Articles

The Secret to Building Bigger Lats

Written by Keith Hansen

September 14, 2016

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I talk to people all the time that can't build a big back. They simply can't understand why their lats won't grow despite all of the wide-grip pull-ups they do. Sure, their biceps are growing, but they want a V-Taper.

I mean, the muscle magazine said the best way to build lats is with wide-grip pull-ups.

What gives?

I'm going to share some knowledge I learned while training clients at the Tallahassee Gold's. This tip changed the way I approach all back exercises.

This article is going to tell you how to build wings.

Every upper pulling exercise should be broken into two parts: shoulders & arms

The most important thing a novice weightlifter can learn is the importance of setting their shoulders. Some people call it packing the shoulder. Others call it "proud chest". Whatever you call it this is an important skill in every single exercise you do.

Setting the shoulder is simply fully engaging the lat muscle to provide stability and strength to the shoulder joint. This can(and should) be done from any arm positioning and here are a few pictures to show you what it looks like in different positions.

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This setting of the shoulders is what actually builds big, strong lats

Each of those pictures shows the first with lats relaxed and the second with lats engaged.

Every rep of pulling exercises should begin with the lats going from relaxed to engaged and end with the lats relaxing between each rep.

In every other exercise your lats should stay engaged throughout the entire movement. This goes for squats, deadlifts, bench presses, tricep pushdowns, romanian deadlifts, etc, so back exercises are your chance to build the muscles responsible for setting the shoulder(namely the lats).

The second part of pulling exercises is the arms. I'll wager for most of you this is the only part of your rows and pull-downs. If you only set the shoulders once during your pulling movements you now know the reason your lats won't grow.

That's it. There's the secret. You might have to lower the weights while reprogramming your pulls, but I promise it's worth it.

Your lats will thank you.

Your deadlifts will thank you.

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