The majority of bodybuilders have broad upper lats but little lower lat breadth, or sweep.
The lower lats are the one muscle group in the body that you cannot afford to ignore. Lower lat exercises not only help you achieve an amazing “V-shaped” physique, but they also help you increase your general athleticism.
Big lats do two things: they support your spine during squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, and they make you look bigger in sweaters. Many lifters, on the other hand, have difficulty engaging their lats because we don’t use them much in our regular tasks – it takes deliberate effort. Many people cut the range of motion of their upper-body pulling exercises short, leaving gains on the table. This leaves the lower lats in particular lacking in strength and growth.
So. the top seven lower lat workouts for back development, strength, and aesthetics are listed below. We have outlined tried-and-true techniques like lat pulldowns, as well as more advanced variations like underhanded bent over rows.
7 Best Lower Lat Exercises
1. Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
You can target the outer and lower lats by taking your grip wider than the standard grip (which is generally much closer). I would like to mention here that It was a key part of Arnold’s lower lat training.
Your arms are slightly slanted outwards at the top of the wide grip lat pulldown position, providing you maximum lower lat stretch, and as you pull the bar towards your body, your arms close inwards, engaging the lower lat muscles.
How To Perform The Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
- Set up a wide grip bar on a lat pulldown machine and sit on the machine’s seat with your thighs underneath the pad.
- Reach for the bar and hold it in the widest position possible. This is normally 1.5-2 times the width of the shoulder.
- As you move the bar towards your clavicle, slightly lean back and draw the shoulder blades back and down (collar bone).
- Pause at the bottom, then slowly raise the bar back to the starting position, breathing in while the lower lat stretches.
2. Dumbbell Row To Hips
A dumbbell row is one of the best exercises for improving lower lat thickness and should be included in each lower lat workout. Dumbbell rows are also a good substitute for a rowing machine.
This activity is one of my favourites since it allows you to strengthen each arm separately, balancing out any strength imbalances between the two sides of your back.
The change I’m about to teach you will slightly shift the range of motion to promote lower lat activation, and it’s a variant on the standard single-arm dumbbell row.
How To Perform The Dumbbell Row To Hips
- Place the dumbbell between your feet on the floor and lean on a stable bench or rack.
- Place your right hand on the bench or rack and your left hand on the dumbbell. Then, with your left leg slightly back, do the same.
- Instead of pulling the weight straight up, attempt to move in an arc, pulling the dumbbell toward your hip. Lower the weight and concentrate on doing the workout properly if you’re having trouble creating an arc movement.
- Then, at the bottom of the rep, reverse the arc-like movement back to the beginning position, stretching the lats in.
- Switch arms and repeat when you’ve completed your reps on one side.
3. Seated Band Row
When it comes to resistance bands, they’re extremely versatile and can yield outstanding results when used in conjunction with a lower lat muscle training. Resistance bands are also one of the most cost-effective gym accessories.
One of the things I like about the sitting band row is that your body can move freely due to the nature of the band, allowing you to get the most out of your workout. Barbells and dumbbells are incapable of achieving this.
The load pattern will be radically different when using a resistance band instead of a consistent resistance like a dumbbell (resistance stays the same). The resistance in a band is continuous and rises as you pull the band closer to your body.
How To Perform The Seated Band Row
- Sit with your legs out in front of you on the floor.
- Place your feet in the centre of a resistance band (I recommend a 3 foot looped band).
- Grab both ends and pull it up nice and tall.
- Next, externally rotate your shoulders (place your shoulder blades in your pocket) and retract your shoulder blades gently.
- Slowly draw the band toward your lower ribs, engaging your lat muscles, and then return to the starting position with your hands.
4. Underhanded Bent Over Row
As far as back-building workouts go, a bent-over row may be one of the most effective. As a compound workout, it will help you build both your back and your biceps. When compared to dumbbells, a barbell provides a consistent level of resistance.
