How to Get Big Lats

Getting HUGE Lats

how to get big lats
the blue represents where your lats are located

Aside from shoulder muscles, I would say the Latimuss Dorsi (Lats) muscles are the major contributors in supporting a large muscle bound appearance and that’s why we’re going to discuss how to get big lats. These are the muscles that leave you with a V-shaped body – a universal sign of fitness. The average person tends to focus more on training his/her biceps and triceps, forgetting that overdeveloped arms and non-existent lats can really kill your look and will hardly make you stand out in a crowd.

So… how to get big lats, you ask?

Before giving you the exercises needed, let’s start off with a little anatomy briefing. Let us quickly understand what muscles we’re working.

What are Lats on your body?

The lats are extremely engaged in almost any back movement. They are a big muscle group that start at your lower back and run up under the armpit and reaching around to your arm.

Underdeveloped lats can actually obstruct muscular balance of the upper body due to their function of pulling the upper arm down and close to the body.

For this reason, the number one essential exercise for building bigger lats is pull-ups. So if you want to know how to get big lats, master the pull-up.

Most people will initially find it difficult lifting their own bodyweight, and doing any bodyweight exercises will be a real test of their power.

How to do a proper pull-up

Instructions on how to perform your first pull-up:

  1. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, shoulder width apart.
  2. Now hang with your arms fully extended.
  3. Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Pause slightly, and then lower yourself all the way back down.

Don’t worry if you can only complete one pull-up, with time you’ll get better. If you struggle just to do one pull-up, we suggest two things:

  • Use pull-up assist bands to relieve some of the weighted body pressure. As you get stronger, you’ll be able to do more pull-ups with less resistance until you don’t even need a band anymore! (check out our 5-star bands on Amazon)
  • Get your body in proper form to do a pull-up, and then hang from the bar. Practice hanging for 10 seconds straight, then 30, then 45, and then 60 seconds. Before you know it you’ll be able to knock out some pull-ups.

Now that we got the pull-ups out of the way, let’s review some of the best exercises to help us build those lats and increase our strength:


Barbell Row

The barbell row is a great exercise which targets the middle back, but even though it’s simple to perform, safety precautions are important for avoiding injury.

To protect your lower back, bend over while keeping your back flat and your eyes fixed to an object in front of you. Grasp bar with wide overhand grip. Pull bar to upper waist. Return until arms are extended and shoulders are stretched downward. Repeat.


Lat Pulldown

Lat Pulldown might seem like an easier version of the pull-up, but since you will be able to pull a heavier weight, it’s going to be a challenging and gruesome workout that really makes the lats grow.

Sit in the machine and anchor your thighs under the pad. Tighten your core and abdominal muscles. Grab the bar with a wider than shoulder-width grip, palms facing away from you. Keep your elbows straight, pinch your shoulder blades together and keep your back from arching. While keeping your feet on the floor, pull the bar to the top of your chest. If at any point your back position is changing, reduce the weight and repeat. How to get big lats you ask, by performing exercises correctly. Leave your ego at the door and pick a weight that is comfortable for you to handle. The negative part of the exercises involves you returning to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.



Seated Cable Row

Emulating a rowing movement, the seated cable row is a big movement that engages the whole body and definitely answers the question you have of how to get big lats. Your lats are the main driving power pulling the rope, but your legs, abs, and lower back are all stabilizing your body to perform a correct row.

  • Sit at the platform and grab the handle, keeping your knees slightly bent and your back straight.
  • Without moving your torso to the back, pull the handle towards your lower abdomen.
  • As your back remains straight, the only thing you should feel moving is your shoulder blades.


As you might have assumed, these exercises require a gym membership or some sort of equipment; so for those of you asking how to get big lats at home, try following these exercises.


How to work out lats at home

Performing lat exercises at home is perfectly doable, but it is advised to get some resistance bands to add some intensity to the training. Of course, feel free to purchase any additional equipment and maybe start setting up your own home gym, but for lat exercises, a resistance band should be more than enough for a beginner.


Single-Arm Rows

You don’t need a barbell or a rowing machine to engage your lats. By simply using some resistance bands, this exercise will allow you to train your lats one muscle at a time.

Place one foot in front of the other and step on the resistance band with your front foot. Leave enough elastic on the inside of the front foot to grab the band by its handle with the arm opposing the front leg. Keep your back straight, chin up and knees slightly bent. Pull the band up and back until your hand is next to your hip. Return to the starting position.

Sliding Cobra

If you’re looking for a zero equipment exercise which is challenging but very beneficial, then give the sliding cobra a try. It may not be included in most of the ‘How to get big lats’ articles, but you won’t know what you’ve missed unless you try it the first time.

To start, place a folded towel on the floor, lay in front of it with stretched out arms and position the hands about shoulder width apart on it.

Start placing some pressure on the towel and slide while keeping your elbows bent. At this point, your chest should erect and puff forward while your back is arched. Make sure that your hip is touching the ground for the whole duration of the exercise, since the sliding motion is restricted to the upper body, making this exercise a strong workout for your lats.

A final point to getting big lats is watching over your biceps. They generally come into play most of the time while performing any exercise hitting the lats. In fact, it’s practically impossible to work the lats without the biceps getting involved. The secret to limit this involvement is pretty simple, think of your hands as hooks or cups that hook the bar or handle. Your mind must be focused that it is your back muscles performing the movement and not your biceps pulling the weight. For beginners, this is hard to do in the early stages as you cannot ignore your biceps pulling with you. Mind and muscle connection and practice are required in order to improve your lat exercise form to ensure maximum benefit.

In order for you to succeed in your quest for bigger lats, keep practicing proper techniques and slowly increasing the intensity one week after the other, while learning how to make the lats work and not the biceps. Before you know it, you’ll have others coming to you asking how to get big lats!


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