Want to work on your back? Try these five best exercises for lats. (Image via Pexels / Cesar Perez)

5 Best Exercises For Lats To Build A Wider Back

Before diving into the best exercises for lats, you should know a little bit about this area on your back.

Your lats are located on either side of your mid-back and make up the largest muscle group in your upper body. In other words, not working this muscle can lead to an imbalanced physique that’s more likely to be round at the top and flat at the bottom. But don’t worry — you can work on these muscles with these five exercises for lats.


Five Best Dumbbell Lat Exercises To Try

Here are some of the exercises for lats to try:


1) Bent-Over Row

The bent-over row is one of the best exercises for lats that helps in building a wider back. The lats work by pulling the elbows into your sides and keeping your shoulders back.


To perform a bent-over row:

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • With your chest facing the floor, hinge forward at the hips.
  • Let your arms hang toward the ground as you pull your shoulder blades back and row up with your elbows.
  • Open up your chest as you squeeze your lats, keeping your shoulders back as you lower back down.
Exercises for lats helps in improving your posture and builds a wider back. (Image via Unsplash / Anastase Maragos)


2) Reverse Fly

Another exercise for lats is the reverse fly, which works the lat muscles in an eccentric contraction. This means that the muscles are lengthened as they contract, producing a greater range of motion than a concentric contraction.

To do a reverse fly:

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells.
  • Stand with your feet hips-width apart, knees bent, and core engaged.
  • Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs with palms facing each other.
  • Lift arms up and back until they are in line with shoulders.
  • Lower to starting position and repeat 10 to 15 times.

These exercises for lats targets your latissimus dorsi muscles effectively. (Image via Unsplash / Aaron Barrera)

3) Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

When performing a single-arm dumbbell row, focus on using your back muscles rather than your arms. Your elbow should be close to your side, not pointing out to the side. These exercises for lat will target your latissimus dorsi muscle more effectively.

To do a single-arm dumbbell row:

  • Stand with a dumbbell in one hand, with your palm facing your body.
  • Keep your arm extended at your side, then lean forward, and put your torso parallel to the floor.
  • Use a bench for support and keep your other arm down for balance.
  • Engage your core muscles to keep your torso stable.
  • As you drive down with your elbow, pretend that you're putting it in your back pocket.
  • Keep your arm close to your side as you lower the dumbbell.

4) Renegade Row

If you're looking to add more core training to your routine without having to do a bunch of specialized exercises, the renegade row is a great option for you.


To perform the renegade row:

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your hips, palms facing each other.
  • Keeping your body straight and your back flat, bend at the hips and row one dumbbell towards your hip.
  • Lower it back down to the ground and repeat with the other side.

Dumbbells are a versatile gym equipment. (Image via Unsplash / Alora Griffiths)

5) Dumbbell Yates Row

The Yates row is named after Dorian Yates, a retired bodybuilder and former Mr. Olympia champion. It trains the back while reducing lower-back demands.

This exercise for lats is a great option for those with strength goals, and it can be used to train the lower rep ranges.

To perform a dumbbell yates row:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding two dumbbells with an underhand grip.
  • Lean forward until your back is at a 45-55 degree angle from the floor.
  • Pull the dumbbells toward your hips until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Lower back to arm extension and repeat.

When it comes to building a wider back, there are many popular exercises for lats. All of them can be performed following the basic principles of a good pullup--shoulder-elevated and with a full range of motion. Add these exercises to your routine, and they will surely help you to build some wider lats.


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Edited by
Susrita Das
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