Working the latissimus dorsi

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 15, 2008 5:46 PM GMT
    I do plenty of things that should strengthen and build my lats - chin ups, dumbbell rows, the varying bridge core exercises, etc - but because of my height and yoga practice (specifically the downward dog part of sun salutes) my lats seems to stay lean and small. I would like to build some size and strength in my lats from some more midrange stability and to balance out my well developed obliques.

    Any suggestions beyond what I'm already doing?
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    Apr 15, 2008 5:58 PM GMT
    Do you do the pull down bar?...I thought that that was THE lat exercise
  • auryn

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    Apr 15, 2008 10:32 PM GMT
    I believe the stretching done from yoga keeps your muscles lean and more functional. I know the V shape is favorable, but you're doing what your body needs.

    You'll probably have to stop listening to your body and overdo the lat exercises by increasing weight and reps for awhile in order to get the look you want, but why?
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    Apr 16, 2008 1:30 AM GMT
    Wide grip pulldowns. But it took me about 5 years before I seemed to build enough strength and get the proper form in my head to finally put on some mass. I'd have an expert (with wide lats) analyze your form. I'd also play with every single bar and machine at your gym until you find the one that seems to hit them properly. I've found very small changes in grip and posture and frame of mind have very dramatic affect on how good a back workout I have.

    Lastly, something very specific, and as a result not all that likely to help you... there's a relatively new brand of cable/pulley machine out there called "Techno Gym" (could they have picked a dorkier name?). The Techno Gym version of the lat pulldown is what finally got my lats to grow. I just fits me perfectly and encourages the best form. Took me years to find it tho. Thus my encouragement to keep futzing with different pulldown equipment.

    And I don't see why you think your yoga practice will have a negative effect on muscle growth. Can you explain the physiologic mechanisms involved in this phenomenon? As my Canadian friends are fond of saying, this sounds like a load of codswollop.

    K
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    Apr 16, 2008 1:40 AM GMT
    And here I thought "latissimus dorsi" was the name of a prayer in the Latin mass.
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    Apr 16, 2008 1:43 AM GMT
    jprichva saidAnd here I thought "latissimus dorsi" was the name of a prayer in the Latin mass.


    "Most lateral of the back" .... oh yeah, that's a prayer. .... icon_lol.gif
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    Apr 16, 2008 1:46 AM GMT
    jprichva saidAnd here I thought "latissimus dorsi" was the name of a prayer in the Latin mass.


    Quisque comoedus est.

    K
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    Apr 16, 2008 2:10 AM GMT
    Had a back discussion awhile ago:

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/105019/
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    Apr 16, 2008 2:57 AM GMT
    Grrr, I searched and couldn't find anything - hence my thread.

    Thanks for the advice, although being that I don't go to a gym, some of it won't help. I already do wide grip pull UPS on my bar at home. I can DEFINITELY feel it when I do them.

    As for why, to Auryn's question, it's partly to build some extra strength for stability as I prepare to advance into a new level of inverted/elevated yoga postures.

    Postures similar to this, the side crow:
    20071106_yoga3.jpg

    which is one I can already do, but I want to go further, with raised legs, etc. I used to be able to do The Scorpion, and want to work up to it again and think stronger lats, in addition to shoulders, will assist.
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    Apr 16, 2008 4:56 AM GMT
    RunintheCity saidThanks for the advice, although being that I don't go to a gym, some of it won't help. I already do wide grip pull UPS on my bar at home. I can DEFINITELY feel it when I do them.


    Ah, well then.

    If you feel it with your wide grip pullups -- you've figured it out, so keep at them. Maybe figure out a way to add some weight to your body while you do them when they get too easy (i.e. not breaking a sweat when doing more than a dozen -- very slowly).

    Lots of loose change in your pockets? A hot date (b/f) tugging on your, uh... ... legs?

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    Apr 16, 2008 5:09 AM GMT
    Try the Dirt Farm Workout:

    Day One:

    pick rocks from the field, 2 sets of two hours
    super-setting with
    stack rocks in walls

    Day Two:
    working the pruning shears, 2 sets of two hours, super-setting with
    heaving around the power pruner, 2 sets of two hours.

    Except in the summer:
    bucking hay bales, 2 sets of 2 hours
    super-setting with
    digging irrigation ditches, 2 sets of 2 hours

    Anyway, that's how Li'l Abner did it.
    It's kinda worked for me too, but I'm not sure how Abner got those legs and arms.
  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    Apr 16, 2008 8:11 PM GMT
    From my recollection, Lats are known as the "handcuff muscles" since they shorten when you put your hands behind your back. That position you are trying to get into only partially uses lats in an isotonic way so I'm not sure it's a primary mover for that action; definitely uses delts, upper traps, pecs.

