Get bigger Lats
Full lats workout plan and some tips
Looking to build a broad back? Of course you are. While the back might not be one of the standard go-to “show muscles” or have an international day named after it—ahem, chest—a wide, muscular back is essential to a well-rounded physique. It’s the key to looking dense, thick, and powerful.
This upper-body workout will help you lift your way to larger lats, stronger traps, and a muscular middle back. Some of the movements will even hit your biceps and shoulders. Follow my directions, and you’ll be well on your way to a barn door back in no time.
Workout to be noticed
1. Wide-Grip Bent-Over Barbell Row
When I do a bent-over barbell row, I like to start by standing up with my back straight. I then hinge at the hips and lean forward into a 45-degree angle. This is the ideal starting position. For each rep, I let my lats and arms achieve full extension before pulling the bar up. Make sure you use a heavy yet manageable working weight for the first 4 sets.
2. Wide-Grip Weighted Pull-Up
Pull-ups are an essential lat-strengthening, back-building exercise. On these, I squeeze my back on every rep, and at the bottom of each rep I release my lats fully before pulling myself back up.
Even when using weight, I try to make sure my form on every pull-up is as perfect as possible: hands shoulder-width apart, chest out, torso angled back slightly, shoulder blades back and contracted on the way up, and arms extended and fully stretched at the end.
As always, scale as necessary. If you don’t have weighted pull-ups down just yet, bodyweight pull-ups are fine. Just make sure you hit the 8-12 rep range.
4. Reverse-Grip Lat Pull-Down
Underhand pull-downs really target the lats. For them, you want to keep your hands about shoulder-width apart, really focusing on maintaining a straight back while pulling your elbows down as far as possible.
During this part of the workout, you should really start to feel it in your lats. Keep your end goal in mind, and push through any perceived fatigue.
5. Close-Grip Seated Cable Row
When I do cable rows, I make sure to really focus on pulling my hands outward and squeezing my shoulder blades back. I emphasize this by holding the contracted position at the top of the movement. This pause helps me get the most out of every rep in every set.
6. Prone Dumbbell Incline Bench Row
I’m a big fan of prone bench incline rows. It’s one movement where you really can’t cheat by using your body weight to help propel the weights. This means the entire lift will work your back—specifically, your lats and traps.
On the third set of this exercise, you’re going to do a triple dropset with some intraset stretching. After completing your 8-12 reps, you’ll hold the weights in the bottom position for 30 seconds. You’ll then drop the weight, grab a slightly lighter set of dumbbells, bust out 8-12 reps, stretch for 30 seconds, and then drop that weight once again before reaching for a lighter set of dumbbells.
For this last set, do as many reps as you can before holding that 30-second stretch. Finish strong!
7. Triset: Wide-Grip Lat Pull-Down, Straight-Bar Cable Pull-Down, Standing Low-Cable Row
We’re going to wrap up this workout with a triset. The rep range for each exercise is 10-15 reps, which is about as many as I can do, so I will be going to failure on each one. You should too. Don’t cheat yourself on your final set—go hard or go home.