Jeff from Athlean X explains the real reason why your lats will not grow.
The Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow
“If you ever wondered what the real reason your lats won’t grow is, this is a must watch video. Here I am going to show you what you likely have been and have not been doing when it comes to your back training that is leading to you not getting the back gains that you’re looking for. With just some simple modifications to your workouts, you will be on your way to building bigger lats.”
- The Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow
- Only Lifting Heavy Weights / Momentum
- Shorter Ranges of Motion
- Decrease the Weight
- Training to Failure
- 1. Rocking Lat Pulldown
- 2 Kneeling One Armed Pulldown
- 3 One Arm High Cable Row
- 4 Straight Arm Pushdown
- 5 Underhand Lat Pulldown
- Video – Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow
- Learn More – Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow
- Muscles of the Back
- Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow – Trapezius
- Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow – Latissimus Dorsi
- Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow – Erector Spinae
- Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow – Rhomboids
- The back is full of muscles!
- Conclusion – Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow
Only Lifting Heavy Weights / Momentum
“The first thing you have probably been doing when it comes to your back workouts is that you’ve only been lifting heavy weights. This usually comes in the forms of rows, lat pulldowns, and weighted pullups. There’s nothing wrong with performing these exercises with heavier weights, but you are likely relying on something that comes with the heavy weight, especially in back training, and that is momentum.”
“Momentum is easy to take advantage of with back training in comparison to pushing exercises such as the bench press or a seated overhead press. In those two cases, if you can’t push the weight up, it’s not going anywhere. With a row or lat pulldown, you can use some body english and momentum to move that weight when you normally might not be able to.”
Shorter Ranges of Motion
“While this can be helpful for building top end strength in the lifts that require it and may have given you some size to go along with that strength, the size of your lats might not have reached their full potential yet. This likely also has to do with the fact that you are also cutting short the range of motion in order to be able to manipulate that weight in space.”
“So, knowing that we are limiting our lat development based on the use of momentum and a shortened range of motion, we can introduce ways to fix these shortcomings.”
Decrease the Weight
“First, let’s look at decreasing the weight we are using with our back workouts. While you might think that lowering the weight is counterintuitive, it’s actually going to be more beneficial than you realize. By lowering the weight, you will be able to have better command of it in space to create a greater stretch and contraction – realizing the benefits of full range of motion. With full range of motion of the lats, you can better unlock muscle growth by tapping not into just a greater contraction, but also achieving a greater stretch.”
Training to Failure
“Now, when it comes to using lighter weights with your back workouts, it becomes even more essential that you start training your lats to failure in the higher rep ranges. I’ve mentioned before that as the rep range increases to include more than 12 reps, the more important it is that you train to failure on that exercise. Doing so will actually lead to better gains and more hypertrophy in the muscles you are trying to target.”
1. Rocking Lat Pulldown
“We can also modify our training to not only include lighter weights, but utilize exercises that take your lats through full range of motion. The first exercise I like to mention is the rocking lat pulldown. This unilateral version of a standard pulldown allows for a greater contraction of the lats by being able to abduct the target arm.”
2 Kneeling One Armed Pulldown
“The kneeling one armed pulldown is another great unilateral option for targeting the lats that will require even lighter weight to be used since you don’t have the assistance of the other arm to initiate the movement like you do in the rocking pulldown.”
3 One Arm High Cable Row
“Next, we have the one arm high cable row (of my favorite back exercises of all time). Not only does this exercise allow you to target one side at a time, but the nature of the exercise takes you through full range of motion and a hard contraction with the elbow tight against the body as well allowing you put the muscle on full stretch at the top of each rep.”
4 Straight Arm Pushdown
“Another exercise option for your next back workout is the straight arm pushdown. Another exercise that allows you to target the lats effectively through a good contraction and allowing for the lats to be put on stretch at the top end in the range of motion while sitting the hips back. A slight tweak you can make to this exercise to further enhance the stretch on the lats is to simply perform this exercise in a kneeling position.”
5 Underhand Lat Pulldown
Lastly, an alternative to the standard pulldown to grow your lats is the underhanded version. Simply changing the orientation of your hands on the bar is enough to create to accentuate the stretch that you get on the lats at the top of the rep – again, going after that range of motion!
Video – Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow
Learn More – Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow
Muscles of the Back
The back is a large, complex group of muscles that supports the body and provides mobility.
Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow – Trapezius
The trapezius is a large, flat muscle that covers the neck, shoulders and upper back. It’s responsible for raising and rotating the scapula (shoulder blade) when you move your arms.
Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow – Latissimus Dorsi
The latissimus dorsi is a large muscle that extends from the lower part of the spine to the upper arm. It helps to move the arm across your body and across your body in front of you, as well as rotate your arm inward at the shoulder joint. You can strengthen this muscle by doing pull-ups and other exercises that target it.
You can feel where this muscle is by standing with your arms hanging down by your sides and feeling for two raised bumps on either side of your spine under each shoulder blade.
Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow – Erector Spinae
The erector spinae is a group of muscles that run along the back. It extends from the base of the skull to the pelvis. These muscles help you keep your posture straight and are also known as the erector spinaus.
Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow – Rhomboids
The rhomboids are a pair of muscles that attach to the spine and scapula (shoulder blade) and pull the shoulder blades together.
They work with the trapezius to bend the neck forward, and they work with the serratus anterior to rotate the shoulder blade upward.
In addition, their contraction can affect posture by pulling your chest forward and forcing you into a more erect stance as opposed to slouching.
This is especially true if you have tightness elsewhere in your back, such as from sitting at a desk all day or from sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress.
The back is full of muscles!
The back is a large area made up of many muscles, which work together to provide support for the vertebrae and allow for movement. The muscles of the upper back are responsible for flexing (bending) and rotating the spine, while those in the lower back aid in extension (straightening), stabilization, and lateral flexion (side-bending).
- Multifidus muscle: This small but powerful muscle provides stability by controlling spinal curvature along with other muscles in its group. It helps maintain normal lumbar lordosis (a forward curve).
- Longissimus dorsi muscle: This large fan-shaped muscle runs down each side of your spine from just above your shoulders all the way down to where it attaches at various points along your hip girdle. It plays a key role in rotation as well as extension when combined with other muscles involved with bending forward or backward
Conclusion – Real Reason Why your Lats will not Grow
We hope you enjoyed learning about the muscles of the back and now have a better understanding of what they do.
Use the above tips to make sure that your lats grow properly and stay strong.
- RX-Pull-Ups: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc