Hey. Hi. Hello!
To all my new readers around here, welcome! I’m Lane (get it, miscelLANEous?! Clever, I know, let’s move on). I post twice a week, Monday’s for makeup and all things Cruelty Free, and Friday for everyone’s favorite topic now that it’s summer: diet and exercise! I did indeed graduate from college, but that doesn’t mean my grammar is going to be anything above passable. I’d like to consider these posts to be more from the heart as opposed to something thoughtout, ya feel?
If you’ve read the title, which I’m assuming you have before clicking on this post, then you’ll know what we’re tackling today. I feel like it’s a pretty even split amongst all the fitness influencers that I follow between favoring back days and favoring leg days. What’s my preference? Well, I like them both, which is why I’ve decided back is the next muscle chain we’re covering after the booty!
Before we get started on the exericses, I’d like to dispell some myths here, and spit some facts. I bet plenty of people who are just getting into weight lifting will accept booty excercises with open arms, because who doesn’t want a booty that rivals any Kardashian?! But when it comes to other muscle groups, that can be harder to convince people to adopt. The back, however, holds one little secret, and that is the lat muscles aka the latissimus dorsi.
The lats, which is that muscle that basically sits right beneath your armpit, is the key to giving off the appearance of having a smaller wasit. I personally don’t carry any extra fat around my stomach or midline, which means my waist is as slim as it’s going to get. Focusing on back movements that are going to help your lats grow give off the appearance of the “dorito” body that all super-heros have and basically give your waist a much for slim look. But don’t worry, I’ve been training heavy back days for a while now, and I don’t look unproportional, so please let’s all not be afraid to lift weights! NOW, time for some exercises (with added pics of buff dudes for both practical reasons and your viewing pleasure, you’re welcome)!!
Wide Grip Pull Up
Otherwise known as a regular pull-up, the wide grip pull-up have long been a gold standard in excerise. I know so many people, myself included, who have “do a pull-up” on the top of their exercise goals. In comparison to a close grip pull-up, wide grip pull-ups add an increased emphasis onto the lat muscles as opposed to the chest. During the movement, you should feel your shoulder blades coming together like angel wings as my old barre instructor liked to say. If you’re unable to do an unassisted pull-up yet, there are two modifications – one that utilizing the assisted pull-up machine, the other where you utilize a large resistance band that uses tension forces to help you pull yourself up.
Most gym’s might not have an assisted pull-up machine, but they sure as shit will have a seated row machine! If not, don’t worry you can use the cable machine and just pop a squat on the ground (or on a towel). The most common version of the seated row is the close grip row. When I do this variation, I don’t feel it at all honestly, but I’m sure for a normal person they feel quite a bit of isolation along their lower lats. Another variation of the close grip row is utilizing the rope. This is great for a warm-up/activation exercise as it really works the deeper stabilizer muscles along the posterior chain. I, however, prefer a wide grip row, which incorporates not only the lats, but almost the whole back chain, so it’s great to throw into a workout to spice things up.
Lat Pull Down
Like the seated row, most gyms are going to have a lat pulldown machine, too. BUT AGAIN IF NOT USE THE CABLE MACHINES!!! It took me a while doing this exercise before I was able to feel it in my lats, because I spent too much time focusing on keeping my shoulders down and in place, but that’s besides the point. The traditional grip for a lat pull down is a wide grip, which is what I use. Other’s will use a close grip, but much like in the seated row, I don’t feel any muscles working with this grip. My favorite way to spice things up a little is doing a single-single-double rep set where you pull down to one side, then to the other, then do a traditional pull. You’re welcome.
Bent Over Rows
You’ll all be glad to know these are movements you don’t need any machines for, just some dumbells and maybe a barbell. Ok, and maybe a cable machine if you’re me. My gym in my apartment has the cable machine on one floor, and the dumb bells on another floor, so I sometimes do wide grip bent over rows on the cable machine as part of a superset. However, the most traditional is either a bent over barbell row, or a single arm bent over row. Like most of the moves here, they’re great for targeting the lats. Most people tell you to keep your elbows close to your body during the movement, but I keep mine out a little wider because either my lats are so undertrained, or I have too much lat and I can’t do close grip movements. Do what makes your lats happy I always say (this is the first time I’ve said that).
Straight Bar Pull Down
This last one is more of an accessory movement. Like I mentioned in my glute post, I superset a compound movement (like a lat pull down or a pull up) with an accessory work, like the straight bar pull down. A lot of instagram people tend to post a lot of really cool back movements that fall under the accessory work category (Whitney Simmons is my favorite, honestly true goals). I love this movement, because after a lat-heavy movement like a lat pulldown, something like this definitely helps to burn out my lats a little more. I’ll sometimes incorporate a kayak row movement into it but pulling to one side, then the other as if you’re rowing a kayak.
WELL, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Hopefully you try some of these movements out, or your trainer forces you to try these movements out. We can all start working towards growing those lats on the quest for the instagram booty, ya feel me?! If you have anything you’re dying to know about for fitness or nutrition, or want some workout plans or meal plans or just want to talk or anything LMK I’m lonely and always around!!!
Until next time.