What are the best exercises for the lats?

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As far as back training goes, the main problem that people have with training their backs, is simply the fact that they can’t see their backs as they train, and taking progress pictures is also a real pain in the butt, so measuring where your back strengths and weaknesses may lie is much easier said than done.

As far as back muscles go, your lats are very simple to train when you have the right exercises in place, and as they’re so large, they can make a huge difference to your overall back development.

Here’s a look at what the lats are, and some of the best lat exercises for them.

What are your lats?

Your lats, or Latissimi Dorsi, are located middle-lower part of your back, on both sides, with the word literally translating to ‘broadest muscle of the back’ in Latin. Partly covered by the trapezius muscle, the your lats can be worked and developed very easily, with many exercises working both the upper, and the lower lat muscle.

Here are some popular lat exercises.

Wide-grip lat pull-downs

Virtually all gyms have a lat pull-down machine, and wide-grip lat pull-downs are very popular exercises for working the upper lats.

Close-grip pull-downs

These exercises can be done using a wide bar, or using a V-handle. Close grip pull-downs help to isolate the middle parts of the lat muscles.

V-Bar pull ups

To perform this version of a pull up, you use a V-Bar which allows you to hit the upper and lower lats simultaneously.

Pull ups

Standard pull ups are very easy to do providing you can handle your own bodyweight, and they are considered great for packing mass onto the lats. You can even perform chin ups using an underhand grip, though this will also incorporate the biceps.

Seated rows

Perform seated rows using a V-Bar and really focus on squeezing the lats during the positive part of the exercise. By adjusting your grip slightly, you can even target your middle back in the process.

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