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Home Training MP Back Training Build Lats Bigger than a Jumbo Jet

Build Lats Bigger than a Jumbo Jet

Build Lats Bigger than a Jumbo Jet


The back is a humongous group of muscles on your back side. Most tend to just think of the Latissimus Dorsi, as it is the biggest muscle back there, when speaking of back muscles. Yet, there are a number of supporting muscles that need development also. From your trapezius to your rear delts to your glutes, there are 11 some different muscles that contribute to a strong back.

But not being a rocket scientist, I am just going to keep our discussion focused on your lats, upper back, lower back, and spinal muscles.

Any program you put together needs to hit these four areas either directly or indirectly to build both strength and stability to your body. Your body works best in balance and looks better when everything ties in together.

Here are my top ten favorite back exercises, in reverse order.

10. Hyperextensions - This is great exercise that hits everything on your backside from calves to lower back and right up your spinal cord. Talk about tying everything in; this exercise brings your hamstrings, your glutes, and your whole lower back all together. A key to a good movement is to really arch your back and flex your glutes at the top of the movement briefly before going down again.

9. Stiff arm lat pull downs - Not a power movement, but you will really feel it in the outer edges of your upper lats under your armpits. Your arms are straight (can have a slight bend in elbows) and grip is shoulder width. The start position is eye level and movement is just to bring the bar down to your body, keeping the arms "straight" and stiff.

8. Wide grip pull downs behind the neck -
Not a power movement, the body should be kept straight up and down. Use a grip that is about 3 feet apart and pull straight down to the base of your neck. Keep the elbows back and flex hard at the down position. This is tremendous movement from rear delt to rear delt.

7. Neutral Grip lat pull downs -
This may be the best lat stretcher out there. Grab the lat attachment that allows you to have a shoulder width grip with hands facing each other. Anatomically, I think this will really puts your lats in its best position. Pull the bar all the way to your chest for maximum benefits.

6. One arm dumbbell row -
I love this exercise. With one knee on a bench, head up, and back arched, pull the dumbbell up. But instead of just pulling up, use a sawing motion. At the down position, the dumbbell should be just forward of your shoulder. As you pull up, bring it so that in the up position the dumbbell is by your waist.

5. Reverse grip lat pull downs -
The pull on the back muscles from your oblique's to your upper lats is beautiful. Again, pull the bar all the way down to the nipple line. You will need to lean back a bit and arch your back hard as you pull down, but you do want to get the bar all the way down. Sacrifice the weight if need be.

4. Dead lift -
This is foundational, this is power, and this is just plain brute force. For overall strength, you need to do exercise periodically. Not every work out, but a few times a month.

3. Bent-over rows -
Back in the day; we used to do these up on a bench. We would drop the bar all way to the toe, and then, pull it back to the waste. At the top, the body is basically parallel to the ground. It is a good variation, but you really need to watch the weight and not throw the weight up. As for the current variation, the upper body stays in stationary position with head body and back arched. If positioned correctly, the bar will hand at knee level. Pull the bar up to the waist using either reverse or prone grip.

2. T-bar row -
My favorite rowing exercise is the T-bar row. As a kid working out in my folk's basement; I would stick one end of the barbell in the corner and slap a dumbbell on top of it. I would load the weight up at the other end, straddle the bar and place my hands behind the plate. I would lean back and push the bar back into the corner, while rowing. Different contraptions available now to simulate that movement but so long as the principle stays the same, it is all good. I love this exercise. It will give you such a good pump in your lower lasts, the middle of back, and your lower back. I remember seeing Franco Colombu doing this with like 8 or 9 45lb plates, wow.

1. Wide grip pull-ups -
This is a stud's exercise. Directly, or indirectly, this exercise hits everything. I've done lat pull downs with 220lbs when I weighed less than 200 in my younger days, but it is not the same as pull-ups with bodyweight. It has a special feeling to it. No doubt about it, it is my number one favorite back movement.

Just a brief aside, I always thought that if you could not afford to buy weights or join a gym, then the best three exercises to do were chin-ups, dips, and deep knee bends. You could do these at any park. Wow - fresh air, warm sun, and cool breeze - what a great way to work out.

Back to back, no pun intended, these are my favorites. I am sure you have your favorites. What is important is that as you design your workout program, it is done synergistically with the rest of your body. 

About the Author

Jack was never athletically inclined and a geek to boot. But after 35 plus years of exercising and dieting, Jack remains a terrible athlete, but not so much a geek. Plus, he's learned a lot and shares loads of good information at his {A HREF=""} SmartWeightGain Blog; so, come check it out.

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