T Nation

Can't Target Lats


hey guys
ive been weight lifting on and off for a few years but ive decided to take it up for serious this time, unfortunately from scratch. On back days, no matter what i do, i can not seem to target my lats enough to really feel any pump or burn in them or any real soreness the next day. my back day looks like this:
Lat pull down 4x8
closed grip pulldown 3x10
reverse grip pulldown 4x10
dumbell row 3x8
facepull 4x8

any tips?
thanks bros


Kayak rows.
Straight arm pushdowns

You could also try more rep variety.




embarassingly enough, not strong enough for pull ups yet.


yep, ^^^^what Badmo said....if you can't do them jump and hold yourself up and work the eccentric part till you can do them, If you can do them.....well do them weighted


definitely try straight arm pulldowns and really try to feel the lats contract. if you feel like your tris are doing the work you're doing it wrong.

also try to execute the movement as pulling your elbow back and not pulling whatever down, and treat whatever bicep contraction occurs as purely incidental. consider the rep a failure if you feel your bicep contract excessively (ie your bicep is the primary mover) until you can isolate the lats.

other tips to establish a better mind-muscle connection are to squeeze the lat (not the bicep) at the top of the movement, and to get a full stretch at the bottom. that should help you feel the muscle working.


if you have a training partner have them place a finger or two on each of your lats during pull downs or rows to make the mind-muscle connection a little easier. you can't focus on one muscle if you don't know what it feels like for that one muscle to contract.


If you can't pull up yet then work on that. Focus on getting stronger for the min.


Right now you need to focus on getting stronger. Don't worry too much about feeling the lats until you have some basic strenght and development.


you guys are right that OP shouldn't worry about isolation work until he gets some decent strength... but IMO part of strength comes from knowing the correct motor units to activate for a specific movement. you could get "strong" at pullups by incorporating enough hip drive and also eventually having jacked biceps but you'd still be doing a wrong pullup, not a strong pullup.

having a partner poke/touch a body part would help. i remember seeing a video of Coach Rip putting his hand on a guy's hips to emphasize driving the hips up in a squat.


one of the main virtues of pull-ups compared to chin-ups is that the grip makes it such that the biceps can't help too much.

try slow negative pull-ups. holding yourself up there and lowering yourself as slow as possible.

if you don't get severe DOMS in your lats... then... i dunno. gets me every time.


So you're 18 and you weigh 170?

I think your number one priority should be to get strong enough to do pullups. Start the workout by jumping up to a pullup bar and doing the negative as slowly as possible (3 sets of as many as you can), then do your other exercises. And direct bicep work. Focus on getting stronger until you've gained at least 20 pounds.


negatives and work from there.


thanks guys