T Nation

Bigger Stronger Lats?


Doing 5/3/1 and seeing lots of results, but i want to add some width to my upper torso and im not getting results. Anybody have some tips on working your lats to get that V shape?


do lots of pullups and rows


Work you fucking back and shoulders, lose some fucking fat = V


pick better parents


It's going to take time doing heavy deadlifts, rows, chinups and losing fat as others have mentioned.


well the world would be a pretty good looking place if everyone followed this advise. but i was looking for something that personally someone has found to work very well for them, i do the aforesaid workouts intermixed with my workouts especially on deadlift day, but im sure that there are things out there that could help that i ever heard of.


Do the afformentioned 'properly'. I find lats respond well to higher volume + fatigue, with particular emphasis on holding peak contraction for atleast 2 seconds and a de-emphasised negative


thank you stuff like that helps


Myself and many other people have found that the back grows best with a solid mind muscle connection. Really squeeze your lats and feel them working. A lot of guys row/pulldown way too much weight and the exercise ends up being 75% momentum, 20% biceps and 5% lats.



I also found holding the contraction combined with a high volume helps build the lats. Try to get a good stretch at the top (i.e. pulldowns) or bottom (rows). I had a lot of trouble 'feeling' my lats work at first, but after doing high volume incorporating a stretch and hold I experienced lat soreness for the first time.

Also, I find using straps on heavier sets really helps me focus on the lats and not use quite as much arm.


Don't be afraid of straps. They help most people focus on back rather than grip [arms].

Steady tempo on virtually all lat exercises, more momentum/body english usually means more rhomboid/trap involvement. Nothing wrong with that, unless you want your lats to grow.

Higher volume.

Underhand rows, paused (at stretch) chinups (supinated grip), lat pulldowns (strict, and not wide grip), rack chins, strict pendlay rows.

Ditch the ego, work with whatever weights make your lats (and generally, ONLY your lats) hurt the most, with moderate rep ranges.


x2 on everything H4m says, especially wrist straps. I think wide grip pulldowns (and every other variation ofcoarse) are effective however.


what about grip strength and forearms lagging as a result?

maybe it's just me but when I ditched the straps and used weights I could actually hold, I finally established a decent MMC with my lats. of course, I'm sure this is different for the two of you and other guys bigger than me but I doubt OP falls into that category.


Using straps on all my back movements has definitely cost me some grip strength, but I think the benefits outweigh the negatives. I'd been using straps for so long I didn't even realize it until I forgot them on a shoulder day and discovered I could barely hang on to 315 long enough to complete a set of shrugs.

I can't remember where I read this, but when you squeeze really hard with your hands, your biceps automatically take over more of the load. It's a physiological thing we have no control over. With straps I can use my hands more like hooks and really focus on hitting my back.

You can always compensate with farmer's walks and wrist curls.


See i have read and heard that also, i got rid of the straps also, and yes some wieghts went down but it also made me want and need to strengthen my grip/forearm strength. but im willing to try anything since im pretty sure everyone has been doing this longer than me


It really comes down to this.. do you prefer having a stronger grip or better lats.


x2 true that


I suppose the trade offs are all aroung us.
I have never used straps for deadlifts, but wouldn't row, chin, clean, or shrug without them. I get the pratical reasons for considering grip strength, but no one every looked across the gym and said "Look at the grip on that guy". You only have to be strong enough to hold your best pull. If you think your grip is a weakness, work it directly. Once a week hang from the chin bar as long as you can.....just hang for time. Once you can hang for three minutes or more, I suspect your grip issue will be resolved. It may takes years to build a decent set of traps, improvements in grip strength are just a matter of exposure.


My pullup routine usually goes something like this

Wide grip weighted pullups 4-5 sets or 4-6 reps
shoulder grip weighted pulups 5-6 sets of 2-4 reps with heavier weight
Triangles 3-5 sets of 4-6 reps
close grip pullups until I can't pullup

Then lat rows and reverse pushups

make sure you go down all they way until your shoulders roll forward.


different strokes for different folks I suppose. I see a lot of unimpressive-looking guys at the gym using straps on weights that are clearly too heavy for them. I don't want to be that guy.

I do suppose that I'll start using straps when my working weights are too heavy for my grip.