T Nation

Widening the Lats?


Hey guys -
In your opinion what is the best exercise for widening the lats in order to promote the v-taper?

I am already working on slimming my waist but I figure why not try to build the muscle to make the v-taper more promounced...
If you suggest pull-ups (which I suspect some will) please get specific about hand placement, etc..


wide grip pullups, as far as hand placement just like it sounds.

pullovers, gripping towards the farthest bend in an ez curl bar

those two seem to isolate the lats best for me, im sure there are others...


I don't believe in wide grip pulls = wide lats. To me, the best exercise for the lats are chins or pullups with a medium to narrow grip (no wider than shoulder width more or less), you can usually lift more weigth with them than the wide ones too.

Forget about doing chins to behind the neck, they are garbage, at least that is my opinion. As for a second choice for lats, rows of any kind except upright rows of course. For an assistance exercise, maybe straight-arm lat pulldowns but I seldom use these, they are just to assist.


Bigger lats = wider lats


I've always had some form of a pull-up or chine-up in my back routine and I've been asked how I get "that V look" many times. However, it's not all due to one move.

An example of my back routine:

Deadlift 5-8x2-3 (not done on back day)
Bent-Over Barbell Row 5x3
Cable Row 5x5-8
Weighted Pull-up or Chin-up 3-4xBodyweight

I almost NEVER do machine pull-downs or pullovers, maybe I should put them in there some time soon.

Now, we have to think about what really makes the V-Taper, it's not only how big the muscles are (shoulders, lats, traps, etc.), I believe a lot of it has to do w/posture.


Straight arms or bent? Wide & narrow haven't done jack for me to widen my lats. I def need more width!!! What's helped me the most is mirror boxing with 1-3 lb. wts for rounds etc.

Look at boxers backs, nice & wide! Maybe I'll put up that Bruce Lee pis again! Muahahah :wink:


Oh no!


sorry ignore me im an ass


How do lateral raises widen the Lats?


I was wondering the same thing.


do they not? If they dont then sorry, but I was of the understanding that they do


Well, they both begin with the same...ah, fuck it: there's no way to defend that statement.


Lateral raises are for your delts. You may be thinking about one arm DB rows?


I have retracted my oringinal post, sorry for being a dumbass


I think he is saying the lateral raises are good for the V-shape which they are by building the Mid delts which will give you a broader shoulder look. Ben


Well...that's true enough!


Hi drewmofpo,

There have been many good suggestions given so far.

One thing you should understand is that a v-taper shape is dependent on several factors; how small your waist is, your medial delt development, your lat development, and of course your bone structure.

All but the last factor can be improved through training.

So, I would suggest that you work on your shoulder development (for example with lateral raises as was previously suggested), minimizing the circumfrence of your waist, and developing your lats.

As for lat exercises, really any exercise that involves shoulder extension, or shoulder adduction will work the lats.

This would include varieties of chin-ups/pull-ups, rows (except for upright rows as was already stated), and pull-downs. Other good exercises would be rope/rock climbing and gymnastics exercises such as the front lever and iron cross.

If your goal is purely a size issue, I would suggest hitting the lats from as many possible angles as possible. That means don't get locked into the wide grip pull-ups vs. narrow grip pull-ups mindset, or pronated grip bent over rows vs. supinated grip bent over rows. Use them all. The more varying angles you hit your lats from the better your chances of stimulating each and every muscle fiber.

Some other suggestions might be to check out Chad Waterbury's article "Nervous Muscle" for some other ways to make sure you are stimulating all of your motor units.

Good luck and good training,



Sometimes too much information obscures the issue so much that it's like no information at all. I wondered the same thing (how to get that v-taper) when I first started working out, and I solved it, at least for myself. Pull-ups, slightly wider than shoulder width. The thing is, you need to concentrate on getting a full range of motion on every rep. Your chin should rise above the bar (that doesn't mean tilting your chin up to the bar every rep). Out of hundreds of people who pass through my local gym every week, I've seen exactly one other guy doing full range of motion chin-ups. Also, before you begin the first rep (as you keep the arms straight) squeeze your shoulder blades together so powerfully that your chest arches up toward the bar: then begin. If you're not strong enough to do a full range of motion pull up to begin with, swallow your pride and begin with the assisted pull-up machine (I did). Provided your stomach is flat and you don't have love handles, this one exercise will build the v-taper faster than anything else.


Hey guys-
thanks for all the responses....
I will incorporate this information into my current routine.