Most gym-goers lack in their back training regimen, because they focus on building the muscles which they can see in the mirror. For some, back workouts are just plain boring. However training the back muscles or the lats as they are called is crucial to developing that v-shape which you aim for.
If you are looking to build a pair of killer lats with a wide back, here are a few exercises that will help you to pack on more muscle mass on your back.
Lat Pull-downs (Straight arm)
This exercise is the key to building bigger lats and it isolates the lat muscle to move the upper arm up and down.
This movement is performed on a cable pull-down machine. Grasp the inverted-V shaped handle and stand in a slight arched position. Maintain a bend in your elbows but do not attempt to alter the angle of your torso. The shoulder joints are responsible for this range of motion. When you reach the top of the movement, you should be able to experience a severe stretch in your back muscles; at the bottom of the movement, use your chest to push through. Always make sure to utilize your lats in moving the weight.
You can combine this exercise with the cable row which will be discussed shortly. This procedure is called supersetting which increases the blood to flow to the muscles, causing the muscle fibers to grow.
Cable Rows (Seated)
Take a seated position on a cable row machine and grasp the handle firmly. Adjust the weight and begin by pulling the handle towards your body, using your elbows for the job and not the lower back. Make sure that you do not touch the handle to your body; instead maintain some distance between the handle and your midsection to stretch the lats. When you are going forward, allow your lats to stretch fully and when pulling the weight back, keep your body at a 90 degree angle.
Also ensure that your chest is kept high at all times, otherwise you will be working out your biceps more. As mentioned earlier, this exercise can be supersetted with lat pull-downs to increase the blood flow to the lats.
Reverse Grip Pull-downs
This back busting move will have your lats growing in size. Although similar in movement to the lat pull-down, the reverse grip implemented in this movement permits you to pull down your elbows because you are in a natural angle, causing the maximum amount of contraction in your lats while at the top of the movement you will be able to fully stretch your lats.
For the grip width, it is best to place your hands on the bar in line with your shoulders to reduce the strain on your wrists and prevent the risk of an injury. Always remember to keep your chest high throughout the exercise.
Barbell Rows (Reverse Grip)
The benefit of doing a row with a reverse grip is that it allows the best natural position and the maximum amount of lat muscle contraction. Performing a row with an overhand grip will sometimes cause your elbows to shift away from your body.
Grasp a barbell firmly with a reverse grip, keeping your head in line with your spine and your body over the bar. Don’t look upwards because you want your spine to be straight. Perform the move by lifting the barbell over your legs and towards your bellybutton ensuring that it stays near your thighs. Some people tend to move their torso up high as they row but this is not required; it happens mostly because of the heavy weight. You should make sure that your back angle does not vary.
Quite often, a few strength trainers get carried away and add too much weight to the barbell. Adding extra weight will only cause you to work out other muscle groups in your body whereas the aim of this exercise is to focus on your back. Additionally lifting a very heavy weight can result in serious injury to your back. Instead, use a weight that feels comfortable and allows you to feel the pull and contraction in your lats.