T Nation

Lat Width or Thickness

Ok, this is a dumb question…

Do back exercises only develope lat width OR lat thickness?

I’ve always had it in my mind that vertical pulls (chins, pull downs) develope back width, while horizontal pulls (rows) develope thickness.

However, when looking at a picture of back anatomy, the latisimus dorsi is in fact, a single muscle, so it seems like any kind of pull is going to result in increased lat width and thickness.

Feeling stupid here…

O its ok man, mighta posted it in the “beginners” forum to loosen up the flames, but they work alot more than just back. If you squeeze at the top you can work traps, do it as a barbell exercise you work your grip, biceps, delts, pull-ups are the upper body squat. Its a delightful sqirl of muscles working together lol

Lat thickness is different than overall thickness. In my opinion, you’ll never be really “thick” unless you deadlift and row along with the pulldowns and chins.

The lats do provide that “wide” look and the middle, upper and lower traps and erectors and even the smaller muscles give the thick, strong look.

It’s a tough call because you may have great genetics for width in the lats but not thickness due to many factors like insertion points and muscle fiber distribution.

That’s why I say you need to hit it from so many angles like deads, chins and rows.

Also generally wider grip tends to work (gasp)for width. If you flare your lats to get the cobra head look your arms are further out not in. Doing a variety of rows and chinups/pullups is gonna give you both but really the wider/narrower grip is a good frame of reference to use.

I could be wrong here…when I think of how a muscle can grow I come up with width and thickness, and to gain width requires the stretching of the muscle while thickness requires the squeezing or contracting of muscle. So the exercises like pulldowns, chins, etc that are used for width all have a stretching part of the exercise. Don’t get me wrong so do rows, etc. but i feel more of a lat stretch doing the chins, etc. When doing rows I feel I can get a better contraction and squeeze in the muscle thus adding thickness.

then i’ve heard that stretching muscles like calves/forearms adds thickness and can lengthen the mucsles. It’s all been read sometime in my studying past lol and i apologize for not posting any sources. In all I don’t think you can gain one without the other like an exercise that just adds thickness or width, but that some exercises will have a better effect on one than the other.

-Gerdy

[quote]derek wrote:
That’s why I say you need to hit it from so many angles like deads, chins and rows. [/quote]

agreed.