Do This ONE THING for Wider Lats!

If you want to build wider lats and get that notable v-taper shape to your torso, then you will want to watch this back exercise video. The key to getting a wider back is to build up the lats and let their anatomical alignment realize its true potential. This pulldown variation is one of the easiest ways to target the lat muscles specifically to get them broader and wider quickly.

This is called the Tight Elbow Pulldown. What it does is it gets the elbows out in front of the body as far as possible, minimizing the contribution of the upper back and mid scapular muscles and maximizing the work of the lats. You’ll want to stand to do this version of the lat pulldown exercise.

The key here is to use a handle like the v-handle that lets you get your elbows as close to each other as possible.

Keep your hands facing each other and grab one handle with each hand. Get those elbows pointing straight ahead and squeeze them together the entire time. The movement of the arms out in front of the body puts a greater stretch on the lats, which have an attachment in the upper arm.

Start by pulling the handle down towards the upper abs. You want to feel as if you are pulling down as well as tilting it forward. The slight movement forward will help to tie in the serratus anterior as well, which is a muscle that is closely related to the lats in terms of their anatomical location on the torso. When you can activate both you will feel a deep hollowing out of the lats from the front side back.

The key to really increasing the ability of this back exercise to get wider lats is to focus not just on how you are pulling it down but also on how you are returning the weight to the start. This is where the heavy focus on slow eccentric training works its magic. Don’t just let the weights return to the top quickly. Slow down their return to the top. Make the lats feel as if they are ripping from the bone (of course, don’t actually let that happen!) and you will know that you are doing this right.

The eccentric muscle stretch is one of the greatest ways to stimulate muscle hypertrophy and bigger lats. In order to get a wider back, as I said, you need to be sure that you are doing things that are going to grow your lats. The larger your lats get, the more of the cobra-like overlap you are going to have when looked at from either the back or the front.

I like to do these in sets to failure.

3-4 sets after pullups or a traditional lat pulldown is perfect for getting this back exercise to help you grow wide lats.

If you were to put these into a total body workout or a pull workout focused on training your back and biceps, you’d want to make sure you did these secondary to your bigger compound lifts. The reason for this is that this back exercise allows you to stay lat focused. Exercises like the deadlift are going to train your lats but really work the entire back as well.

When you want and need your most energy to perform your big lifts you will want to do those first. Here, since this is more of a targeted exercise for wider lats, you will want to do these later in the workout. Don’t worry about using lighter weights to do this exercise. The focus shouldn’t be on how much weight you use here but rather keeping the tension on the lats in the way that I’m describing in order to get the desired response – wider lats.

There are other great back exercises for building a wider back and getting that v-taper shape. Some of them, as pointed out here before will focus on a different muscle all together, the teres major. While it certainly can and will contribute to more overall back width, the lats are always going to be the muscle group you can make the most immediate impact on if you train it directly and force growth there.

Consider this one of the most underutilized back exercises for wider lats that you can do and make sure you give it a try in your next back workout.

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54 thoughts on “Do This ONE THING for Wider Lats!

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    • Huepfpuschen says:

      @Nik Petrovic Well I seem to be too stupid for that explanation.
      Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t extending the cable or standing on a dumbbell still only make sense if you’re too short?

      The shorter you are, the closer the handle has to move towards the floor, hence the more the cable has to extend out.
      If you’re too short for the cable to extend to the point where it ends around your mid-section (which is required for this exercise), you would either have to set the pulley to a lower position or stand on an elevation (like a dumbbell) to make yourself taller, so the cable can reach your mid-section by extending by the same length it has before.

      However if you’re too tall, the distance between the highest setting of the pulley and your mid-section would be SMALLER than with an average or lower height, therefore the cable has to extend out LESS.

      Elevating yourself by using a dumbbell would only shorten the distance between the cable’s “origin” and your mid-section even further (in some cases even to the point where the distance is too low for the exercise to even work) and change the line of resistance (the pull becomes more and more horizontal the higher you stand in relation to the pulley).

      Wouldn’t elevating yourself by standing on a dumbbell be nothing else than making yourself taller than you already are? And if you’re too tall for an exercise, making yourself even taller would simply not make sense

  2. kari jackson says:

    Jeff doesn’t mention it but when doing this exercise try your best to keep your arms at roughly 90 degrees. This keeps tension on the lats constant.

    • Hitler Kun says:

      He literally said to squeeze your elbows so they don’t go away from each other which means 90 degree

    • XXX 666 says:

      @anab0lic thats complete bullshit sry there are literally pro bodybuilders who don’t isolate their backs. Also I did canoe sprint for about 8 years… U use ur arms as well but your back fails first and in my opinion it’s one of the best ways to train your lats. You can even do rows and barely use ur arms. Why would everybody row and pull if you can’t even get close to failure?

    • XXX 666 says:

      @anab0lic no hate, but it seems like you just watch a ton of YouTube videos but don’t have that much experience. How many years did you lift?

    • anab0lic says:

      @XXX 666 I’ve been lifting for 20 years buddy. And for many years my back was my weakest bodypart for the reasons i outline above. Show me a bodybuilder that has better lats that Dorian Yates… now look into what machine he used to build those lats. 😉

  3. L dx says:

    This is especialy usefull in the “DB LAT PULLOVERS” in the PERFECT PULL workout. If I don’t squeeze my elbows there, my triceps take over.

    • Da GingerBreadMan says:

      “DB LAT PULLOVER”? What’s that? Never heard of this “perfect pull”. (Genuinely curious, don’t misconstrue my tone haha)

    • Edgar Castañeda says:

      @Da GingerBreadMan Jeff has a PPL (push, pull, legs) split series of videos and in the pull workout he includes this lat pullovers

    • Mayobhav Vasistha says:

      Hey man I’m just a beginner. So I feel the tension around your scapula while doing the pullovers. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Bob Halt says:

      @Mayobhav Vasistha lower weight and get the weight further away from body till you feel the tension shifting to the lats, i wouldnt focus so much on this exercise as a beginner as its quite complex and more of an stretch excercise

  4. Rick Deckard says:

    When demonstrating how to do a proper rep, probably best not to have too many edits.

    • Sean Z says:

      @Bill Cosby If it were that “simple,” Jeff wouldn’t have made this video with so many cues flying around.

    • Bill Cosby says:

      Love that everyone assumes I dont work out. Why would this video be in my recommended of I didn’t?

  5. Blaine Conley says:

    This looks very similar as the straight-arm pulldown, but with a 90° bend in the elbows?

  6. Joseph Fuller says:

    Dude cgi the muscle is so great. For me it helps to visualize that movement in the muscle to make a better mind/muscle connection.
    As always you’re a rockstar

  7. Sam says:

    Id Love to see jeff do some calisthenics moves like the front lever, back lever, planche etc he looks like the type of guy to be able to pull off those movements

  8. M_117 - Integrated shadow lobster says:

    Brilliant, thanks Jeff (and Jessie)
    This looks like it also gives a few other muscles a workout too so even better.

  9. blackkeys says:

    Hey, I want to ask about the chest exercise “around the world” and its variations, Thanks

  10. diodechip says:

    Jeff, you confused me at the end of the vid. If you’re too tall, make yourself taller? Please elaborate. My weak muscled mind can’t picture the reasoning.

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