Big lats do two things: they support your spine during squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, and they make you look bigger in sweaters.
Many lifters, on the other hand, have difficulty engaging their lats because we don’t use them much in our regular tasks – it takes deliberate effort.
Many people cut the range of motion of their upper-body pulling exercises short, leaving gains on the table. This leaves the lower lats in particular lacking in strength and growth.
The five best lower lat exercises for overall back development, strength, and aesthetics are listed below.
We outline tried-and-true movements like lat pulldowns, as well as more advanced variations like underhanded bent over rows, for you to try.
Pulling Exercises For Building Muscles
8 Best Cable Back Exercises for Back Strength & Hypertrophy
Are push-ups beneficial to the lats?
The latissimus dorsi, or lats, also get a good workout.
Trunk rotation, lateral flexion, spine extension, and respiration are all controlled by these large, flat muscles.
You can also adduct, rotate, and extend your arms with these.
Pushups are an excellent approach to strengthen your lats and produce a symmetrical physique.
What Is Lats?
The lats are the largest and thinnest muscle in the human body, covering practically all back muscles in the posterior torso except the trapezius.
The lower lats, also known as the thoracolumbar fascia, originate from the scapula and spinous processes of the vertebrae of the thoracic spine all the way down to the lumbar spine.
They attach to the humerus (upper arm bone), which is responsible for a large number of shoulder and arm movements.
The spine, pelvis, ribs, scapula, and humerus are among the five sites where the lats connect.
Your lat muscle, as one of the largest muscles in your upper body, are involved in a variety of upper-body activities.
These motions include the following:
- Chin-ups, pull up, and lat pulldowns are all vertical pulling workouts for muscle activation.
- Horizontal pulling workouts include bent-over rows and other row variations.
- Straight-arm pulldowns and pullovers are shoulder extension and for shoulder blade exercises.
All of these lat exercise require shoulder adduction, extension, and internal rotation, all of which the lats play a key role in.
The lats help you maintain excellent posture by attaching to your humerus (arm) and spine.
Because of either too much sitting or overdevelopment of the chest muscles, rounded shoulders occur from weak and strained lats.
More pulling exercises can help you create stronger lats, which will help you pull your shoulders down and back into better posture and reduce body fat.
The Advantages of Working Out Your Lats
Almost every lifter that graces the gym wishes for a V-shaped torso and big shoulders.
To achieve this look, you’ll need to train your lats hard and heavy, as well as eat a healthy diet to slim down your waistline and for wide upper lats.
Even if they are not actively exercised, the lats play an important part in the big three (bench press, squat, and deadlift).
The lats are engaged (by bringing the barbell down into your upper back) while squatting, which keeps you upright and prevents your squat from turning into a good morning.
Strong and engaged lats help you maintain a neutral spine while deadlifting by keeping the bar close to you as you pull.
The further away the bar is during the pull, the more likely you are to circle your spine.
Engaged lats give a sturdy basis to press from and aid in an efficient pressing path during the bench press. In addition, the lats help carry force from your leg drive to your chest.
Warming Up Your Lats Before Working Out
Because the lats like upper lat and lower lat are a larger muscle, they need to be warmed up and activated before doing any upper or lower body exercise.
Due to sitting with rounded shoulders or standing in a military stance, the lats are frequently painful or tight.
Both will have an impact on shoulder joint mobility.
Foam rolling the upper and lower back bodyweight exercise increases blood flow to the area, which helps to relieve pain, stiffness, avoid lower back pain and improve mobility.
Warming up this area by doing 10-15 gentle rolls over it, stopping, and concentrating on uncomfortable spots is a fantastic approach to do so.
Light work sets of 12-15 reps of each of the five exercises described are effective for activation.
You can also incorporate two sets of six reps of the dead bug with pullover, which is an excellent move for activating your lats and challenging your core muscles.
Best Exercise for Lower Lats That Work
- Lat Pulldown with a Wide Grip
- Rowing Dumbbells to the Hips
- Pulldown with straight arms
- Bent Over Row
1. Lat Pulldown with a Wide Grip
In comparison to the classic close grip form, reverse grip and underhand grip the wide grip lat pulldown focuses more on the outside and lower lats.
Because there is less elbow flexio, the wider grip variation lessens the work of the biceps and forearms, requiring more of your lats to pull the weight down.
The wide grip also allows you to change your arm angle such that your elbows are dragged from high and out to close and in, causing your low lats to contract.
The Wide Grip Lat Pulldown has a lot of advantages.
Due to the lower effort on the biceps and forearms, the muscle tension on the lats is raised, resulting in greater strength and hypertrophy improvements.
