T Nation

Lat Activation


so the problem is every time i do some sort pull up/chin up i never feel anything working in m lats. even the day after my lats are never sore always somewhere like rhombiods or teres major. ive even tried doing pull ups thumbless to involve arms abit less but still :/...and when ever ive tried exercises such as sledgehammer slams my lats where screaming like nobody's bussines....why do you think i cannot feel my lats working during pull ups but exercises such as pull overs or slams hit the lats?


the havy usage of your arms in the movements. you should do some form of "balistic" lat training... something like super heavy pullups or pulldowns with body language and assistance. Yeah... I know, shoot me now but it might just be the option. sometimes perfect form is not the answer... on the other hand have you tried any pre-exhaust training or supersets for those movements? something lile straight arm pulldowns then pulldowns or band pulldowns or some slams then some resisted movements.

The point I am making is mix it up and really see what has your lats fired up. dont do them all in one session do one every time you work lats so you know exactly what is working for you.

Also how about doing some activation work like pull aparts or YTLs, scapula retraction and what not. this might help too. Finally - you could try fat gripz (or fat bars) and straps. Dave tate recommends this to take the arms out of movements more.


Kroc rows (with a good stretch, heavy weight and high reps. And straps)
(Barbell rows
Cable rows)
Experiment with grip width, supinated/pronated, pause at the bottom/top and so on

Some of that should work. How much weight are you using on chins?


With most people doing chins/pull ups/pulldowns, they pull the bar all the way down, separating their elbows, and essentially transferring the stress to their mid back and less to their lats (especially when they lean back excessively). Try focusing on remaining upright with your torso, only pulling until your hands align with your face, an keeping your elbows as close together as you can all through the ROM (Parallel grips and V-Handles work very well for this). I guarantee your lats will be nice n' toasty.



Neutral grip pulldowns and supinated close grip pulldowns.

Pre-exhaust with an isolation exercise such as HS pullover or straight arm pulldowns with a 45degree hip angle.

Proper form is key to devloping the mind muscle connection in the lats. Once that is established the form can be loosened up.

100% +1 to Stu's advice


I find cobra lat pulldowns isolate my lats so that I can really feel it and I get a good stretch out of the movement also. Use higher reps and a good pause at contraction and you should have no problem feeling your lats afterwards... For what it's worth. I'm no expert.


Close-grip chins are good, but the best I think is close-neutral grip pull-ups. At least it has been for me, the stretch and contraction I get on those are great and it limits the biceps a bit.


Also, you can foam roll the lats before lifting, that's helped a lot of people feel their lats better.


Like PB Andy said, foam rolling them before helps. I believe Waylander does this.


10x guys...i will try to superset as mentioned above and as well try to buy a v-handle coz i train at home...


supine grip chins or pull-down are great for the lats. you will feel them if you do them correctly. do not stretch your hands all the way out to grasp the bar. rather move your whole body towards the bar with a slight contraction already in your lats. let me know if that makes sense.


Some great advice here. I had problems with the mind muscle connection with lats for a long time. What helped me was doing heavy cheat dumbbell rows with straps (Kroc rows).

I know it may seem obvious but don't pull too quickly on the concentric portion of the chin (on the way up.) Also overhand grip seem to work the lats more too.


Possibly try mini reps of chinups. Bascially just shrugging
your body up slightly.

The straight arm pull downs are incredible for feeling the lats. But I already had a mind muscle connection before i tried them.

I find the bottom portion of chest supported rows with a slighly challenging will help.
But I find the full movement is more midback, at least that's how it feels.


a "false" grip will help a lot


For the record I never felt Kroc rows in my lats too much... it gave a good stretch, but the contraction seemed to hit the rhomboids/rear delt/traps better.

A good way to hit the lats by DB rows is to do them the way Thib shows them in I,BB. Let the DB hang like normal in a neutral grip, but as you row, supinate your hand. Control this movement, and you should feel it in your lats big time.


Would you recommend behind-neck pulldowns?


so,yesterday i tried some plate pull overs....and today basically my triceps long head feels sore and no lat....:confused:


Anytime I tried that in the past (seriously in the past, b/c I'm not a fan of the movement), it always felt like much more of a mid back contraction to me. Eventually I started doing scapular retractions in the cable station to hit my midback, and workaround my naturally strong arms instead. A lot of being able to correctly target your lats will revolve around your torso angle, and position of your elbows.

Yes, grip and hand spacing will have an effect on the stretch you can get at the to portion of the ROM, but try to seriously step outside of yourself when warming up on a movement and ask "where do I feel this working?"



Shorten your ROM so that you keep tension on the lats, and don't worry so much about getting the plate above your head (no need for it anyway). OR, use a pullover machine but try to move the bar with your elbows instead of squeezing your hands tightly around it (which will make you contract your arms on the motion), or a rope pressdown station with your body angled forward (what I prefer). It doesn't have to be an excessively large ROM to keep stress on the muscle.



when you do heavy rowing exercise, to your shoulder blades stick out? and do your shoulders lift up a lot? it could be a weakness in the serratus which holds your shoulder blades in. mine used to be so weak that I would feel my triceps on rowing movements


To the OP you can do the same thing with a rubber band or some bungee cord wrapped around a chinning bar or something high.
I try to do it very slowly and imagine you are moving slowly with your lats.
your chest. You should feel your lats straight aways .

You could try a bull worker too or crushing something between your palms (actually try just
palm on palm).

I credit the krok rows with strengthening the lat not so much feeling them working.
After a cycle of krok rows I could feel the lats on other exercises.

I believe just strengtheing your lats will help a lot too.