T Nation

Building Lats

Just wanted to know what everyone recommends for building wide flared lats. I know that it somewhat has to do with your genetics and where your lats tie in at (high or low)…but would appreciate anyones feedback. Thanks.

I have always been a fan of heavy wide grip pulldowns, and widegrip chins. Keeping the shoulder blades pulled in tight together the whole time for better isolation.


Wide grip pull downs, chins and the like, though I train a bit more “untraditionally” by doing alot of Olympic lifting stuff, which has made my back alot thicker and wider.

I’ve always thought that mid-grip pull ups activate the lats more than wide grip. Also try heavy DB rows.

I have a really wide back. I think it’s pretty awesome for my height, but anyway, the best thing is not to do only one type of movement but many. For example, I love pull ups and chins but I work them using narrow, medium and wide grips. Soemtimes I work them on the same session. Also you can combine weighted and non weighted. You can superset them with other exercises such as barbell rows, seated rows, one arm rows, etc. The thing that I’d recommend the most is to never drop the chins or pull ups as I believe they’re the superior exercises for building a wide back. Also keep in mind that you can do them at the begining or end of your work out. If you want you can PM and I could help you with more tips.


The lats are just like any other muscle, they need veriety to grow. My best results come from doing heavy rowing one day a week and multiple types of pullups/chinups/pulldowns later in the week. Also DEADLIFT

Barbell Rows. Row your ass off.

the most productive part of the pullup is going from a completely relaxed hang to the highest position you can reach with out bending your arms. kinda like a reverse shrug, it’s difficult to explain. those with heavy weight should kill your lats, or if you’re as fat as I am, you should be limited to doing pullups that way anyway. deads and rows, etc.

1)As horizontal pulling, what I personally find effective is the barbell row to chest as described by CW for day 1, ABBH. I read that also a famous trainer of the past, Vince Gironda, recommended it. Personally I like to combine this exercise either with bench press or with V-bar dips.
2)As vertical pulling, pullups.
3)Deadlift, probably the most important exercise for BB.

Try getting a V grip from a Seated Row and put it over a chin bar, doing weighted chins this way, with palms facing each other hits the lats well.
Also try eccentric chins 10 seconds down.

I like Pull-ups to build wide lats. If you really want to activate the lats use a slightly narrow thumbless grip. And do your reps with a slow to medium tempo!

A slightly narrow thumbless grip you say? Yep…try it…you will be shocked!

My back used to be a weak point until I started doing numerous chins and adding some rows, deadlifts, snatches and cleans into my workout.

Now, I only do bodyweight exercises and Kbells, so my back workouts consist of various chins, Kbell rows, one-arm Kbell snatches and cleans.

All of the advice seems pretty good but one thing I would add as a good finishing movement is stiff arm pulldowns for a couple of high rep sets.

Acts as a great finisher after chins, deadlifts and whatever else you care to do.

Narrow, neutral grip chinups. Think about your lats - do they flare out more when you your arms are straight up in the air or when you stick your arms up and cross them? The closer the grip, the more I feel my lats.

Go all the way to the bottom, into a dead hang, even a brief pause.

Make sure your head is further forward than your upper arm at the bottom.

Alot of people do partial chins, but they shortchange themselves. This works great for me, along with other volume pulling motions.

Rows, Chins, Deadlifts. Lots of them. Give it time and it will come. You’re going to need to get away from the chest work to build a huge back.

I noticed a guy doing barbell rows on an incline, and I started incorporating that into my workout, it seems to have added more thickess to my lats.

I would have to agree with ZEB on this one. Anything wide grip thickens the center of my back and not my lats. When i slide my grip in some, my lats flare.
My favorite is close grip pull-downs.

Great advice so far fellas!
Here are a couple more you may want to throw in the mix:

Towel pull-ups

Arcing db row on flat bench

I like to start with chins, followed by really frickin’ heavy rows (BB/db/cable), then heavy deadlifts from the rack. finishing up with wide-grip pulldowns, alternating from the front to the back (2 X 15-20 reps), will give your lats a really awesome pump and help you stretch everything out after the heavy rows and deads.

Thanks for the feedback everyone, I will be certain to incorporate the information you have given into my workouts.