T Nation

Lat Problems - Just Won't Respond

I’ve been training for over 2 years now and am having serious problems with working on my lats - no matter what exercise I try, I can’t seem to get my lats to respond. The result is that I have pretty good upper back, shoulders and arm definition but non-existent lats. I’ve tried all variety of exercises, both compound and isolations, but nothing seems to work.

I’ve noticed that unlike other body parts where I feel ‘the burn’ after exercising, I feel close to nothing while doing my back. I assume that my shoulders and arms are taking most of the load during my back routine, hence ignoring my lats completely. I was experiencing the same problem with my chest, but I made up for that using the Chest Specialization program.

The exercises that I’ve tried so far are:

Suppinated and wide grip Pull ups (first and foremost)
Dumbell rows
Bent-over rows
Seated rows
Pull down
Pull over

Any suggestions?

post pics.

and maybe post a video of you doing pullups or pulldowns.

This may or may not help, take it with a grain of salt:

When you grab onto the barbell or dumbell for any of the exercises, imagine that there is only a hook-like appendage below the elbow. And the only way to pull is to focus on moving your elbow backwards, with little to no emphasis on moving the “hook” intentionally.

Also, you could buy a pair of grizzly hooks and just use those for back exercises.

How many consecutive strict dead hang pullups can you do?

If the answer is less than 20, then focusing your lat work solely on doubling the number will blow up your lats. A GTG-style approach is probably the best way to get that number up quickly.

If you can already knock out 25 strict pullups and you have little lats, I’d say you’re just shit out of luck, sorry.

Have you tried not weighing 170lbs?

LOl at mr popular…

how much did you weigh 2 years ago?
how much do you weigh now?

If you want bigger lats, gain weight. The latissimus dorsi are actually pretty small muscles.

Start eating.

Try doing straight arm pulldowns on a cable tower. My biceps used to do most of the work in lat pulldowns/pullups and switching in straight arm pulldowns worked great.

[quote]PozzSka wrote:

If you want bigger lats, gain weight. The latissimus dorsi are actually pretty small muscles.

Start eating.[/quote]

While I agree with your recommendation of “gain weight”, the lats arent “pretty small” muscles.

While doing pulldowns, try a thumbs over grip and try to keep yourself seated near perfectly straight up. As you pull down, imagine your lats pulling the weight and treat the movement as two separate components:

  1. Moving/slightly rolling shoulders back, 2.pulling bar down to just above chest. Focus on each rep and breathe correctly. Use your 8RM+ weight or more the first few times and soon you will feel your lats.

I had trouble feeling my lats after back workouts until I spent a couple of weeks focusing on doing pulldowns the way described above with full focus.

How many chin-ups can you do? What I did was sets of three with as much added weight as possible, right after I was done with a set I would move to the lat pulldown machine and do a set of 8-12 using the handle you use with the seated row. My lats woulf be on fire.

You could always hold the bar of what ever doing very lightly instead of griping it tight so the the bicep does minimal work and it might help get the mind muscle connection with the lats. You might have to down the wieght but it might work

how much weight are you using on your lat exercises?

[quote]Josh Rider wrote:
While doing pulldowns, try a thumbs over grip and try to keep yourself seated near perfectly straight up. As you pull down, imagine your lats pulling the weight and treat the movement as two separate components:

  1. Moving/slightly rolling shoulders back, 2.pulling bar down to just above chest. Focus on each rep and breathe correctly. Use your 8RM+ weight or more the first few times and soon you will feel your lats.

I had trouble feeling my lats after back workouts until I spent a couple of weeks focusing on doing pulldowns the way described above with full focus.[/quote]

Good advice, this has worked for me in my experience.

Also, I do this using the close grip bar.

if your weighing 170 which using my awful maths is roughly 11.5 stone. depending on your height thats not very big and i wouldnt worry 2 much about your lats atm. id just worry about lifting big, eating bigger and sleeping.

I think deadlifts blow up the lats too. Am I wrong here? How much do you dead?

I concur; add Deads and t-bars and drop the rest [except maybe the chins] for awhile

Just a though, but I was reading off of pavel’s site that far too many people think that wide grip pullups are superior to hitting the lats. In reality shoulder width (which is pretty narrow), allows for more ROM (range of motion) which works more of the muscle, stressing the lats more. Anyways, I didn’t read this thread. Thought I would this throw this information out though.

take your current close grip dead hang chin max, and keep the same reps and add 45 pounds, and your lats WILL be a lot bigger. I find pullups build my upper back and forearms more, but nothing crushes the lats like heavy chins.

wide grip chins suck for lats compared to heavy chins. they mostly help with the teres major.