Building a Complete and WIDE Back


Building a Complete and WIDE Back
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Build yourself a complete and wide back with this article guide on the total back musculature!

The “lats” or latissimus dorsi to give them their full name, are the large sweeping muscles that start under your armpits and end low in the middle of your back. They are the muscles that give you that V-shape taper. To build broad, wide-spreading lats is the desire of most young bodybuilders. Fortunately for beginners, the lats can be developed easily and quickly, as they respond very rapidly to particular movements.

Genius Brand - Genius BCAA

The Genius Brand
Genius BCAA


There are three types of lat muscles — high, medium and full. The first type, the high lats, is the most common among bodybuilders, especially those who perform such exercises that develop the upper part of these muscles such as the wide grip pull-up on the chinning bar.

Full development of the medium and lower parts is not quite so common as the high type, but there are many bodybuilders who have used a complete lat training program, and so achieved full lat development.

These different shapes affect the appearance of the back. If the back isn’t full and broad, it is due to the failure to work the lower sections of the lat., to the same degree as the upper area is worked.

The high type of lat development is more impressive to the average bodybuilder because it shows a wider taper. Virtually everyone with high lats looks wide and impressive. This is noticeable where the lats are not fully developed, but because of their shortness, nevertheless, look impressive.

Bodybuilders with some development in the lower lat region must have proportionately greater development in the upper and middle areas to have truly impressive looking backs.

Control of these muscles is easy but very important. Good control of the lats helps to bring out that full sweeping curve from the armpits to hips which is what gives the V-shape.

Any back will look wider when the line from the armpits terminates into the side of the body well above the hips, as in the case of high lats instead of sweeping down into the lower hip region.

When the lat line extends down to the hips exceptional development of the lats must be achieved to look really impressive; whereas, when the lat line is shorter, full lat development is not necessary to have an impressive back even though it cannot be considered as fully developed.

To get exceptional lat development, a variety of exercises is required to bring out these muscles to the fullest.

Whilst some exercises develop greater mass, it is the control you are capable of exercising over your lats that enable you to spread them out and isolate them.

There is no doubt that control over these muscles plays a large part in bringing out the lats. A beginner enjoys showing off his “LAT SPREAD” because the lats are probably the first muscles he is able to control.

If a beginner takes on a lopsided appearance, It is generally because one side is more tensed than the other and so throws the body symmetry out of balance. If, however, the lats are kept semi-tensed, the lopsided effect is not so pronounced.

Bodybuilder doing dumbbell rows.A variety of exercises for the lats is most effective and also activates the upper, middle and lower parts of these muscles, all necessary if a full and complete lat development is wanted.

Some basic exercises for lat development are:

  1. Pullover with barbell.
  2. Bent Over rowing (Barbell or Dumbbell).
  3. Wide grip pull-up to back of neck on chinning bar.
  4. Close grip Pull-ups or Chins
  5. Deadlifits
  6. Seated Cable Rows
  7. Pull down on lat machine.

Clcik Here for a complete list of back training routines!

The two most used movements performed almost exclusively by early bodybuilders in building a wide V-shape and still two of the most effective exercises for the lats, are the pullover with barbell and bent over rowing motion, which, when using heavy weights, is most effective for massive lats.

Wide grip pull-ups to the back of the neck on the chinning bar develop the ultimate shape of your V. Doing a lot of wide grip pull-ups tends to give you extreme width at the top of your lats, the part right under the armpits.

Ronnie Coleman - Olympia 2004

The pull down on lat machine tends to develop bunchy lats and are beneficial to those wanting to build up more mass under the arms rather than a long taper. The pull down should be varied. Several sets should be done seated or kneeling directly under the pulley and pulling down to the back of the neck using a very wide hand spacing on the lat machine handle. Other sets should be done seated away from the machine and the handle pulled to the chest very much as though you were rowing.

The combination of both movements assures you of a fine symmetrical taper. To attain full lat development, you should use a variety of exercises, however, in the process of building the lats you may find one particular exercise more effective than the others. In that case, you should perform more sets of that movement.

Tags: workout programs back

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