The width of your back and shoulders is increased.
How to Perform a Lat Pulldown with a Wide Grip
- Fit the thighs snugly beneath the pad as you face the lat pulldown machine.
- Grab a deep breath in and take a broad overhand grip on the bar.
- Keep your grasp tight and slightly bend your torso back.
- Exhale as you pull the bar towards your nipple line on your chest while maintaining your core firm.
- Repeat, pausing for a second before gently returning to the beginning position.
2. Rowing Dumbbells to the Hips
Single-arm rows are an excellent way to even out strength imbalances between sides while also strengthening the upper back.
It’s an excellent lower lat builder with a little tweaking. Instead of rowing up, think about pulling back when you begin the exercise, as this will result in an arc-like range of motion, with the weight starting below your shoulder and ending at your hip.
This allows you to feel the lower lats contract and work more clearly.
The Hips Benefits of the Dumbbell Row
The lower lats were put under increased muscle tension as a result of the wider range of motion.
The technique error of shrugging the upper traps when completing single-arm rows is reduced by rowing towards the hips.
It aids in the reduction of strength imbalances on both sides.
Dumbbell Row to Hips: How to Do It
- Take a huge step back with the opposing leg while supporting your non-working hand on a bench or dumbbell rack.
- Row the dumbbell to the outside of your hip while keeping your shoulders down and chest high with a tight grasp on the inner of your front foot.
- Repeat for reps, pausing for a second before slowly lowering down to the starting position.
3. Seated Band Row
Sitting rows with bands help to maintain continual lat tension and to put your body in an ideal position without the limits (think bar route) that dumbbells and barbells can impose.
Keep your shoulders externally rotated and scapular depressed when completing seated band rows, and focus on engaging your lats rather than your traps.
Your joints will also be less prone to injury because you won’t be lifting weights.
The Advantages of Seated Row
Maintain consistent tension in your lower lats without putting your joints under unnecessary strain.
The band’s increasing resistance improves your lockout strength.
The Seated Band Row: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Hold one end of a resistance band in each hand while you loop it around the center of your feet.
- Maintain a straight back while completely extending your arms and rowing your elbows till they pass your torso.
- Keep your elbows tucked down at your sides to better target the lower lats.
4. Lat Pulldown with Straight Arms
The principle is the same whether you use a cable machine or a resistance band for this exercise.
Grab either tool with your arms straight (as the name suggests), then flex your lats to pull your arms down to your sides. If you have difficulties ‘feeling’ your lats during any pulling action, the straight arm lat pulldown is a terrific exercise for you.
It’s also a great deadlift auxiliary exercise.
Straight Arm Lat Pulldown Advantages
This exercise will help you feel your lats again if you’re having difficulties feeling them.
Because the biceps aren’t involved, the lats are under constant tension.
If you suffer shoulder or elbow pain, this is a good choice.
The Straight Arm Lat Pulldown: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Choose your preferred attachment (straight bar, handles, or rope) and equipment (bands or cable machine).
- Take a step back and lean your chest forward slightly, keeping your hand above shoulder height as you grip the attachment.
- Then pull till you reach your hips and pause for a second, keeping your arms straight.
- Return to the starting position.
5. Bent Over Row
The lats are trained to a considerable extent in most pulling activities.
To better target the lower lats, make a small adjustment to your technique here and there.
The move in hand position to underhanded during the bent over row, for example, serves to train the lower lats by increasing scapular depression.
It also places a greater emphasis on the biceps.
You didn’t need an excuse, did you?
The Underhanded Bent Over Row’s Advantages
Upper back, lower lats, biceps, and erector spinae gain strength and mass.
Good hip hinge mechanics are reinforced, which will have a direct impact on your deadlift.
A stronger muscular support system aids in the improvement of posture.
The Underhanded Bent Over Row: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Grab a heavy barbell with an underhanded grip that’s slightly broader than shoulder width.
- Row the barbell until it touches your stomach, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Throughout the exercise, your elbows should be inclined at roughly 45 degrees.
- Hold for a beat at the top of the row, then slowly decrease the weight back down.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Dumbbell lat exercises at home can include the following:
Standing Dumbbell Rows
Rows from a seated or standing position
Pull-ups and chin-ups are two excellent exercises that work the same muscles. In general, chin ups train your biceps and chest more, and they’re also somewhat more beneficial for the upper back, although pull ups are better for your back’s largest muscle, the lats!
Exercises that require pulling
Calves, hamstrings, glutes, erectors, lats, biceps, and posterior shoulder and traps are all included.
Deadlifts, rows, hip exercises, pull-ups, shrugs, bent-over rises, and other back and hip workouts are all common.