Train your lats to become bigger and stronger with these how-to videos

The following videos demonstrate how to train your lats (Latisimus Dorsi) safely both in your home and within a gym. Use all of these exercises to sculpt that perfectly toned V shaped back we all desire. 

Exercises that can be done in house to tone your lats

Seated Row With Resistance Band to exercise your lats

  • Sit on the floor, and attach the resistance band securely around your feet or another anchoring point
  • Make sure that your legs are entirely flat against the floor
  • Take a band grip in each hand, and hold your fists parallel to the floor above your thighs
  • Maintaining the same hand orientation, pull both hands back until they are level with your back
  • Return your hands slowly to your starting position
  • Ensure that all movements are slow and controlled to fully work the latissimus dorsi
  • Complete your desired set of repetitions

Bent Over Fly to tone and sculpt your lats

  • Select appropriate weights, such as tins of beans. Hold them with your palms facing downwards
  • Stand with your feet at shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent
  • Extend your arms directly out to either side of your body, like 'wings'
  • Lean forwards at a forty-five degree angle (half a right-angle)
  • Bend your arms at the elbow very slightly, and twist them so the elbows are pointing up towards the ceiling
  • Keeping your arms extended, bring your hands together underneath your head
  • Raise your arms back to their position by your sides
  • Continue until you have completed your desired set of repetitions

Bent Over Row to exercise your lats

  • Select some weights, such as two tins of baked beans. Position them at just over half an arm's length in front of your feet
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your toes facing forward. Your knees should be slightly bent
  • Bend over your weights, ensuring you keep your back straight
  • Pick up the weights, palms downward
  • Bend your elbows, raising the weights to your upper waist, then extend your arms so your hands nearly touch the floor. This is the rowing action
  • Complete your desired set of repetitions.

Intermediate Exercises perfect for working out your lats

How to do wide grip lat pull down to strengthen your lats

  • Sit down at the lat pull down machine and grip the overhead bar
  • The distance between your hands should be around 1.5 times the width of your shoulders
  • Keep your body and back upright and your arms straight
  • Pull the bar down to your upper chest
  • Do not bend or move the rest of your body during the exercise
  • Hold the bar at chest height for a second or two
  • Slowly return the bar to its starting position

How to do pull ups to exercise your lats 

  • Grasp the pull-up bar with your hands positioned shoulder-width apart and your palms facing outwards
  • Use your arms to pull yourself upwards until your chin is over the pull-up bar
  • Hold this hanging position, keeping your body as still as possible while you do so
  • Lower yourself all the way back down until your arms are straight
  • Repeat until you have completed the desired number of repetitions
  • Once you have mastered basic pull ups, perform them with your hands positioned closer together and/or wear a weight belt while you exercise

How to do narrow grip lat pull down exercise and tone your lats

  • Sit down at the lat pull down machine and grip the overhead bar with your palms facing forwards
  • Adjust the machine's knee pad to suit your height
  • The distance between your hands should be narrower than your shoulder width
  • Pull the bar down to your upper chest
  • Your torso may move backwards slightly, but should remain straight throughout the exercise
  • Hold the bar at chest height for a second or two
  • Slowly return the bar to its starting position

How to do Chin Ups to work lats

  • Grasp the pull-up bar with your palms facing your body, keeping your hands wider than shoulder-width apart
  • Keep your torso straight, but curve your lower back and stick out your chest
  • Pull yourself up until your head is level with the pull-up bar, keeping your elbows close to your sides while you perform the movement
  • Remain in position for a second before slowly lowering your torso back to the starting position
  • If you are new to pull ups, ask someone to hold your legs while you perform your repetitions
  • As you improve, use a weight belt to increase the intensity of your workout

Advanced Exercises to really push and build your lats

How to do chin ups with a towel to train your lats

  • Choose a long and strong towel and place over the bar with the sides hanging down equally
  • Remain on the ground and test the towel by pulling down hard
  • Firmly grab hold of one end of the towel with each hand and hang down at arm’s length for a few seconds
  • As a first attempt, pull yourself up until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle, then lower and hang
  • Next, pull yourself up until your chest is above the bottom level of the towel or to the height you can achieve
  • Slowly lower yourself back to your starting position
  • Complete your desired set of repetitions

How to do a straight arm cable extension to exercise your lats

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and make sure your back is straight
  • Choose a cable with light resistance
  • Position the pulley at chest level
  • Step backwards until you are able to hold the pulley out from your chest with your arms fully extended
  • Slowly bring your arms down by your sides
  • Hold this position for a moment
  • Slowly raise your arm back to the starting position
  • Keep your arms straight throughout; do not bend your elbows
  • Repeat the exercise as before

How to do a bent over row to work Latissimus Dorsi

  • Hold a barbell with your palms facing downwards
  • Bend at the knees just slightly and start bringing your chest forwards by bending at the waist
  • Keep your back upright and bend until your chest is almost parallel with the floor
  • Your arms should hang straight down towards the floor
  • Lift the barbell up to your chest while keeping your torso still
  • Your elbows should always be tucked close to your body
  • Pause for a second with the barbell near your chest, and gently lower it back down