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  1. #1
    MakinItBIG's Role Model bAby norAA's Avatar
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    Cant Isolate Lats

    No matter what i do, i cant isolate my lats and feel them burn during or after any given 'lat' exercise.
    as of now my lat exercises include:
    -barbell rows
    -lat pull downs (close grip and wide grip)
    -sitting rows
    -pullups
    -straight arm pull downs

    i've tried to use different paces, different grips, and higher/lower weights.

    i need some help here. lat pull downs seem to hit them the best, but my biceps die before my lats ever will.

    any ideas?
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  2. #2
    liftbig eatbig poopbig MR's Avatar
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    I've had the same problem. I find that I need to REALLY mentally focus on the lats while doing back exercises.

    If you have access to a cross-over cable set-up or a "Total Gym", try straight arm side lat pull-downs, finishing with your fists behind your body, clenching tight on the lats and maintain that tension on the reverse motion.

    Keep pluggin' !!

    Mike
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  3. #3
    Sharks with lasers... skizbees's Avatar
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    Might be your stabilizers...

    Try doing more stabilizer work with a lot less weight (around 20-30 pounds) on the lat pulldowns, seated rows, and straight arm pulldowns for higher reps (10-12) to make sure your form is good. You just listed five exercises for your lats (primary) and biceps/shoulder (secondary/indirect/stabilizer)...are these done in that order every time you hit the lats? How much time are you using to warm up? How many reps and sets are you doing? Make sure you stretch between sets if you start to tighten up. Are you arching your back enough during the rows to actually feel the lats working?
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  4. #4
    Datsyukian M4A1 Widowmaker's Avatar
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    These two seem to exhaust my lats the easiest:

    -Put the kinked (curl bar) cable connection on the row station and do underhand rows to your xyphoid complex (where ribs meet the bottom of the sternum) with a 3 second negative. Focus on squeezing your elbows back.

    -Wide grip pull ups with straps (weighted if necessary). The straps help to assure that your grip does not give out. Again, squeeze at the top with a 5 second negative.

    Those two did the trick for me and I love em both.
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  5. #5
    has a bum shoulder Jbert112's Avatar
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    when you do pulldowns, stay straight up and down. many people lean back, which hits upper back muscles harder, but pulling straight through, really hits the lat, especially lower.

    in some exercises, a good stretch at the end of the negative motion can really help hit the lats when you start the pulling phase. i find that when doing seated cable rows, while leaning slightly forward, and letting that good stretch get in before the pull, i get a great burn. Find what works for you man im sure you will.
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  6. #6
    K. I. S. S. jdmalm123's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Fondry View Post
    No matter what i do, i cant isolate my lats and feel them burn during or after any given 'lat' exercise.
    as of now my lat exercises include:
    -barbell rows
    -lat pull downs (close grip and wide grip)
    -sitting rows
    -pullups
    -straight arm pull downs
    i've tried to use different paces, different grips, and higher/lower weights.
    i need some help here. lat pull downs seem to hit them the best, but my biceps die before my lats ever will.
    any ideas?
    Lats depress AND retract the shoulder so you are doing a good combo of moves that hit both.

    Do you do pullovers?
    Partial ROM?
    Do you fully contract (and hold) the lats before you start moving the weight?
    Do you use straps to offset your grip (and grip train too)?
    "Suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret."

    Training regularly but no progress?
    You need one or more of these: more food, more weight, more reps or more rest.

    Check out: www.muscleandbrawn.com
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  7. #7
    MakinItBIG's Role Model bAby norAA's Avatar
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    great thanks guys, these tips are great!
    also i love hearing new exercises, tomorrow is a back day so i get to try them out

    more reps to those who helped when i'm able again.

    keep goin!
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    but nature lacks intelligence,
    I do not.
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  8. #8
    is staying positive! :) Miz-Zou's Avatar
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    go to the main page and look @ how Charles Glass trains and explains some good exercises to improve your workout in the series of "Cut with Glass" or "The Fit Show". I'm going to change my whole workout to a Glass Workout.
    Good luck!
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  9. #9
    Registered User Smokin Horn's Avatar
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    i was exactly the same
    i found changing my grip made a huge difference
    play aroun with ur grip if u havnt tried it
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  10. #10
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    To work the lats concentrate on depressing the scapula.

