5 Lats Exercises for a Rock-Solid Strong Back
Lats are the muscles in your upper back, just below your shoulder blades. These muscles help you pull things toward you or push things away from you, depending on their orientation. The lats exercises also work with other muscles to stabilize your shoulder blades, which helps reduce shoulder strain and injury risk when lifting weights over your head (such as when doing a pull-up). Your lats are an important part of your workout routine and should be given their due diligence when you’re working out to improve your strength and flexibility. Here are 5 lat exercises for a rock-solid strong back.
How to Work Out Your Lats
The latissimus dorsi (lats) are huge muscles that span from under your armpits to down by your hips. They’re used in just about every type of lift and movement out there, including pullups, deadlifts, rows, bench presses and more. Having strong lats will help you add weight to all of these exercises as well as get a strong back. One of my favorite ways to exercise my dumbbell lat exercises. Here are 5 great lats exercises for your back using dumbbells!
When it comes to lat dumbbell exercises, barbell rows are among some of the best. They’re a versatile exercise that can hit your back from many different angles, but can also be easily modified to make them easier or harder. Adding weight is as simple as picking up another plate from the ground, and once you get more comfortable with an exercise, you can move your feet wider apart to shift more stress onto your core and off of your arms (increasing range of motion). Start out by doing 2 sets of 10 reps. As time goes on (and you become stronger), add additional sets and increase weight.
One-Arm Dumbbell Rows
One of our favorite dumbbell lat exercises is one-arm rows. This exercise, done correctly, will work your back and rear deltoids at both their origins and insertion points. It’s an awesome compound exercise that does an amazing job building muscle mass across your lats and shoulders. While many people recommend barbell rows for complete back development, we tend to prefer dumbbell rows instead as they allow more freedom of movement and are easier on your body—particularly if you have shoulder problems. Remember to focus on building quality muscle mass with these workouts rather than sheer brute strength—you want balanced development so you can look good when shirtless during warm weather (which is all year round in Florida!)
Pullups work your lats, shoulders, and arms. Grab a pullup bar with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder width and hang at arm’s length. Bend your knees so they’re in line with your hips, lift your butt off the floor, and pull yourself up until your chin passes over the bar. Lower back to starting position. For maximum lat engagement, bring your feet together when you do them .
Pullups are an incredible exercise, but many people struggle to do them. If you can’t do pullups or you want to work your lats from different angles, lat pulldowns are an excellent alternative. You can do these with barbells or dumbbells and there are several variations that target different parts of your back. Take some time to learn how to use a lat pulldown machine properly—it may take a little getting used to—and soon enough you’ll be feeling its benefits.
Close Grip Chin Ups
The close grip chin up is an effective exercise for targeting your lats, biceps and forearms. Stand in front of a pull up bar with your palms facing toward you, and grab hold with an overhand grip. Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar, and slowly lower back down to complete one rep. Repeat 8-12 times to complete 3 sets total. Once you can do more than 12 repetitions on your own with proper form, move on to weighted sets by adding 5-10 pounds of weight around your waist. That will help increase muscle fatigue so that you can train longer and harder—great news if you’re trying to lose weight!
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