T Nation

Lower Lat?

Hey guys,
I have noticed that when I hit a rear lat spread, my lat appears to stop at a little below midway on my torso. Could this be just an issue of insertion points of the muscle or perhaps a reflection of exercise choice or technique? Any specific exercises for hitting the lower lat (god this sounds stupid, how about the lower biceps?!)?
Thanks
-Matt

The more muscles you get in your back (from compound exercices such as deadlift, barbell row, pull-up,…) the lower the lats will most likely appear.

I notice that in alot of people, you can’t have the back of Ronnie Coleman at 120 pounds if you see what i mean.

Keep lifting heavy.

Apparently, according to Arnold, you can hit the lower lats by taking a closer grip when doing chins and rows. Works for me anyway.

I feel it more in my lower lats when I do chin ups (palms facing my body).

Interesting thoughts, especially since I generally preform my pullups with a fairly wide grip. I will try mixing it up. Thanks

[quote]Matgic wrote:
Hey guys,
I have noticed that when I hit a rear lat spread, my lat appears to stop at a little below midway on my torso. Could this be just an issue of insertion points of the muscle or perhaps a reflection of exercise choice or technique? Any specific exercises for hitting the lower lat (god this sounds stupid, how about the lower biceps?!)?
Thanks
-Matt[/quote]

Your lats contract as a whole. While different grips may allow you to direct force more towards a target muscle group better, you can’t work out your lower lats. They are the same muscle as your “upper lats”. Part of the issue is probably overall size. If you don’t have much width or overall size on your body or your back, it will seem “deficient” even if it isn’t. How much do you weigh? How tall are you?

Your “lower biceps” are the same way. Your biceps don’t contract in parts. They contract as a whole. Again, someone with smaller arms will notice “deficiencies” more than someone with more size on them, even if they had the same insertion point.

For your back, you can try different grips or hand spacing to see if you feel it more in that area. However, I am willing to bet this is a size issue instead of a true problem with your training…unless you aren’t growing in all body parts.

An individual muscle fiber either contracts or not. Muscles do have differential contraction, or do you beleive that shrugs develop the lower trapezius and rows develop the front deltoid ( as much as other parts of those respective muscles ).

[quote]godel99 wrote:
An individual muscle fiber either contracts or not. Muscles do have differential contraction, or do you beleive that shrugs develop the lower trapezius and rows develop the front deltoid ( as much as other parts of those respective muscles ).[/quote]

I wrote the muscles that contract as a whole through stimulation. Your traps travel half way down your back. Due to them being that long, different angles can change how that muscle group can be stimulated at different points. Obviously, a shoulder movement directed upwards would put little force on muscle fibers towards the middle to the bottom of the thoracic vertebrae. The biceps are not a large muscle group like that and the area they actually take up is minor in comparison.

Your shoulders have three different heads that do not contract with the same stimulation all at once. That is why direct work to the anterior delts will have little effect on the posterior deltoid head. While the biceps has two bellies, they both have the same insertion point forcing both bellies to work together.

Hey Prof,

I do realize that the trapezius are a long muscle group, but so are the lattisimus dorsi. In that cawe, why would their motor unit recruitment patterns be any different than the trapezius, and thus subject to growth in specific areas. Perhaps it is because the traps have 3 different insertion points while the lats only have one (please correct me if I’m wrong)? By the way, not sure if you understood or not, but the lower bicep reference was a joke.

In any case, I have noticed this for a while, even when I was at my heaviest, just finishing a bulking cycle this year. At that point, I was 5’10-5’11 and 198lbs.
-Matt
P.S.- Since you changed your avatar, I forgot that it was “you” even though you had the same name, haha. Anyway, interested in your response.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
godel99 wrote:
An individual muscle fiber either contracts or not. Muscles do have differential contraction, or do you beleive that shrugs develop the lower trapezius and rows develop the front deltoid ( as much as other parts of those respective muscles ).

I wrote the muscles that contract as a whole through stimulation. Your traps travel half way down your back. Due to them being that long, different angles can change how that muscle group can be stimulated at different points. Obviously, a shoulder movement directed upwards would put little force on muscle fibers towards the middle to the bottom of the thoracic vertebrae. The biceps are not a large muscle group like that and the area they actually take up is minor in comparison.

Your shoulders have three different heads that do not contract with the same stimulation all at once. That is why direct work to the anterior delts will have little effect on the posterior deltoid head. While the biceps has two bellies, they both have the same insertion point forcing both bellies to work together.[/quote]

[quote]Matgic wrote:
Hey Prof,

I do realize that the trapezius are a long muscle group, but so are the lattisimus dorsi. In that cawe, why would their motor unit recruitment patterns be any different than the trapezius, and thus subject to growth in specific areas. [/quote]

Because of the way the muscle is placed on the body and its function. Your lats come into play as the upper arm works against force in a downward motion. If the weight were in front of you and your arms are now working against force in a backwards motion, your posterior delt head and rhomboids would become the most stimulated muscle groups taking the lats out of action as a primary mover. If the force were being directed backwards with your arms at your sides, this would bring your pectoralis muscles into play. Once the weight or force is removed from overhead (as a force moving upward), your lats are no longer the primary movers. This is one reason I think that anatomy and basic physiology should be the first things that someone learns. If you can understand how muscles are placed on the body and how they work, you would never have to ask another question about how a certain exercise or machine should affect it directly. This doesn’t mean that the lats don’t work at all in other movements.