    Lat pulldowns- sit up straight directly under the bar and start the movement, by depressing your shoulder blades down (lat shrug) THEN follow through with your arms by pulling your elbows down and back.
    Most people do them wrong... You'll probably need to lower the weight a bit, but do them like this and I GUARANTEE you will feel it in your lats.
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  11. #11
    Registered User ironhead184's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by skizbees View Post
    Try doing more stabilizer work with a lot less weight (around 20-30 pounds) on the lat pulldowns, seated rows, and straight arm pulldowns for higher reps (10-12) to make sure your form is good. You just listed five exercises for your lats (primary) and biceps/shoulder (secondary/indirect/stabilizer)...are these done in that order every time you hit the lats? How much time are you using to warm up? How many reps and sets are you doing? Make sure you stretch between sets if you start to tighten up. Are you arching your back enough during the rows to actually feel the lats working?
    True that, you need GOOD form to feel the burn. The higher the weight the more likely your form will be out of whack and the more other muscle groups will be involved. Lower the weight, increase the reps (6-12), and keep good form. Remember, it's not a shame to do lighter weight or just simpley lowering the weight. Alot of people have an ego for this and throw technique out the window to do really heavy weight. These are the people that I see that never get bigger.
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  12. #12
    back after a layoff Meni's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Jbert112 View Post
    when you do pulldowns, stay straight up and down. many people lean back, which hits upper back muscles harder, but pulling straight through, really hits the lat, especially lower.

    in some exercises, a good stretch at the end of the negative motion can really help hit the lats when you start the pulling phase. i find that when doing seated cable rows, while leaning slightly forward, and letting that good stretch get in before the pull, i get a great burn. Find what works for you man im sure you will.
    yup drop the weight, and stay straight up
    no leaning
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  13. #13
    Great Debater. Oh_Riginal's Avatar
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    Have you ever tried doing Yates rows? Those REALLY get your lats working.
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  14. #14
    Liftin hard jrink's Avatar
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    try using straps it takes the whole arm/shoulder complex out of the equation, and you can really focus on contracting the lats
    "Scarred by the weight of its own meaning, but still hard and full of bright rage. THRESHOLD is the word that appears to me in my untrammeled sight. The word comes to me and in that moment I know it has always been the meaning of everything--when the stones pile up on your back and the weight feels like it might crush you from the inside out. That my friend is the threshold...
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  15. #15
    back after a layoff Meni's Avatar
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    are you squeezing your back at all?
    or just going thru the motions?
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  16. #16
    MakinItBIG's Role Model bAby norAA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Meni View Post
    are you squeezing your back at all?
    or just going thru the motions?
    trying my best to squeeze it through the motion, but i must not be.

    Originally Posted by jrink View Post
    try using straps it takes the whole arm/shoulder complex out of the equation, and you can really focus on contracting the lats
    i'd like to know how to correctly use straps, any good info on how? i'm gonna google it, but if you have any further info let me know. tx.

    Originally Posted by Oh_Riginal View Post
    Have you ever tried doing Yates rows? Those REALLY get your lats working.
    never tried, i'll check those out tho thanks!

    Originally Posted by ScrillaKeith View Post
    To work the lats concentrate on depressing the scapula.

    Lat pulldowns- sit up straight directly under the bar and start the movement, by depressing your shoulder blades down (lat shrug) THEN follow through with your arms by pulling your elbows down and back.
    Most people do them wrong... You'll probably need to lower the weight a bit, but do them like this and I GUARANTEE you will feel it in your lats.
    i'm gonna try this, and really concentrate on my form. thank you!
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  17. #17
    Registered User tl77's Avatar
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    I too had a similar problem then someone gave me some advice that i will give you -->"watch Milos' Back Training Part 1 & 2 on the fit show." He gives great advice on how to hit ur back muscles and gives awesome grip and technique advice. It has really made a big difference.
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  18. #18
    Squats traps to grass Defiant1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Fondry View Post
    No matter what i do, i cant isolate my lats and feel them burn during or after any given 'lat' exercise.
    as of now my lat exercises include:
    -barbell rows
    -lat pull downs (close grip and wide grip)
    -sitting rows
    -pullups
    -straight arm pull downs

    i've tried to use different paces, different grips, and higher/lower weights.

    i need some help here. lat pull downs seem to hit them the best, but my biceps die before my lats ever will.

    any ideas?
    I cut and pasted my own response to a different thread:



    Fairly common problem. Most people are not "wired" into their backs like they are their arms.

    Fyi, often the arms have a high percentage of Fast twitch muscle fibers, while the lats and especially the teres are a lower percentage.

    Here are some things that have worked for me:

    1. Use straps

    2. Keep hands high on bar

    3. When you do rows, to hit your lats, pull the the waist/hip area. This maximizes lat involvement and minimizes arm involvement.

    4. On back work, keep your reps higher to work the back muscles and avoid having the biceps fatigue first (see fiber ratios above)

    5. On close grip pulldowns, pull toward your sternum and lean back. This maximizes lat range of motion and minimizes arm ROM.

