Small Muscle Development: 4 Lat Strengthening Exercises

The strength and flexibility in our shoulders are partly due to the help of our latissimus dorsi, or lats. These small muscles make a huge difference in how we move; strengthening them will ensure better mobility and power in our arms. Use these lat strengthening exercises to get that “V” shape and tone your back.


Rowing machines are one of the best ways to work out your lats. Rowing exercises of any kind move the shoulders and work out the lats and other muscles of the arms. With a rowing machine, you use the lats to extend and retract your arm while pulling the body back as you push your legs out.

The machine’s resistance will be the catalyst to your muscle growth, and by increasing the resistance, your lats will work harder and increase in size. Stay consistent and use your lower back to straighten your torso as you pull the bar back; you want as much stress on your lats as possible to strengthen them.

Dumbbell Pullover

The position of your lower back hanging on the bench will cause you to use your lats for movement. As you move the dumbbell in an arch from a horizontal angle to a vertical angle above your face, your lats will be the driving force behind the movement. Lower and raise your lower back with the movement to exercise your lats and have more power to move the dumbbell.

Kettlebell Swings

Using the back and the upper arm is crucial to improving your lats, and kettlebell swings will help you use both areas as you exercise. Swinging the bell between your legs and bending forward will prompt your body to rely on the lower back muscles.

Since the lats connect to the shoulders, swinging will work out and stretch the muscles. The weight of the kettlebell ensures that you feel more stress from the movement. Use your lats to power your momentum and keep up the effort to maintain a frequent swinging motion.

Wide Pull-Ups

One of the most trying exercises for the lats is the pull-up. This movement will ensure you feel the burn in your lower back with every rep. A wide pull-up uses more of the lats’ strength to help the arms move.

With your arms wide, your biceps and shoulders won’t have as much mobility or a strength output. Most of the effort will come from the lats as they work to move your arms through the pull-up. Perform this workout slowly to put more strain on the lats and build more strength.

Working out the latissimus dorsi is important for a healthy body and will help you in other workouts involving your arms. Use these lat strengthening exercises to build muscles and tone your body for more intense exercises.