If your back has always been your weakest body part, fret not! Try out these effective back-busting exercises and bring the sexy to your back in no time!
Straight Arm Lat Pull Down
This has to be our favourite lat exercise of all time. If you want wide and protruding lats, make sure to never skip this exercise the next time you hit the gym for your back day. The straight arm lat pulldown isolates and attacks your lat muscles exclusively by bringing your upper arm bone, otherwise known as the humerus, down and all the way to the back. This movement captures the very essence of the lat muscle, leaving it no choice but to grow in width and size.
To attempt the straight arm lat pull down, first work your way to the cable machine and attach a short bar or a mini EZ curl bar. Grab the ends of the bar with both hands to form an overhand grip. Keep your elbows slightly bent and maintain a straight back as you lean forward into the starting position. Next, keeping your torso angle intact and elbows slightly bent, pull the cable bar down right to your hip area and thrust your chest outward. The, slowly release the cable bar in a controlled manner all the way back to the top. You should feel a distinct stretch in your lats at the peak of the movement.
If you think you are done at this point, you may want to wipe that smirk off your face, homeboy, as we are pairing the straight arm lat pulldown with the low cable row in a superset drill that is sure to burn your lats and pump a good amount of blood into the muscles. The science behind supersets is not to knock the living daylights out of you, but to capitalise on the increase in blood volume that is reaching your muscles. The more blood there is in the muscles, the harder the squeeze will be and the sicker your pump will feel because your muscles are so full at this point in time.
So, instead of having some small pizza talk with your friends after you completed the first set of this exercise, hop on to the cable row machine to immediately begin your next superset exercise to continue pumping your lats and torching those fats.
Seated Cable Row
Your lat muscles should still be stinging from the set of straight arm lat pull down that you have just finished, but this is no time to stop. The seated low cable row allows your lats to get the full extended stretch as you release the weights forward. This particular movement allows your lat muscles to develop faster and reward you with the mile-wide protruding lats.
Place your feet on the leg stand, grab the close-grip V-bar with both hands and sit upright. Then, proceed to pull the bar all the way back beyond a 90-degree angle and squeeze at the very end before releasing it back slowly to the starting position. Remember to keep your back straight and chest out high at all times during the entire rowing movement.
Reverse Grip Lat Pull Down
Another one of our personal favourites, the reverse grip pulldown is highly effective in bringing out those sexy lats when executed correctly. This exercise is as simple and straightforward as it gets. Sit with an upright posture and reach out for the bar. Grab hold of the bar with an underhand or reverse grip and start pulling the weighted bar towards your upper chest. Executing this movement with a reverse grip is easier than a standard overhand grip as your elbows and arms are working at a natural angle. Make sure you pull the bar all the way down and squeeze through at the end to force your lats to go into a full, deep contraction. Release the bar slowly in a controlled manner and follow your head through your arms as you reach the top of the rep into the initial starting position — this will allow you to stretch to your fullest and, at the same time, elongate your lats.
The grip width for this exercise has always been a debate but the truth of the matter is, it all boils down to personal preference. Personally, I like to place my hands about shoulder-width apart as it becomes a straight pull with that grip and I find that it hits my lats the best this way. Furthermore, a standard grip that I employ places a lesser strain on the wrist as compared to a slightly wider grip. Having said that, there are a couple of other members who prefer the wider grip width and they still end up with beautiful-looking lats.
So, what exactly do we learn from this? That the placement of your grip isn’t really a huge deal for this exercise, but your form is. It is vital for you to pull your elbows down hard and squeeze at the back while keeping your back upright and chest thrust out.