    6. On cable rows, let the handle pull you forward, so your lats are pre-stretched at the beginning of the exercis-again, pull to the lower stomach

    7. Don't let your arms fully straighten between reps. Keep a SLIGHT bend in the stretch position. This prevents the arms from having to do the poor leverage initial pull, and keeps tension on the back.

    8. Experiment with lat isolation exercises, like straight arm pulldowns (middle of page on link below) and pullovers, with a db or bb or a machine.

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...ainMuscle=Lats

    9. Use the Vince Gironda trick of holding the contracted position for a 2 count to develop "nerve force" or coordination in your back muscles

    10. Experiment with different exercises, go with the ones that feel the best.
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    single arm pulldowns.. I have been able to fry my lats when I do them.
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    One Ton hooks

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    Originally Posted by tl77 View Post
    I too had a similar problem then someone gave me some advice that i will give you -->"watch Milos' Back Training Part 1 & 2 on the fit show." He gives great advice on how to hit ur back muscles and gives awesome grip and technique advice. It has really made a big difference.
    great video with tons of info!!!

    looks like i'll be looking into straps

    **which do you guys preferr, the straps or the hooks?**
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    one thing that made a big difference was to really suck your stamch in and then on your bent rows and pulldowns really pull the as far you can take it naturally and then concentrate on pinching your shoulder blades together. this is the point of maximum contraction.

    it is often easier to use a lighter weight to get a feel for each of the exercises, i was always told if your biceps tire first your not doing it right.

    as a basic tip, at the end of each rep squeaze your back muscles.
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    I prefer hooks because when I use them I can let go of the bar. You can't do that with straps. This allows you to pull while totally relaxing your arms.
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    Originally Posted by Zachariya View Post
    I prefer hooks because when I use them I can let go of the bar. You can't do that with straps. This allows you to pull while totally relaxing your arms.
    great, good to hear, any other ideas on which is better?
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    well since there are some others that said they couldnt quite hit the lats hard, i found an exercise that works GREAT for me...
    i took the (dont know what they are called) arm sling type things and hung them from the pull up bar, and with it taking your grip completly out of the equation i was able to do amazing on isolating my lats with weighted pull ups...i woke up today with the sorest lats i've ever had!

    if anyone knows what this exercise is called let me know...
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  26. #26
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    make sure you have a great mind muscle connection. your biceps shouldn't be giving out first. don't pull the weight with your arms. pinch your shoulder blades together, squeeze your lats, and think of your arms/biceps as hooks being pulled down by your lats.

    really focus on NOT squeezing your biceps as much as possible.
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    lats are one of those muscles that you really have to concentrate on using in order to feel them working.

    try this out

    go to the lat pulldown machine. put it on a light weight.

    now, with ur palms facing you pull down and lock ur arms at a 90 degree angle at the elbow

    now hold that position in ur arms and pull the bar down concentrating on using your lats to pull.

    you may feel your biceps working to keep your arms locked at the 90 degree angle, but i gaurentee that if you do this correctly using a very controlled motion focusing on contracting the lats, you will feel them working.


    i found that once i established "mind to muscle connection" with the lats using lighter weights, it became easier to feel them working when using heavier weights.

    hope this helps you out!
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    Originally Posted by dethmetalanimal View Post
    make sure you have a great mind muscle connection. your biceps shouldn't be giving out first. don't pull the weight with your arms. pinch your shoulder blades together, squeeze your lats, and think of your arms/biceps as hooks being pulled down by your lats.

    really focus on NOT squeezing your biceps as much as possible.
    Originally Posted by bubujone35 View Post
    lats are one of those muscles that you really have to concentrate on using in order to feel them working.

    try this out

    go to the lat pulldown machine. put it on a light weight.

    now, with ur palms facing you pull down and lock ur arms at a 90 degree angle at the elbow

    now hold that position in ur arms and pull the bar down concentrating on using your lats to pull.

    you may feel your biceps working to keep your arms locked at the 90 degree angle, but i gaurentee that if you do this correctly using a very controlled motion focusing on contracting the lats, you will feel them working.


    i found that once i established "mind to muscle connection" with the lats using lighter weights, it became easier to feel them working when using heavier weights.

    hope this helps you out!
    yes both are great help, i love that my lats are sore today, i can barely move lol...its the first time they've ever been sore the day after
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    haha, i didnt read that you have used the arm slings. its basically the same motion i was describing except with no bicep involvment at all. glad they worked for you man
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    Originally Posted by bubujone35 View Post
    haha, i didnt read that you have used the arm slings. its basically the same motion i was describing except with no bicep involvment at all. glad they worked for you man
    yea they were amazing, what would u call the exercise? pullups with armslings? lol
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