The lats are a common weak point for most bodybuilders for 2 main reasons:
1) Improper form that causes the biceps, upper back and rear shoulders to take on most of the load.
2) Unlike most of the other muscle groups of the body, you can't actually see your lats as you're training them. This can sometimes make it difficult to develop a strong mind-muscle connection.
Today I'm going to share 4 simple but highly effective back training tips that you can start using right away to increase lat stimulation and growth.
These tips can be applied to both of the primary lat exercises you'll be performing in the gym: pullups/pulldowns and rows.
Big lats will go a long way in enhancing your upper body width and thickness (while creating the illusion of a smaller waist) so make sure to pay close attention here...
Back Training Tip #1
Retract your shoulder blades.
Every lat movement should start off with the shoulder blades slightly pinched together. This will increase lat activation throughout the exercise.
Back Training Tip #2
Arch your lower back.
Keep a small arch in your lower back and puff out your chest. Again, this will decrease the involvement of surrounding muscles and shift the stress onto the lat muscles.
Back Training Tip #3
Pull through your elbows.
Imagine that your forearms/wrists/hands are simply "hooks" that are attaching you to the weight. Now, focus on moving the weight by pulling with your elbows only.
When you pull through your hands and forearms, you end up recruiting your biceps to a huge degree. This is one of the biggest lat training mistakes that 90% of lifters make.
Have you ever noticed after a set of pull ups or pulldowns that you end up with a huge pump in your biceps? This is because they're the ones actually doing most of the work, while your lats are receiving minimal stimulation.
** One other tip you can employ to limit bicep involvement even further and build big lats is to use a set of lifting straps for all of your back exercises.
These help to almost completely eliminate your grip from the equation, allowing you to focus 100% on the lats throughout the exercise.
Back Training Tip #4
Pull the weight at an angle rather than straight up and down.
When you pull the bar, cable or dumbbell straight up and down, you end up mostly hitting your upper back and rear shoulders.
To specifically target the lats, make sure to do the following:
For rowing movements: Keep your torso a bit more upright (around 45 degrees) and pull the bar at an angle toward your waist and not your stomach.
For pullups/pulldowns: Lean back and pull the bar into your upper chest.
There you have it: 4 simple tweaks that you can master in just a few minutes to instantly increase lat stimulation, build big lats and get a thicker, wider upper body as a result.
Start applying these tips on your very next back workout and feel the difference for yourself.
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