Training Lats: A Few Fine Points

Lats are one of the most important muscle groups when it comes to aesthetics. They can make you appear much bigger than you are. The wider your lats are, the bigger you look.

In this post we will present you the most important points you need to know in order to develop bigger and stronger lats.


1.Training lats is not like training biceps

That latissimus dorsi is the biggest muscle in the upper body. The movements that effectively train it are hard and take a lot out of you. It’s not as fun as training your arms and that’s why there are so many people with puny backs and big biceps. Doing biceps curls and other arm exercises is a lot easier on your CNS than pull-ups, deadlifts, barbell rows…etc.

On top of everything you can’t see your lats while you are training them and this discourages people even more. If you persevere, however, the rewards are much bigger than having a good set of arms for the club. Big arms are often, albeit not always, the sign of the narcissist who only trains to cover his hurt ego and impress strangers. Big lats are a sign that you are a serious lifter who is dedicated to his craft.

2. Building the mind muscle connection is the hardest thing

While the exercises you need to do for your lats are often very hard, the hardest of all is to do them correctly and build a mind muscle connection with your lats. Most people have a really hard time accomplishing that. As a result they never get big lats. In order to build that mind muscle connection we recommend you to consult this article.

3.That lats are hard to overtrain but…

The lats are almost impossible to overtrain. They are a big muscle group that recovers fast. However, that does not mean that you can train them non-stop. The lats apply force through your arms which are built of small joints – if you overdo your back exercises, the first to report problems would be your elbows, shoulders and wrists. That’s why you need to be careful when doing back specialization routines.

If you are a suffering from elbow tendonitis, consult this post.

4.Quality over quantity will take you a long way

People are taught to only think in numbers. The more money you have, the better. It’s like it almost doesn’t matter what the source is as long as there are more and more coins. This is wrong and after a certain point quality is way more important than quantity. For example, you may have a lot of money doing a meaningless job that you hate, but you would be much happier making less money doing real world work that drives you from the inside. It’s the same with training your lats, believe it or not.

Never sacrifice form (quality) for quantity. In order to really train your lats you need to do all exercises properly. Don’t follow the example of people like Branch Warren who swing the weight and use as much body language as possible. This is just a trick for the camera meant to attract more people and sell more supplements and what not. People don’t train like that when the cameras are off.

5.You can’t develop solid lower lats, if you don’t have low insertions

No matter what kind of exercises you do, you can’t develop solid lower lats unless you have low insertions. This a genetic factor and you have no control over it. For information on this topic you can consult this post.

6.Overdeveloped lats can cause shoulder problems

Just like overdeveloped pecs big lats can cause shoulder imbalances. In order to avoid that problem you need to work your upper back just as much as your lats. Of course, many of the exercises you are already doing for your lats are covering that region also, but sometimes you may need to throw in a few specific movements in order to promote shoulder health.

7.Close grips works your lats more than wide

Contrary to popular belief close grip exercises such as pull-ups, chin-ups and lat pulldowns work the lats much more than wide grip movements. The reason is that the close grip actually stretches the lats more and increases the range of motion. For more information consult this post.

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