Training Lats – A Few Fine Points

| August 11, 2014 by Truth Seeker |

In this post, I will present you a few important points that you need to know in order to develop bigger and stronger lats that will elevate your aesthetics to the next level.

1.Training the lats is not like training the biceps.

The latissimus dorsi is the biggest muscle in the upper body. The movements that train it effectively are hard and take a lot out of you. Biceps curls and other arm exercises are easier on your CNS than pull-ups, deadlifts, barbell rows…etc.

At the end of the day, big lats are a sign that you are a serious lifter dedicated to the craft.


2. Building a mind-muscle connection with your lats takes time.

Developing a mind-muscle connection with your lats is not that hard, but the process requires practice.

Most people have a really hard time signing a contract for cooperation with their lats. As a result, they never get big lats. If you want to know more about this topic, consult this article.

3.The lats are hard to overtrain, but it’s not impossible.

The lats are a big, tough muscle group that recovers relatively fast. However, that does not mean that you can train them non-stop. If you do two many back exercises, your wrists, elbows, shoulders and armpits may report signs of overtraining.

4.Quality over quantity will take you a long way.

Never sacrifice form (quality) for quantity (reps). 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. Most 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.

If your lats don’t insert low, you will never have “lower lats” regardless of the exercises you are doing. This a genetic factor that you don’t control. For more information, consult this post.

6.Overdeveloped lats can cause shoulder problems.

Just like overdeveloped pecs, big lats can cause shoulder imbalances too. To avoid that problem, you need to work on your upper back too.

7. Close grip pull-ups work your lats harder than wide grip pull-ups.

Contrary to popular belief, close grip pulling exercises (e.g., pull-ups, lat pull-down) work the lats more than the wide grip versions. The close grip simply stretches the lats further and increases the range of motion.

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One comment

  1. msmith

    With all the other muscles capable of doing the lats’ job, they’re not really possible to train “directly”. Hence why it feels like you can’t overtrain them — something else would get a lot more overtrained in the process before that happens!

    This is also the reason why you keep hearing about that whole “mind-muscle” connection mumbo-jumbo when it comes to training lats. If you’re lifting heavy enough chances are you’ll already be engaging them quite well ; ) without having to specifically “think about or focus” on them (or probably even get distracted trying to “focus” on them!)

    That said, there is a flip-side to that as well — no offense to those non-steriod-easy-gaining seekers of big lats, but now you kind of have to ask yourself, how “functional” would those “big lats” be and how much extra “conditioning” you’d need around those other non-lat muscles (that take over for the lats) to make something like big lats actually “functional”.

    It’s not to say that pullups can’t be fun to do — but let’s not pretend our lats are really getting a big workout out of them. You’d probably feel them a lot more on a heavy deadlift when trying to keep the bar really close to yourself, than on any “sets of pullups”. If you trained your lats hard, you’d feel them like legs after a hard leg day!

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