Do you want to cultivate optimal lower back strength and a V-tapered physique? Here are 5 best lower lat exercises to help achieve your goal.
If you are looking to build a dense, chiseled back, lower lat exercises are imperative for your workout routine.
Lower lat is the lower part of a larger muscle group, called latissimus dorsi that spans the majority of your lower posterior thorax. As part of the broad, flat muscle, the lower lat plays a major role in spine, shoulder, and upper arm stabilization.
Many lifters have trouble getting lower lat definition due to inadequate range of motion, which is why you need to consciously program lower lat workout into your routine to ensure balanced development of the upper and lower back.
In this blog, we bring you the top five lower lat exercises, along with some cool and crucial tricks for the best results:
Key Tricks for Targeting Your Lower Lats
While most back exercises involve latissimus dorsi, lower lat is often left less developed as lifters tend to cut their range of motion short.
To counter the problem, here are some key tips for lower lat exercises:
Tuck Your Elbows In
Lat muscles originate from the spine, extending around the torso, and then insert into the upper arm bone, i.e., the humerus. Tucking your elbows inwards flexes the lower lat, bringing it closer to the torso, and the resultant stress naturally strengthens the muscle.
Additionally, elbow tucking also restricts movement of biceps, trapezius and other upper body muscles, further engaging the lower lat. The trick facilitates a fuller range of motion, consequently leading to better muscle activation.
Go For the Underhand Grip
Grip defines the biomechanics of an exercise. Underhand grip restricts the movement of the deltoids (group of three shoulder muscles) which encourages lower lat involvement.
Furthermore, the upward-facing palm leads to inward rotation of the humerus (upper arm bone), which allows lats to actively contribute through the entire range of motion.
Note that underhand grip is relatively more stressful for biceps and elbow joints, which can be a massive problem for beginners. Therefore, before jumping to any variations, it is better to first master the form with the traditional overhead grip.
5 Best Lower Lat Exercises For a Bigger Back
Following are the five best lower lat exercises for a well-defined back:
Deadlift is the classic strength-training exercise that engages a multitude of muscle groups. It primarily focuses on extending your back, thus engaging the spine. Since latissimus dorsi originates from the spine, deadlifts automatically activate lower lats.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to performing barbell deadlift:
- Stand and position your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward or slightly outward.
- Place a barbell in the middle of your feet, ensuring the bars are close to your shins.
- Bend your hip and knees to lower your body to the bar. Grip the bar using an overhand grip. You can also go for a mixed (supinated and pronated) grip with one palm facing toward you and one facing away.
- Keeping your spine straight, pull your chest up and shoulders back. Engage your core to stabilize the spine. Make sure your hips are slightly higher than your knees and lower than your shoulders.
- Keeping the bar close to your body, push through your heels and stand up until you are upright with a neutral spine and fully extended hips. Hold the position for a few seconds.
- To lower the weight, start by pushing your hips back. Then hinge your hips and knees, until the bar is at the ground. This completes one rep.
Maintaining proper form throughout the workout, perform your desired number of reps. If you’re a beginner, make sure to start with lighter weight, and practice the technique before increasing the load.
Dumbbell Row to Hips
Dumbbell row to hips is a compound exercise that works most of the major back muscles. It is based on natural pulling movements driven by lower lats, which naturally adds definition to the involved muscles.
Here’s how to do the exercise to work lower lats:
- Place a dumbbell on the ground, so it is parallel and next to a flat bench.
- Stand next to the bench with your knees and feet shoulder-width apart.
- Kneel so your left knee and left hand are on the bench for support. Your back should be straight and in line with the ground. The right foot should be on the floor, supporting the position.
- Using your right hand, grasp the dumbbell with an overhand grip. Keep your right arm fully extended, allowing the dumbbell to hang straight at the side of your body.
- Maintaining the position, engage your core, and pull the dumbbell up towards your right hip, keeping your elbow close to the body. Make sure to recruit and clench the lower lats when pulling the weight.
