The Difference Between Lat and Upper Back Work

Okay, this is something that has irked me for ages: What is the difference between lat and upper back work? I’ve never been able to figure it out. Admittedly, I’ve been going through workouts thinking it’s all the same thing, but I’ve heard “back work zealots” tell me otherwise. Anybody care to clear it up for me?


I am no expert, but I understand it like this:

upperback = traps/rear delts/ romboids.
So excercises that target those muscles is upperback work as far as I know. stuff like facepulls, widegrip rows to the upper abs/chest, shrugs variations and rear raises.

lats = lats obviously.
stuff like chins variations, pulldown variations, row variations where you keep the elbow close to the body and pull to your hip/lower abs, pullovers etc.

just my 2cents.

Lats adduct, extend, and internally rotate the arm at the shoulder. The muscles of the upper back are responsible for external rotation of the arm at the shoulder and elevation, depression, retraction, and protraction of the scapula’s.

Heavy vertical/horizaontal pulling=mostly lats with a synergystic (anagonistic in some cases) muscle action from the upper back.

Face Pulls, Seated DB Power Cleans, Shrugs, Ext. Rotation work= Upper back