If you’re looking for exercises to increase the strength and mobility in your latissimus dorsi at home, this article is for you. Here, I’ve shared the five bodyweight lat exercises that you can do using your bodyweight only. These exercises will help you strengthen your lats and lower back, improve balance and muscle coordination, and correct poor posture.
Who can do bodyweight exercises for lats? Bodyweight workouts are low-impact, easy to perform and help strengthen lats without putting stress on your lower back, so people of all age groups and fitness levels can do them at home.
The Anatomy and Functions of Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)
The lats are large and broad muscles located on the back of the upper body and run from your armpits to your lower back. They help with posture and provide stability to your shoulder, arms, and chest. And it’s one of the main muscles responsible for the V shape of the back.
The lats engage when you pull or adduct something, for example, during pullups and pulldowns.
They help you lift your body weight up, protect and stabilize your spine, shoulder, and lower back and support good posture when you stand or sit.
There are numerous exercises you can do to forge your lats with multiple types of equipment, such as barbells, dumbbells, and resistance bands. However, this article is primarily for those who work out at home using their own body weight.
5 Best Bodyweight Lat Exercises For Strength and Mobility
- Superman Pull
- Superman External Arm Rotation
- Prone Y Raises
- Superman Inside Pull with a Towel
- Prone Around The World
These exercises are identical to one another, but they help target your lats in slightly different ways. So you can do them alternatively on your back day.
1. Bodyweight Superman Pull
|Mobility and Flexibility||Beginner|
The superman pull is one strength and mobility exercise that works on your latissimus dorsi, lumbar spine, and other posterior chain muscles.
This is a super effective exercise for all fitness enthusiasts because it strengthens multiple muscles simultaneously, reduces lower back pain as well as increases shoulder mobility to some extent. The best thing is it is low impact and requires no equipment.
How to perform:
- Lie on your stomach with your face down and arms straight in front of your head, in a Y shape.
- Lift your face and upper chest off the floor, and bending your elbows pull your arms in until your lats are entirely engaged.
- Squeezing your lats, pause for a moment, and then extend your arms. This will be your first repetition.
- Do as many sets and reps as possible.
2. Superman External Arm Rotation
|Mobility and Flexibility||Intermediate|
The superman external arm rotation is one of the isometric back exercises that stabilize the latissimus dorsi, strengthen the lower back, and help improve posture.
You can also do this exercise on your back day during the pre or post workout stretching.
How to do it:
- Lie prone on the floor with your arms straight at your sides and palms down.
- Lift your face and feet off the floor and raise your arms up as high as possible so you can feel the contraction in your back muscles.
- Hold in this position for five seconds, return and repeat.
- Perform two to three sets of five to six reps.
3. Prone Y Raises
|Strength and Mobility||Intermediate|
The prone Y raise is one of the variations of the superman exercise. It strengthens posterior chain muscles, including the latissimus dorsi, and helps improve flexibility, muscle cooperation, and posture.
However, it is not easy as it looks. The prone Y raises require decent flexibility and mobility to perform effectively.
- Lie on the floor with your face down and arms extended in a Y shape.
- Brace your core, glutes, and hamstrings, and raise your torso as high as possible.
- Pause for three to five seconds at the top. You’ll feel the contraction in your lats and other back muscles.
- Now, lower your chest and arms on the floor. That is your one rep.
- Aim for two sets of six to eight reps.
4. Superman Inside Pull with a Towel
|Strength and Mobility||Beginner|
The towel pull is another bodyweight strengthening exercise for lats and other back muscles, such as traps, infraspinatus, and lumber spinae.
You can alternate this movement with other superman pull exercises to train your lats efficiently.
How to do it:
- Lay down on the floor with your face down and legs straight.
- Grasp a towel with an overhand grip, your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Extend your arms in front of you until they are straight.
- Lift your chest off the floor and pull the towel inside until you feel the full contraction in your lats.
- Pause for a couple of seconds and extend your arms to the start.
- Perform three to four sets of eight to ten reps with 60 seconds of intervals between sets.
5. Prone Around The World
|Mobility and Flexibility||Beginner|
Lying around the world is a variation of the superman exercise. It helps increase stability in your back and shoulder muscles as well as improve flexibility.
You can perform this movement with other bodyweight lats workouts to strengthen your back.
How to do lying prone around the world:
- Lie on your stomach with your arms extended straight in front of you.
- Lift your arms and chest off the floor and brace your glutes and thighs.
- Bring your arms all the way from overhead to above your lower back.
- Pause for a couple of seconds. You’ll feel the contraction in your back muscles.
- Return your arms to the starting position. That’s one rep.
- Do as many reps and sets as you like.
FAQs About Bodyweight Lats Exercises
Do Bodyweight Exercises Build lats?
The above bodyweight lat exercises do not grow muscles. However, they help increase mobility and flexibility in your latissimus dorsi, improve muscle coordination, correct posture, and strengthen the lower back. If you want to build thicker and wider lats, you should lift weights in the gym.
How to use These Exercises in a training program?
How often should you perform bodyweight lats workout?
Bodyweight lat exercises are low-impact and less taxing on your lower back. So doing them two to three times a week is fine.
When should you start weighted exercises for lats?
If you want to grow your lats and make your back looks bigger and wider, you should start weight training because bodyweight exercises won’t help you achieve that.
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