Explosive Back: Bodybuilding.com's 10 Highest-Rated Lats Exercises
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Quick Tip: Come to a dead hang between reps. Do not cheat! You want to maximize your range of motion on this movement.
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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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.
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