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Your latissimus dorsi (or lats for short) are one of the largest muscles in the back. They are the major muscle group used when pulling weight that is either in front or above you. To fully develop your lats, it is important to work it from both angles.
Exercises such as pull-ups and pull-downs will help widen your lats and give your back an overall broader look. It is an important muscle to develop the V-taper look and give the illusion of a smaller waist.
Exercises such as dumbbells rows, barbell rows, and seated cable rows will thicken your lats develop a more powerful back.
When doing any of these back exercises, it is important to think about pushing down or back with the elbows, rather than using the arms. This will ensure you are focusing on your lats and not turning it into a bicep exercise. Your arms are merely "hooks" holding the weight while your lats do the work.
A great exercise for strengthening the lats is the seated lat pull-down. In addition to challenging the lats, the seated lat pull-down also works the biceps, triceps, and muscles on the back of the shoulder. Perform the seated lat pull-down by following the technique described below. Select the desired weight, grab both handles or the bar, depending on the equipment, and sit upright without shrugging the shoulders. Pull the handles or bar toward the front of the body, trying to touch the elbows to the sides of the torso while squeezing the shoulder blades together. Do not allow the lower back to arch or head to jut forward. Pause briefly and then return the weight to the start position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.