- When the dumbbell is close to your hips, hold the position, keeping your lower lats squeezed for a few seconds.
- To reverse the movement, extend your arm, relax your lats, and bring the dumbbell down to its starting position. This completes one rep.
Perform the desired number of reps, and then switch to the other side.
Low Pulley Row
Low pulley row is an effective exercise that targets lower lats. Apart from leading to a better posture and increased upper body strength, the exercise is also easy on the joints, and is therefore great for people with bone and joint pain.
Here’s how it is performed:
- Start by attaching a V-bar or wide-grip handle to a low pulley cable machine.
- Sit on a bench or the floor, facing the machine. Keep your feet on the footrests, and knees slightly bent.
- Fully extend your arms, with your hands shoulder-width apart, and then grab the bar with an overhand grip. If required, adjust the seat and handle attachment.
- Once everything is set up, sit upright. Keeping your back straight, pull your shoulders back, and chest up.
- In rowing motion, pull the handle towards your hips, keeping your elbows close to the body. During the pull, make sure to contract your lower lats.
- Once the handle is close to your hips, hold the position for a few seconds. Then extend your arms again to place the handle back on the machine. This completes one rep.
Make sure to bend your back during the exercise. As a beginner, consciously engage your core muscles to prevent any lower back injury.
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
Wide grip lat pulldown is another crucial lower lat exercise that can help you achieve the ideal V-shaped aesthetic.
Here’s how to do it:
- Start by adjusting the weight on the machine to an appropriate resistance.
- Sit on the lat pulldown machine bench with your feet flat on the ground, securing your knees under the provided knee pads. Keep your back straight, chest up, and shoulders pulled back.
- Grab the bar with a firm overhand grip, and slightly lean your torso.
- While engaging your core and squeezing your lower lats, pull the bar down towards your upper chest. When the bar is near the nipple line, pause to feel the contraction in your lower back and torso.
- To reverse the position, slowly extend your arms, and finish the rep by placing the bar back on the machine.
When performing wide grip lat pulldown, make sure to use a weight that offers challenging resistance, while also allowing proper form and adequate range of motion.
Seated Band Row
Seated band row develops lats and rhomboids using a resistance band.
Here’s how it is performed:
- Find a sturdy bench and place it in front of an anchored pole. To secure the resistance band, attach it to the pole from one end.
- Sit on the bench, facing the anchor point. With both hands, reach for the free end of the resistance band while keeping your knees bent, feet flat on ground, and back straight.
- Grab the end with both hands, so that your palms face each other.
- With arms extended towards the pole, engage your core, and then pull the band towards your hips. Make sure to keep your elbows close to the body throughout the movement.
- Once your hands are close to the hips, fully squeeze your lower lats to maximize the tension. Hold the position for some time.
- Gradually extend your arms to return the resistance band to its starting position. This marks one rep.
Perform the desired number of reps, while maintaining a good posture. Be mindful of keeping the motion controlled at the end of the rep, so the band doesn’t snap back to its position.
How To Structure Lower Lat Exercises?
A workout is always tailored to your fitness goals and comfort level. When planning your lower lat exercises, it is paramount to program a balanced sequence that places adequate stress on the target muscles while also allowing enough room for recovery.
Here are some basic tips to structure an effective lower lat exercises routine:
- Start with a five to 10-minute light cardio to warm-up.
- Have a dedicated lower back workout routine. Make sure to have a good mix of compound exercises and the ones solely focused on lower-lats. In compound exercises, choose the ones that allow full range of motion to properly activate the lower lat.
- Perform three to four sets of each exercise, with eight to 10 reps in each set.
- Rest for one to two minutes between each set to fully recover.
When it comes to a well-developed back, the lower latissimus dorsi muscles are a key element. So, whether you want to boost your lower back strength, or aim for a V-tapered physique, integrate these lower lat exercises in your regular workout routine and yield noticeable results in no time.