By now, you probably know that the lats are an extremely important muscle group for strength training. They serve as the engine behind many of the big lifts and help you hoist massive amounts of weight.
The lats are a large, rectangular muscle that covers a large portion of your back. They connect your shoulders to your spine and, when flexed, can cover a large portion of your upper body.
The lats are made up of three different muscles: the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical lats. The lumbar and thoracic lats connect your shoulders to your hips and the cervical lats connect your shoulders to your head.
The best way to build your lats is to perform specific exercises that target each of these three muscle groups.
In this article we will go through the 5 best lat exercises you should add to your routine:
The Best Exercises For The Lats
There are many great exercises that can be used to strengthen your lats. These range from body weight exercises that you can do anywhere to barbell exercises that require special equipment.
Here are some of the best lat exercises:
The following exercises are some of the best for building your lats and should be a staple in your routine.
The pull-up is one of the best exercises for your lats. You can do it at home, in a gym, or wherever you have a bar. The only equipment you will need is a bar and two hand grips. Beginners can start with five reps with their palms facing down toward the floor and gradually increase to ten repetitions or more. For experienced lifters, perform one set of as many repetitions as possible with proper form.
Here is how you do proper pull-ups:
- Start by holding the bar with your palms facing down and your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.
- Lower yourself back down until your arms are fully extended.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
The pull-up is a great exercise because it works several different sets of muscles. By moving your body you also get some cardiovascular benefits and you are building your endurance. The pull-up will help develop the back of your arms and shoulders, which are important muscles for weightlifting and other athletic activities.
Chin-ups are one of the best exercises for developing muscles, especially in the upper body. They require tremendous strength and balance to perform. Chin-ups are a great full-body exercise that will strengthen your: upper chest, mid-back and shoulders, biceps, and triceps all at once.
To do this exercise:
- Hang from a chin-up bar with an overhand grip.
- Bend your knees and cross your ankles behind you.
- Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.
- Lower yourself back to the starting position.
The chin-up is one of the best upper body exercises you can do. It’s such a great exercise because it works for multiple muscle groups in one movement and it’s very effective at stimulating lean muscle growth. Chin-ups are quick yet very effective. If you want to add some variety to your strength training routine, give chin-ups a shot!
3. Lat Pulldown
Lat Pulldown is one of the best exercises for developing your back muscles, helping you to build bigger shoulders, arms, and chest. It also helps with your triceps, biceps, and abs. The main benefit of a lat pulldown exercise is that because it works so many different muscle groups and angles in your back, it can produce incredible results in very little time.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Sit down on a lat pulldown machine and adjust the seat so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Grasp the bar with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart.
- Pull the bar down to your chest, keeping your back straight and your elbows close to your sides.
- Pause for a count of two, then slowly return the bar to the starting position.
Lat Pulldowns are a great isolation exercise for your lats, but if you want to maximize its potential, you need to pair it with other exercises that work for the same muscle groups.
This will allow you to achieve balance and symmetry in your body. Also, make sure that you perform this exercise using high-quality equipment designed for such a purpose. This will ensure your safety and maximize the effect of the exercise on your back muscles.
4. Seated Cable Row
The seated cable row is a lower-body pushing exercise that works out your back, biceps, and triceps. Because of the seated position, it allows for more stabilization and less stress on the wrists and elbows. This can reduce the risks of injury from this type of rowing workout.
To do proper seated cable row:
- Sit with your knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lean forward from your hips, keeping your back straight, and grasp the cable handle with an overhand grip.
- Brace your abs and pull the handle to your belly button, keeping your elbows close to your sides.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
The seated cable row is a great exercise for those who are concentrating on working out their back and biceps but don’t want to focus too hard on the forearms or shoulders. It is also very useful for people who have had problems with injuries from other forms of rowing. This moves the workout away from your hands, elbows, and wrists to your back, which is much safer from an injury point of view.
5. Barbell Bent Over Row
Bent over rows are one of the best exercises for your upper body. They work your back, abs and hamstrings to help you achieve a stronger, more defined back while still slimming down those stubborn love handles. If you’re looking to add more muscle definition without having to increase your calorie intake, then this is the exercise for you!
Here is how you do barbell bent over row:
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Bend at the waist, keeping your back straight, and grab the barbell with an overhand grip.
- Lift the barbell towards your belly button until it touches your body, then lower it back down to the starting position.
- Repeat for 8-12 reps.
The bent-over row is an underrated exercise, especially for beginners. It’s easy to master and makes use of the big muscles in your upper body. It targets your back, biceps, and even your abs. If you’re looking to bulk up but can’t seem to gain weight, try adding a few sets of bent-over rows into your routine.
These body weight lat exercise are an excellent addition to your routine if you’re looking for a quick but intense workout.
These barbell lat exercises are a good choice if you have access to a barbell and want to get the most out of a single exercise.
Dumbbells are a great addition to your lat training routine because they give you the ability to perform several different exercises from one position.
- Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
- Dumbbell Bent Over Row
- Underhand Dumbbell Bent Over Row
- Dumbbell Lat Pullover
- Incline Bench Dumbbell Rows
These cable lat exercises are an excellent choice if you’re looking to get a more complete workout.
- Straight Arm Pulldown with Bar
- Straight Arm Pulldown with Rope
- Twisting Cable High Row
- Single Arm Cable Low Row
- Kneeling Cable Lat Pulldown
Resistance bands are a great choice if you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative to a barbell.
- Seated Resistance Band Row
- Resistance Band Bent Over Rows
- Single Arm Resistance Band Bent Over Rows
- Resistance Band Lat Pulldown
- Resistance Band-Assisted Pull Ups
Kettlebells are a great option if you’re looking for a more intense training with less equipment.
- Kettlebell Swings
- Single-Arm Kettlebell Swings
- Kettlebell Bent-Over Rows
- Kettlebell Single-Arm Rows
- Kettlebell Renegade Rows
Functions Of the Lat Muscles
The latissimus dorsi muscle is a large, flat sheet of muscle that lies beneath the skin on the back. It originates at the lower six thoracic vertebrae and the lumbar spine, and inserts into the humerus (upper arm bone). The latissimus dorsi muscle is responsible for several movements of the shoulder and arm, including:
- Extension of the shoulder
- Adduction of the shoulder
- Internal rotation of the shoulder
The lats are made up of three different sets of muscles: the lumbar, latissimus dorsi, and the teres major. These muscles are located on the side of your back. The best lat exercise will be a good exercise for all three sets. If you would like to work out your lats effectively, rows are an excellent choice. Deadlifts and chin-ups are also good weapons in your arsenal to strengthen your back muscles.