Lats form a large fan-shaped muscle that runs along the back in a v-shape starting from the lower back all the way up to our upper arms, on the way there it also connects to the spine, pelvis, and lower ribs.

And it’s actually considered the largest muscle group of the back so lats are very important for our shoulder movements all of our pulling movements and for supporting good posture.

Strengthening and developing your lats won’t only help you lift more weight for all of your upper body exercises including even your push movements like the bench press, but developing your lats will also, benefit activities like swimming, shoveling, and throwing so, let’s jump right into the nine best exercises that you can do to build bigger stronger lats.

Meadow’s Row

landmine row
  • You probably don’t know about and that’s the meadows row this one you’ll set up just like a T-Bar row by sliding a barbell into a landmine or pinning it against the corner of two walls.
  • And then loading the other end with a weight stand in a staggered stance and position the front foot of your outside leg a few inches from the bar then bend down.
  • Grip the barbell with an overhand grip using your hand that’s closest to the barbell.
  • Squeeze your abs and lift your chest up to prevent your lower back from rounding.
  • Roll the bar by pulling your elbow back towards the ceiling and aim to meet your lower chest squeeze the top for a second before lowering back down slowly and repeating for reps.

Single Arm Kneeling Reverse Lat Pull Down

One arm lat pulldown

The lat pull down that you probably haven’t tried yet but it’s really good at hitting your lats so make sure you give this one a shot.

  • The single-arm kneeling reverse lat pulldown so to begin bring the pulley up to the top of the cable cross and attach a D-Handle then you’re going to grab the D-Handle with a pronated or an overhand grip.
  • From there you’re going to kneel down and get on your knees with your arm relaxed straight up above your head.
  • If you’re really tall and the stack of weights isn’t elevated after you already kneel down you’ll end up with slack in the cable so to fix this you can slide back a little further away from the cable cross to create space and get rid of the slack.
  • But ideally, you want to do your best to be as close as possible from there stick your chest out pack your shoulder blades nice and tight together, and squeeze your core then you’re going to pull the cable down by concentrating.
  • On leading with your elbow just like most of our other rowing movements as you’re doing this turn your hand over in the middle of the contraction so your hands gonna go from an overhand grip to an underhand grip and then complete the movement by squeezing your back and lat at the bottom before repeating for reps remember to do both sides for each set.

Standing Cable Pullover

cable lat pullover
  • Another great exercise that’s more for isolating the lats is the standing cable pullover now this won’t completely isolate your lats you will still be using muscles like your triceps and the back of your shoulders but it’ll isolate a lot more than something like a lat pull down.
  • So, here you’ll want to set the pulley on your cable cross nice and high attach a straight bar, and then take a grip a few inches wider than shoulder-width you want to keep your arms straight but not locked out so maintain a slight bend in your elbows and bend forward to get your hips out of the way so you can create enough space for a longer range of motion.
  • Before beginning take a step back so that the weight is hovering above the rest of the stack then while keeping your shoulder blades back and your arms straight bring the bar down aiming for the front of your hips then control it on the way back up and repeat for reps.
  • I like keeping my hands open throughout this entire exercise because it helps me take the tension out of my arms and forearms and instead concentrate more on my lats so you can try that but there’s also nothing wrong with closing your hands.

Lat Pull Down

Lat pull down

Next is one of the most common and effective lat exercises. The regular lat pull down the lat pulldown is a great alternative to develop your lats if you can’t perform regular pull-ups with your bodyweight yet and even if you can do pull-ups lat pull-downs are still a great addition to your back training routine.

  • To begin standing in front of the lap down the machine and grab a wide overhand grip you can wrap your thumbs around the bar underneath or over top whatever feels best for you.
  • Then take a seat and slide your thighs under the pads while your arms stay straight overhead arc your back and stick your chest out then pull the bar down towards your upper chest and as you pull down concentrate on pulling your elbows backward and down towards the ground to help activate your lats squeeze for a second at the bottom.
  • And slowly return the bar back to the top to repeat for reps keep in mind with lat pulldowns you can take all kinds of different grips like underhanded grips to close grips and you can even use the d handle for a close neutral grip.

Dumbbell Pullover

Dumbbell Pullover

Another great exercise is the pullover. The pullover is primarily known as a chest exercise but it’ll also definitely target your lats as well.

  • These can be done lying alongside a bench or lying across the bench the more weight you lift the more likely you will have to lay across the bench and drop your hips as a counterbalance.
  • So you’re going to stand a dumbbell up on the side of a flat bench sit perpendicular to the bench and slide down until your shoulder blades are on the bench and your head is slightly hanging off.
  • Lift up the dumbbell with one hand stacked on top of the other in a diamond shape raise it over your chest and bring it down over your head in an arc-like fashion as you’re doing this keep your elbows bent.
  • Then once you get to the bottom start bringing the dumbbell back to the starting point over your chest but stop about when the dumbbell is directly over your forehead by doing this you’ll keep the tension on your lats so from there just lower back down and repeat for reps within that limited range of motion.

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