The overhand grip is traditionally used for the bent-over row. To target the lower lats, you can improve the movement by simply using an underhand grip. This is a result of a rise in scapular depression (drawing the shoulder blades downward).
How To Perform The Underhanded Bent Over Row
- Place a barbell of your preferred weight on the floor in front of you.
- Assume a deadlift position by moving your feet under the bar (neutral back).
- Straighten your torso and pick up the bar with an underhand grip. Then keep your back straight, flex your hips, and lower your head to the ground until you’re bent over.
- Draw the barbell toward your belly button, pressing your shoulder blades together at the top, and then slowly return the weight to its starting position.
5. Straight Arm Lat Pulldown
The principle is the same whether you use a cable machine or a resistance band for this exercise. Grab either tool with your arms straight (as the name suggests), then flex your lats to pull your arms down to your sides. If you have difficulties ‘feeling’ your lats during any pulling action, the straight arm lat pulldown is a terrific exercise for you. It’s also a great deadlift auxiliary exercise.
How To Perform The Straight Arm Lat Pulldown
- Attach a rope or a bar to your pulley system or lat pulldown machine.
- Grab the bar or rope with an overhand grasp while standing beneath it.
- Take a step back to generate room and tension in the cable. Then, from your hips, hinge slightly so that your arms are at an angle and your elbows are aligned with your ears.
- Draw your arms down toward your hips while keeping them straight, pulling your shoulder blades together as you reach the bottom of the action.
- Then, return to the beginning position slowly, ensure that the lower lat expands.
6. Single Arm Lat Pulldown
One of my favorite lower lat exercises is this little-known variation of the lat pulldown.
Because you’re utilizing a single handle attachment on the lat pull down, you may work the lats iso-laterally (one side at a time), working out whatever deficits you might have on one side.
How To Perform The Single-Arm Lat Pulldown
- Use a single stirrup-style handle to set up your lat pulldown machine.
- Grab the handle of the lat pulldown while seated.
- Squeeze the lats at the bottom by retracting the shoulder blade and drawing the handle toward your shoulder. After that, make sure you stretch your lats as much as possible between reps.
- Repeat with the other arm.
This old-school low lat exercise can help you develop your lower lats significantly. In a similar way to the straight arm pulldown, it stretches muscle fibers and trains the back muscles and shoulder girdle.
How To Perform The Dumbbell Pullover
- Choose a dumbbell and lie flat on a bench.
- Lift the dumbbell directly upwards while holding it upright with both hands.
- Move the dumbbell toward your head in an arcing motion, keeping your arms straight, until the weight passes your head and stretches your lower lat muscle.
- Repeat by bringing the dumbbell back to the beginning position over your chest.
Everything You Need To Know About the Lats
The lats are the largest and relatively thin muscle in the human body, covering practically all back muscles in the posterior torso except the trapezius. The lower lats, also known as the thoracolumbar fascia, originate from the scapula and spinous processes of the vertebrae of the thoracic spine (T7) all the way down to the lumbar spine (L5). They attach to the humerus (upper arm bone), which is responsible for a large number of shoulder and arm movements. The spine, pelvis, ribs, scapula, and humerus are among the five sites where the lats connect.
Your lats, as one of the largest muscles in your upper body, are involved in a variety of upper-body activities. These motions include the following:
- Vertical pulling exercises — chin-ups, pull-ups, and lat pulldowns.
- Horizontal pulling exercises — row variations like the bent over row.
- Shoulder extension exercise — straight-arm pulldowns and pullovers.
All of these exercises require shoulder adduction, extension, and internal rotation, all of which the lats play a key role in. The lats help you maintain good posture by attaching to your humerus (arm) and spine.
Because of either too much sitting or overdevelopment of the chest muscles, rounded shoulders occur from weak and strained lats. More pulling exercises can help you create stronger lats, which will help you pull your shoulders down and back into better posture.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.