If you want to build wider lats and get that notable v-taper shape to your torso, then you will want to watch this back exercise video. The key to getting a wider back is to build up the lats and let their anatomical alignment realize its true potential. This pulldown variation is one of the easiest ways to target the lat muscles specifically to get them broader and wider quickly.
This is called the Tight Elbow Pulldown. What it does is it gets the elbows out in front of the body as far as possible, minimizing the contribution of the upper back and mid scapular muscles and maximizing the work of the lats. You’ll want to stand to do this version of the lat pulldown exercise.
The key here is to use a handle like the v-handle that lets you get your elbows as close to each other as possible.
Keep your hands facing each other and grab one handle with each hand. Get those elbows pointing straight ahead and squeeze them together the entire time. The movement of the arms out in front of the body puts a greater stretch on the lats, which have an attachment in the upper arm.
Start by pulling the handle down towards the upper abs. You want to feel as if you are pulling down as well as tilting it forward. The slight movement forward will help to tie in the serratus anterior as well, which is a muscle that is closely related to the lats in terms of their anatomical location on the torso. When you can activate both you will feel a deep hollowing out of the lats from the front side back.
The key to really increasing the ability of this back exercise to get wider lats is to focus not just on how you are pulling it down but also on how you are returning the weight to the start. This is where the heavy focus on slow eccentric training works its magic. Don’t just let the weights return to the top quickly. Slow down their return to the top. Make the lats feel as if they are ripping from the bone (of course, don’t actually let that happen!) and you will know that you are doing this right.
The eccentric muscle stretch is one of the greatest ways to stimulate muscle hypertrophy and bigger lats. In order to get a wider back, as I said, you need to be sure that you are doing things that are going to grow your lats. The larger your lats get, the more of the cobra-like overlap you are going to have when looked at from either the back or the front.
I like to do these in sets to failure.
3-4 sets after pullups or a traditional lat pulldown is perfect for getting this back exercise to help you grow wide lats.
If you were to put these into a total body workout or a pull workout focused on training your back and biceps, you’d want to make sure you did these secondary to your bigger compound lifts. The reason for this is that this back exercise allows you to stay lat focused. Exercises like the deadlift are going to train your lats but really work the entire back as well.
When you want and need your most energy to perform your big lifts you will want to do those first. Here, since this is more of a targeted exercise for wider lats, you will want to do these later in the workout. Don’t worry about using lighter weights to do this exercise. The focus shouldn’t be on how much weight you use here but rather keeping the tension on the lats in the way that I’m describing in order to get the desired response – wider lats.
There are other great back exercises for building a wider back and getting that v-taper shape. Some of them, as pointed out here before will focus on a different muscle all together, the teres major. While it certainly can and will contribute to more overall back width, the lats are always going to be the muscle group you can make the most immediate impact on if you train it directly and force growth there.
Consider this one of the most underutilized back exercises for wider lats that you can do and make sure you give it a try in your next back workout.
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