for extending the shoulder joint, which allows you to lift your arms overhead or behind your head.
2. Adduction of the shoulder joint – The lats also help to bring your arms closer to your body (adduction).
3. Internal rotation of the shoulder joint – The lats assist with internal rotation of the shoulder joint, which is needed for activities such as reaching into a pocket or putting on a shirt.
4. Stabilization of the scapula -The lats work with other muscles to stabilize your shoulder blades (scapulae) so that they don’t move around too much when you move your arms.
We’ve covered the 5 best barbell lat exercises, which are all great variations you can use to improve your physique. Everyone should include some variation of these exercises in their routine, regardless of whether they want to add size and mass or simply burn some calories.
Even if you’re not worried about building muscle or losing weight, the core benefits and functionality of the exercises should be enough to convince you to give them a try.