T Nation

Working the Lats

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Feeling the MMC, pulling with your elbows, all great suggestions, but sometimes (and I do this a lot), a pre-exhaust movement first can really help get a larger target muscle nice and toasty. I’m a big fan of starting my back sessions with straight-arm pulldowns done using a rope attachment (while angling my torso forward), OR PARTIAL pullovers with 2 dumbells. These let me really feel the lats without anything else coming into play, and also serve as a great warmup for the beating I intend to subject them to immediately after.

S[/quote]

What do you consider to be your favourite/go-to bigger exercises that you use for your back training? I’ve recently started incorporating straight arm pulldowns like you mentioned before doing any larger exercis. While the weights used have gone down I definitely feel my lats doing more work, which is always better!

[quote]The Rattler wrote:

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Feeling the MMC, pulling with your elbows, all great suggestions, but sometimes (and I do this a lot), a pre-exhaust movement first can really help get a larger target muscle nice and toasty. I’m a big fan of starting my back sessions with straight-arm pulldowns done using a rope attachment (while angling my torso forward), OR PARTIAL pullovers with 2 dumbells. These let me really feel the lats without anything else coming into play, and also serve as a great warmup for the beating I intend to subject them to immediately after.

S[/quote]

What do you consider to be your favourite/go-to bigger exercises that you use for your back training? I’ve recently started incorporating straight arm pulldowns like you mentioned before doing any larger exercis. While the weights used have gone down I definitely feel my lats doing more work, which is always better![/quote]

I’ll usually follow the rope work with partial pulldowns (V-handle to chin level). After a few heavy, strict sets of that, I actually like to throw in a few sets of parallel grip chins just to fully wreck 'em. Amazing how much more you feel chins in your lats when you start off with the previous exercises I mentioned.

S

Great suggestions guys, all make sense. In reference to my lats getting sore on Mil Presses, I think its due to the slow controlled movement on the way down. And on the dumbells overhead press, I think my lats stabilize the movement, which is good.

[quote]MrEdofCourse wrote:
Great suggestions guys, all make sense. In reference to my lats getting sore on Mil Presses, I think its due to the slow controlled movement on the way down. And on the dumbells overhead press, I think my lats stabilize the movement, which is good.[/quote]

The reason your lats can get sore after military press is because your delts need something to flex AGAINST as you lower the bar, and to push off of when you launch the bar back up. So your lats naturally flex to give additional resistance, mainly during the descent of the bar.

And yes, your triceps also flex at the beginning of most curl variations. Shit, you can tell that just by closely watching someone do standing DB curls.

Lot of great suggestions.

One thing that I have found that really gets activation in the lats during rows is to pull lower into your gut region vs pulling high into your chest. Don’t bring the attachment into your body with your biceps, but retract your back back to bring it in.

ever try rack chins?

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Feeling the MMC, pulling with your elbows, all great suggestions, but sometimes (and I do this a lot), a pre-exhaust movement first can really help get a larger target muscle nice and toasty. I’m a big fan of starting my back sessions with straight-arm pulldowns done using a rope attachment (while angling my torso forward), OR PARTIAL pullovers with 2 dumbells. These let me really feel the lats without anything else coming into play, and also serve as a great warmup for the beating I intend to subject them to immediately after.

S[/quote]

Stu
How much of a bend do you keep in your elbows with the 2 db pullover? What is the range of motion you use? Thanks

Thib pulldowns at the beginning of your workout! Attach some ab slings to the V handle on a lat machine, put your elbows 3/4 of the way through them and just pull with your elbows. Hold the contraction at the bottom for a 2 count.

[quote]jimg21 wrote:

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Feeling the MMC, pulling with your elbows, all great suggestions, but sometimes (and I do this a lot), a pre-exhaust movement first can really help get a larger target muscle nice and toasty. I’m a big fan of starting my back sessions with straight-arm pulldowns done using a rope attachment (while angling my torso forward), OR PARTIAL pullovers with 2 dumbells. These let me really feel the lats without anything else coming into play, and also serve as a great warmup for the beating I intend to subject them to immediately after.

