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Text and pictures: Álvaro Oyanguren

IG: @alvaro_vikingo_

Some people have it easier than others when it comes to having an upside-down triangle body, especially if they’re not blessed with a narrow waistline. What’s the solution? Exercising that area more!

Like everything in life, whenever we want to correct or improve something, we just need to put a little more effort in it. And that’s what will bring you to having a dedicated day to working out your lats, separated from your regular back workout. That’s how you’ll get those desired wings that make your back bigger and more aesthetic.

What we want to do is dedicate one day to working out our lats, and another to rowing exercises to develop the remaining back muscles.

Working out your lats can be achieved by doing pull-ups, lats pulldown with a narrow and wide grip, and lats machine.

Pull-up exercises are those exercises where we lift our whole body upwards, hanging from a horizontal bar, usually found close to pulley machines, or also found in pull ups dedicated machines, where you can use a counterweight to make the movement easier. When doing the exercise with no counterweight, keep in mind that your knees should bend the least possible as we go up, in order to make the pull-up harder.  The most daring ones can tie a plate to their lifting belt, though it’s a practice that should be left for people who have been working out for a while.

The lat pulldown is the typical exercise that can be done sitting under a pulley, using a neutral grip bar. We’ll be pulling the bar closer to our chest, keeping our shoulders retracted, straight back, slightly inclined backwards and slowly lower the bar. It’s important to remember to bring the bar to your chest, not behind your head, as doing so is highly discouraged by experts, as it could lead to shoulder injuries and rotary cuff syndrome. It’s a very harmful movement and must be avoided.

We’ll do the same movement, only using a double handle that’s usually used for rows. The exercise follows the same dynamic, but we’ll feel a notable difference in which muscles will work, in this case the inner muscles will be more engaged.

We will then proceed with a guided machine lat pulldown. It’s better to leave this after the other exercises as the back will already feel tired, and by being a guided exercise it will result easier and more comfortable.

Another good candidate for lats development is the straight arms pulldown: without using too much weight, we will grab the bar and, lightly bending our elbows we will lower the bar from head height until it touches our body.

Parallel feet, lightly bent knees, straight back, without arching, retroverted hips and squeezing your glutes. The exercise is very similar to a shoulder front raise, the only difference being the fact that we’re applying force as we go down, instead of when we go up.

The next day will be a back day, in which we will execute for different kinds of rows: T-bar wide grip, double D row handles, row machine and dumbbells row.

When performing a row with a wide grip, we must remember not to arch our back. The torso must always be straight when we’re pulling the handle closer to our body. Our knees will be semi-flexed, our feet parallel and flexing your glutes.

When using a double handle, the grip will be narrower, we will follow the same guidelines as before, noticing a major engagement of the muscles closer to our backbone.

Dumbbell rows are performed over a bench, which can be either horizontal or slightly inclined. We will place one hand and the same side knee on the bench, balancing our body. The free hand will hold the dumbbell, our arm straight down. The movement is composed of two parts: lifting our elbow and slowly turning our back into the direction of the dumbbell. The movement must be done in a way that allows the arm to form a right angle in the elbow area, remember not to arch your back and squeeze your glutes.

These exercises will help us grow our lats, working them separately, and making them much more visible.

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