Explosive Back: Bodybuilding.com's 10 Highest-Rated Lats Exercises

Our Exercise Database is home to thousands of exercises. We lined up the highest-rated lat exercises and added insider tips to make this ultimate list!

Decent-looking arms are a dime a dozen. Mile-wide lats separate the "bros" from the real silverbacks of the gym. Do you want to know how to get that amazing V shape? Build lats that blot the sun with one of the ten top-rated exercises below, listed in descending order!

Exercise 10//
(Rated 8.4)

Quick Tip: Depending on how you grip the implement and position your upper arm, you can target your middle back or your lats. A neutral grip with your elbow close to the body will harness more lat involvement, while a pronated grip with your elbow out involves more rear delt and middle back. Let it rip with either grip!

Exercise 9//
(Rated 8.5)

Quick Tip: If you can pull the bar all the way down to your belly button, you're doing it wrong! Aim for a weight you can pull below your chin but no farther.

Exercise 8//
(Rated 8.5)

Quick Tip: Theoretically, this should put the latissimus dorsi in the strongest position for shoulder extension, but you have to mentally focus on pulling with your back-not your biceps. Don't turn this into an elaborate curl.

Exercise 7//
(Rated 8.5)

Quick Tip: This movement also works the deltoids and pectoralis major, but the lattismus dorsi is the prime mover. Hit this exercise after your rows and pull-downs to work your lats without elbow flexion.

Exercise 6//
(Rated 8.9)

Quick Tip: Gripping a V-bar internally rotates the shoulder during extension. If you aren't focused on what you're doing, your lats could miss some work. The lats may get a little less stimulation, but the range of motion in this exercise more than makes up for it. Make sure you squeeze your lats at the bottom!

Exercise 5//
(Rated 8.9)

Quick Tip: Focus on pulling with your back. To increase the range of motion, lean back at the bottom of the movement. Squeeze your lats!

Exercise 4//
(Rated 9.0)

Quick Tip: Focus, focus, focus! It's easy to disengage your lats and rely on your biceps for this exercise. Visualize the target muscles and squeeze at the top.

Exercise 3//
(Rated 9.1)

Quick Tip: Skip this one if you have shoulder problems or feel tightness around your spine. This is a cool old-school exercise, but it requires decent mobility.

Exercise 2//
(Rated 9.2)

Quick Tip: Come to a dead hang between reps. Do not cheat! You want to maximize your range of motion on this movement.

Exercise 1//
(Rated 9.4)

Quick Tip: If you are not strong enough to do a pull-up, use a band to help you hit the top. Machines are a decent alternative, but they won't work your upper body or abs as well. If you are on the other end of the spectrum and can do pull-ups all day, add some resistance by hanging a few pounds off a belt!

Our users definitely got it right: Pull-ups and chin-ups are the best exercises you can do for your lats. Which one should you do? I recommend both. One focuses on gleno-humeral extension and the other on adduction, so they will complement each other.

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About The Author

Matt Biss is a training and nutrition specialist. He has studied exercise science and is a competitive strength athlete.

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emilysingan

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emilysingan

Urgggh lats...

Oct 16, 2012 6:34pm | report
 
jmaxeden

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jmaxeden

lol.. Agree

Oct 17, 2012 2:06pm | report
Mizzoutiger26

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Mizzoutiger26

Barbell rows..?

Oct 16, 2012 8:37pm | report
 
jesseray87

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jesseray87

Yes sir

Feb 7, 2013 7:21pm | report
theyusuf

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theyusuf

Nice article

Oct 17, 2012 2:29am | report
 
olsegb79

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olsegb79

ive only done exercise 7 with low weight for my serratus anterior muscle, not my lats, but i guess it could also work for lats

Oct 17, 2012 6:39am | report
 
Joedzilla

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Joedzilla

Yeah, great ones! i love the soreness the day after my back day when i implement these in my routine.

Oct 17, 2012 7:23am | report
 
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
  • wt: 177.47 lbs
  • bf: 15.0%
TheEnigmaOfLife

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TheEnigmaOfLife

No bb rows or deadlifts? Lol

Oct 17, 2012 10:27am | report
 
zaneedge

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zaneedge

this is for lats, not back thickness. otherwise deadlift would obviously be on there

Oct 18, 2012 7:27pm | report
TomBremner

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TomBremner

lol this is a ******* joke right?
heavy deads and bent over rows. disregard this cable ******** unless your just doing metabolic work

Oct 17, 2012 10:38am | report
 
Muscle Mania Matt

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Muscle Mania Matt

I completely agree with you (it's my article). The limitations of generating these lists from the XDB is that the database only allows one prime mover for an exercise, meaning your heavy compound movements may not get counted where they should. Our other limitation is that this is based upon user ratings, and sometimes inferior exercises are voted upon more highly than better movements.

Oct 17, 2012 11:48am | report
charlesdurham1

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charlesdurham1

Great tips for me! I definately needed this article for some great exercises for widing my back

Oct 17, 2012 11:15am | report
 
HeavyMTLBronco

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HeavyMTLBronco

Right on, thats my gym in Meridian Idaho! Powerful Steve Cook!

Oct 17, 2012 1:03pm | report
 
vijayendra29

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vijayendra29

Number one exercise is definitely my fav! I have pushed myself and do weighted pull ups with 90lbs on me .. 3-4 clean reps!!

but definitely deadlifts need to get a spot here... not a great fan of bent over rows as i feel it puts lot of strain on your lower back region .. just me though

Oct 17, 2012 1:26pm | report
 
OREILLY96

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OREILLY96

what 4-5 of these exercises would you say are the best for mass gain? and like what order to do them in? be much appreciated if you could get back to me. HelpTheNewbie

Nov 1, 2012 6:45pm | report
Daftpulse

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Daftpulse

Straight arm pulldowns, rows and wide grips have made my lats ginormous.

Oct 17, 2012 5:03pm | report
 
MrAWatts

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MrAWatts

No seated rows? I am disappoint.

Oct 17, 2012 5:04pm | report
 
puffmeister

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puffmeister

Good stuff!! pull-ups rock!!

Oct 17, 2012 5:10pm | report
 
jonyboyyy

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jonyboyyy

great article man !
ahhaha i do all of these in one day usually on my back days -___-

Oct 17, 2012 6:09pm | report
 
JerryB

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JerryB

Too few rowing exercises such as end of bar rows, dumbbell rows, and the barbell rows. Rows are great for width and thickness.

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Oct 17, 2012 6:21pm | report
 
ExtremistPullup

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ExtremistPullup

Weighted Pull-up

Oct 17, 2012 9:50pm | report
 
faiznmatazzz

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faiznmatazzz

Complete Version

Oct 17, 2012 11:35pm | report
 
JeremyKoehnlein

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JeremyKoehnlein

i love pull-ups/chin-ups etc..... but in my opinion, no back routine is complete without some type of row. my favorite is the t bar row. otherwise, this list seems pretty decent

Oct 18, 2012 11:58am | report
 
fatfit

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fatfit

good one.

Oct 18, 2012 2:18pm | report
 
JasonDB

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JasonDB

Where the hell are the heavy barbell rows, tbar rows, deadlifts and rack pulls? This is some micky mouse fluff.

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Oct 19, 2012 7:34am | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 39 Comments

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