S[/quote]

Stu
How much of a bend do you keep in your elbows with the 2 db pullover? What is the range of motion you use? Thanks
[/quote]

Very slight. Just enough that I’m not straining any joints while moving the weights. Some people will inadvertently bend their arms much more than is necessary when doing DB exercises (shoulder laterals for example), but what they may not realize is that they’re essentially creating LESS resistance on their target muscle. If anyone recalls ‘simple machines’ from Junior High School science class, single joint movements are a lever, and when you increase the distance from the actual resistance, you need more work to move the weight. As such, I keep my elbows somewhat bent, but still pretty darn close to straight when doing DB pullovers. I want the deep stretch, and I want the lighter DBs to FEEL heavy.

In terms of ROM, I will not raise the weights to the point where they’re directly over my head. Once your arms are perpendicular to the ground, you’ve removed all stress on your back muscles and are merely resting the weight on the bones of your arms.

S

Nothing stupid in this thread. So Ill echo everyone else. Start with a straight arm movement for 10-20 reps. Straight arm pulldown, Bent arm pulldown, Kayak rows, Straight arm dumbbell row if you dont have a cable machine. Then go on to a Row or Pullup/Pulldown type movement for more traditional bodybuilding rep ranges 8-12.

Also bands can be very useful here. attach them to perform pulldowns or standing rows. Because of the dynamic tension it can really help to get you to control and fire the right muscles. Helps heaps with mid back too.

I didn’t feel like doing pull ups earlier this week so I worked on some front levers instead. Holy shit, I can’t remember the last time my lats were this sore. And not just a part of the muscle like with pull ups, the entire thing. I used to do these on a regular basis and in retrospect my lats were much wider and my bench was a lot higher. Might have to bring them back full time.

[quote]Gl;itch.e wrote:
Nothing stupid in this thread. So Ill echo everyone else. Start with a straight arm movement for 10-20 reps. Straight arm pulldown, Bent arm pulldown, Kayak rows, Straight arm dumbbell row if you dont have a cable machine. Then go on to a Row or Pullup/Pulldown type movement for more traditional bodybuilding rep ranges 8-12.

Also bands can be very useful here. attach them to perform pulldowns or standing rows. Because of the dynamic tension it can really help to get you to control and fire the right muscles. Helps heaps with mid back too.[/quote]

I’m using bands for super-slow straight arm pulldowns a lot right now… amazing. Great feel all the way down through the lower lats. I perform them around my deadlifts to improve tension/feel in the lats while DLing.

  1. When you do pulldowns or pullups, make sure to use a supinated (palms facing you) grip.

  2. Pre-exhaust the lats by doing pullovers before hitting the pulldown/pullup.

  3. Find a Nautilus pullover machine if you can.

  4. Hang from elbow sleeves with your lats contracted. This is basically an isometric pullover.

[quote]belligerent wrote:

  1. When you do pulldowns or pullups, make sure to use a supinated (palms facing you) grip.

  2. Pre-exhaust the lats by doing pullovers before hitting the pulldown/pullup.

  3. Find a Nautilus pullover machine if you can.

  4. Hang from elbow sleeves with your lats contracted. This is basically an isometric pullover.[/quote]

  5. I don’t think using a supinated grip on pulldowns and pullups is as universal as you make it sound. All pulldown variations should be used and depending on what works for the individual, some more than others. What mimics a rear double bicep more, supinated pulldowns or wide grip pronated pulldowns? Neutral close grip pulldowns > supinated imo.

  6. yes, straight arm rope pulldowns if you can’t.

Try DB Rows with deadstop. I feel these really well.

Pretty much everything’s been said, the only thing I can add is using unilateral movements. I’ve found i get a much better pump and the muscle feels like its been more thouroughly worked after doing several 1 armed movements. Normally i’d do a single arm pull down variation, a 1 arm row, and a standing 1 arm cable row. The added stretch you get when doing 1 arm movements seems to do wonders for activating the muscle properly.

Two weeks ago I decided to do medium wide grip pullups instead of pulldowns. I’ve been sore in my whole lat area like I haven’t felt in quite some time. Maybe these will help you too.

I like rack chins or wide grip pulldowns. Emphasize on slow eccentrics with a pause at the top when it stretches your lats