Health and wellness play a crucial role in our daily lives. Having a regular exercise, fitness, or diet plan put in place brings us healthier bodies, higher self-esteem, improved mental health, and stronger muscles. Whether you are already a fitness junkie, or new to the world of diet and exercise, incorporating LAT practices in your daily routine can gradually improve prominent and important muscles. 

While some muscles stand out more than others, some muscles are signs of strength. Show muscles may look strong, and most likely they are, but LAT muscles and other back muscles show the truth of how much strength someone has. Typically, show muscles are worked more in exercises and on a daily basis, mainly because the abs and pecs are what people are most attracted to. But while back muscles aren’t always shown or the first thing someone sees, they are often neglected and forgotten. While having strong arms and a core are superb qualities, your back plays a crucial role in the movement and functions of various parts of the body, including the arms. 

But what are LAT exercises? Why are they so important and what kinds of benefits come from them? And even more importantly, what is LATS? We need to first define what exactly the lats are and what their primary function is. Then, dive into what exercise practices strengthen the lat muscles, and how to incorporate them into your exercise routine. 

Be sure to take notes so you can get the back muscles you’ve always dreamed of. Let’s get started. 

What Are the Lats?

best lat exercises


The LATS is one of the most important muscles in the body. Otherwise known as the Latissimus Dorsi muscles, the LATS are the large V-shaped muscles in a person’s back, that connect the arms to the vertebral column. They span from the very inside of your upper arm by your shoulder down to the back of the pelvis at the waist. 

The LATS is the largest and most dominant muscle in the upper body, protecting and stabilizing the spine, in addition to providing back and shoulder strength, and supporting good posture. 

While these muscles are clearly visible when the skin is removed, they 

can easily be identified by their defined V-shape. They create a dramatic taper spanning the entire back, and when worked properly, can easily be defined just as precisely as abs and pec muscles. 

Benefits of Lat Exercises & Lat Workouts

best lat exercises


One of the many goals of those who work out is the opportunity to be strong and have well-defined muscles. Many of those who exercise regularly pay little attention to the LATS. Strengthening and stretching the LAT muscles is a crucial practice to build upper-body strength and improve the range of motion. The stronger the LAT muscles are, the more likely injuries can be prevented. 

Building the vital muscles in your body, such as the LATS, improves health and can guarantee you the strength needed to do everyday actions more confidently, such as lifting heavy objects, breathing, walking, and carrying your own body proudly. There are various other benefits and advantages of implementing LAT exercises into your daily workout routine, such as:

  • Adduction 
  • Improved running speed 
  • Stabilizing the spine 
  • Increased power in throwing, swimming, or rowing activities
  • Strengthens back strength and support 
  • Enhanced core support and function 

Engaging in LAT exercises gives the body the strength it needs to carry out required tasks, and can help your body fight against injuries to those specific muscles, or even frequent pain and spasms. LAT muscle injuries can be severely painful since it is the largest part of the back. As the LAT muscles get stronger, other nearby muscles will strengthen as well and form naturally. 

By having the correct knowledge and being educated on the LATS muscles, they become more important and the effort put into keeping them strong and healthy is likely to increase. 

Best Lat Exercises

best lat exercises


As you have now learned what the latissimus dorsi muscles are, what their functions are, why they are important, and the advantages and benefits of having strong LATS, next, you need to know the best exercise and practices for them. While the most common LAT exercise is pull-ups, many beginners or those with lower self-esteem may need to build more strength first to be successful at the exercise. Thankfully, there are dozens of very exercise practices that can strengthen the back, targeting the LAT muscles. Some of the best LAT exercises are:

  • Rowing: Rowing machine, dumbbell rows, barbell rows, renegade rows, one-armed rows, kettle ball rows, trx suspended rows, rows bent over with bands, pendlay rows, power plank rows, & landmine rows. 
  • Pull-Ups: Pull-up swings, negative pull-ups, narrow grip pull-ups, wide grip pull-ups, chin-ups, and pull-up hangs. 

Keep in mind: Pull-ups are known to be the toughest back exercise there is to master.  Push yourself, but don’t force it and cause an injury or strain to your muscles. 

  • Pull Downs: LAT machine pull-downs, pull-downs with resistance bands, and straight-arm pull-downs. 
  • Dead Lifts: Hex bar deadlifts and barbell deadlifts. 
  • Swimming: Freestyle swimming, backstroke, and butterfly stroke. 
  • Dumbbell Pull-overs
  • Weighted arm swings 
  • Lateral raises 
  • Kettle Ball swings 
  • Elliptical training with resisted arms 
  • Kayaking & Canoeing 
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding 
  • Cross Country Skiing 
  • Downhill skiing 

Remember, you know your body better than anyone else. Do the exercises that feel most comfortable to you, and that is able to be performed correctly. Stay consisted and focused, and more muscles will come to be able to better perform other workout options, therefore, increasing strength even more. 

Best LAT Workouts 

best lat exercises


Whether you are a newbie to the workout world or an experienced bodybuilder, LAT exercise can be easily worked into any workout routine. The best LAT workouts use a mixture of various LAT and back exercises, able to target and focus on multiple specific muscles.

Exercises that use a pulling and pushing motion, as these muscles are learned to control certain movement abilities. Consider implementing pull-ups or push-downs, and swimming. If you are more focused on building that LATS in size, rather than just strength, limited workouts are best. Repeat several short repetitions of specific LAT exercises, targeting certain areas for each exercise.

Deadlifts and dumbbell exercises would be a great implement into your workout routine to build strength and size of back muscles, and provide you with impressive V-shaped and defined back muscle tones. 

A great example of an excellent LAT workout routine would look something like this:

Day 1 

  • Warmup with stretches and bench press 
  • Seated resistance band row(or other row exercises): 3 sets of 20 reps.
  • Pull-down exercises, such as the straight arm: 3 sets of 20 reps. 

Day 2

  • Warmup stretches and deadlifts
  • Pull-down exercise (different from the previous day): 3 sets of 12 reps.
  • Dumbbell Rows: 1 set of 12, 1 heavier set of 12. (2 reps in total)

Repeat these LAT exercises daily by alternating various target points. This workout routine can be down on its own or could be easily implemented in a workout routine that’s already in use.  

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best lat exercises


Just like an exercise practice, there are certain risk factors if they aren’t performed properly. Be sure to challenge yourself, but be aware of your limits. Some of the most common factors that can cause risk or injury due to LAT exercises can be: 

  • Poor Form: Performing the exercise incorrectly. 
  • Wrong Exercises: Doing exercises that aren’t focused on the target muscle.
  • Lack of angles & grip variations: Not alternating exercises and weights. 
  • Not using pullovers & stiff pulldowns: Not isolating the LAT muscles. 

LAT exercises are easy and essential to incorporate into your weekly workout routine. Combining these exercises will not only tone that impressive V-shape, but increase strength, and movement, and provide various other health advantages. Be sure to talk to a doctor when drastically changing workout routines, and be sure to challenge yourself, but rest when needed. 

We hope you have enjoyed this guide to LAT muscles and exercises, and that it has inspired you to focus more on these muscles and implement LAT exercises into your daily workout regime.

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