    I think if you do handstand push ups (look on RJ for best ways of how to strengthen your muscles for them) you'll be able to do the side cow in no time. Maybe shoot for slow negatives to strengthen the lats when you do them.

    Lats are primarily used for pulling in concentric contraction (shortening) so look for exercises that pull the humerus downward toward your body. I'm sure you can use those stretchy tubes to simulate many weight bearing exercises.

    (Mind you, this is all off the top of my head.)
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    Apr 16, 2008 8:26 PM GMT
    So lats are one of my stronger and larger muscles. I don't think I have ever been sore in my lats from doing traditional lifting. I got mine from swimming I would give it a try. the positive is that you will be engaging long muscle fibers and doing an exercise that will complement your yoga. The rotation of your body will engage your obliques and allow them to visually blend better into your lats.
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    Apr 16, 2008 8:54 PM GMT
    DJBens77 saidSo lats are one of my stronger and larger muscles. I don't think I have ever been sore in my lats from doing traditional lifting. I got mine from swimming I would give it a try. the positive is that you will be engaging long muscle fibers and doing an exercise that will complement your yoga. The rotation of your body will engage your obliques and allow them to visually blend better into your lats.


    First, thanks to ALL for the feedback and input!

    DJB, I used to swim all the time - back when I lived on the farm and went to Golds - and I definitely had stronger lats - but don't have pool access without gym access. Grr, I see a trend. LOL

    Auryn, I can already do the side crow, and want the lat strength more for the stability help so that all the pressure isn't on my shoulders when I'm doing the more complex asanas. I COULD do inverted push ups, but I'm afraid to do that alone at home...in case I tumble and break my neck. I'd rather not lie here on the floor slowly dying, unable to reach the phone, etc. I caused myself to blackout once doing yoga - thanks to the INTENSE pain of pulling a muscle in the back of my leg - and luckily woke 30 minutes later scared as!
  • cacti

    Posts: 273

    Apr 16, 2008 9:08 PM GMT
    I think there's been a lot of good advice, but sometimes your frame/bone structure and proportion of certain limbs will designate some muscles to be/appear smaller in size.

    I'm not saying you can't change your body or 'spot grow', but your frame has a huge part in the perceived bulk of certain muscles.

    If you're already doing the right back exercises with proper form(as iguana so eloquently described) then I think you should proceed carefully as to not throw your body out of it's balance. But I'm sure you're well aware already so best of luck.. and take some before and afters for us, k? icon_biggrin.gif
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    Apr 16, 2008 9:20 PM GMT
    NNJfitandbi saidbuy some kettlebells
    any push pull with them makes the lats grow if done correctly

    Hmmm...there is a park across the street ...*goes to google for pricing*

    cacti said and take some before and afters for us, k? icon_biggrin.gif


    You make a good point about body shape, which I'm aware of and not trying to fight against - it's more about strength than sizing. As for the photos...icon_confused.gif
  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    Apr 16, 2008 9:23 PM GMT
    Re: Inverted push ups and breaking your neck. The good folks of RJ have other ways of doing them to build up to doing full handstand push ups. Variations include assuming a downward dog position and slowly building from there until you don't need support.

    http://www.realjock.com/article/659/ the headstand to handstand push up

    I didn't mean to imply that you couldn't do the side cow, mostly meant to address your statement that you can't do them like you want to. Excuse my senior moment. My boyfriend didn't give me much of a chance for a full night's sleep; the horny little tart.

    Anyway, as for not having a gym, if you have tubes or those long stretch bands you should still be able to do swim strokes and feel resistance. No excuses, get to work! (yeah, i'm one to talk. i haven't gone to my workout because i'm still drained.)

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 16, 2008 9:26 PM GMT
    Auryn saidsupport.
    1
    http://www.realjock.com/article/659/ the headstand to handstand push up


    2
    Anyway, as for not having a gym, if you have tubes or those long stretch bands you should still be able to do swim strokes and feel resistance. No excuses, get to work! (yeah, i'm one to talk. i haven't gone to my workout because i'm still drained.)



    1. I saw that. I'm still afraid of doing them at home alone. I already do downward dog push ups, but that is mostly shoulders.

    2 Tubes for swim strokes...that I had not thought of. I have some tubes.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Apr 18, 2008 10:07 AM GMT
    Lats are the hardest part for me to get any gains, but If you are able I would say try rowing. I have never ever seen guys on crew with small lats!!