Ever walked past a muscular guy and just had to glance back to look at how jacked he really is? And once you look, you're even more impressed by the width of his back. That's what we're going for here.
Having a wide back doesn't just make your waist look smaller. It tells everyone that not only do you lift, you lift correctly.
If you want attention-getting lats that make you look like you have to walk through doors sideways, add these three exercises to your training plan. You can do this workout on its own or as a part of your overall back plan.
Single-Arm Lat Pull-down
It can sometimes be hard to feel if your lats are working, because you can't see them in a mirror like you can your arms or shoulders. All the more reason why you should start with a single-side move—and this one in particular.
Not only will this exercise help you isolate and activate the lats, working one side at a time also helps with balance and symmetry. Remember, you can't just get wider, you need to look balanced, too.
Start with the side you feel is weaker, use a D-handle, and make sure to focus on trying to feel the lat working and squeezing throughout the entire rep. If this level of focus means you need a strap to help with grip, go for it. It's back day, not grip day. Once you finish the weaker side, switch to the other side and keep going.
Gironda Sternum Chins
Named after the late, great Vince Gironda, this moves take the chin-up to a new level. When performed properly, this exercise will set your back on fire, especially the upper lats.
Get into a chin-up position with a shoulder-width grip on the bar. You can use a straight bar, an angled bar, or a neutral grip, depending on what is most comfortable for your wrists and elbows.
Focus your lats as you pull all the way up until your sternum is at the bar. That is the absolute end range of motion for a chin-up, and works your entire upper back like nothing else. Yes, this exercise requires tremendous strength and skill, but to get tremendous results, you need to do the work.
Since this exercise is more challenging than regular pull-ups, feel free to use a power band or an assistant machine to help learn the movement and build muscle and strength.
Elevated Cable Row
Normally, rows are associated with mid-back thickness, but this variation can help add width to the lats, especially the lower lats.
To do it, perform the seated row as you normally would, but position your seat just slightly higher. If you're on the machine version, set the seat to the highest level so you're pulling in low and squeezing your elbows in a little farther. If you're on the cable version, place something on the bench like a plate underneath you. The slight increase in elevation will bring the line of resistance more in line with the lower part of your back, allowing you to get your elbows into a better position to feel the lower lats working.
Make sure you're stable before you start your set. You should get a good stretch at the bottom and pull in slow so you can maximize the contraction. The more you think about the muscle you're trying to activate, the more that muscle will engage.