11 Best Lat Exercises That Will Totally Sculpt Your Back, According To A Trainer

Add these to your routine, ASAP.

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Kathryn Wirsing

There are so many muscle groups to keep track of and hit during your workout routine Your lats (a.k.a. latissimus dorsi) shouldn't get left out. You probably don't see them on the reg, but you definitely feel them. They're the huge muscles that run from the back of your shoulders down to your hips, responsible for everything from pulling to maintaining good posture.

“The lats are the powerhouse of stability and a big part of all activities,” says Lacey Stone, CPT, celebrity fitness trainer. “The lats are so important when stabilizing the neck, shoulder, back, and hips." As if that's not enough, they are also responsible for adduction, extension, flexion, and internal rotation of the shoulder joint.

Meet the expert: Lacey Stone, CPT, is a celebrity fitness trainer who works with iFit and former Revenge Body star and is a fitness consultant for a wide range of major brands.

Sure, there's a lat pulldown machine at the gym, but there are so many ways to work them with only a set of weights. (Really!) That's where the moves below, provided by celebrity fitness trainer and Revenge Body star Lacey Stone, come in. Add them to your back workout day, or dedicate a whole routine to those oh-so-important lats right at home.

Time: 15 minutes

Equipment: Dumbbells (start with 5 to 10 pounds for beginners)

Good for: Lats

Instructions: Choose three moves below. For each move, do 20 reps, then continue to the next move. Repeat the entire three-move circuit three times total. Or incorporate them into a back workout routine.

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1
Bent-Over Row

How to:

  1. Grab your weights and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Bend forward from your hips to lower your chest toward the floor, arms hanging directly from your shoulders and palms facing toward your body.
  3. Brace your core, then pull the weights towards your rib cage, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  4. Pause, then lower back to start. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps.
2
Alternating Bent-Over Row

How to:

  1. Grab your weights and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Bend forward from your hips to lower your chest toward the floor, arms hanging directly from your shoulders and palms facing toward your body.
  3. Brace your core, then pull one weight toward your rib cage, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  4. Pause, then lower back to start. Repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps.
    3
    Underhand Bent-Over Row

    How to:

    1. Grab your weights and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
    2. Bend forward from your hips to lower your chest toward the floor, arms hanging directly from your shoulders and palms facing toward the ceiling.
    3. Brace your core, then pull the weights toward your rib cage, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
    4. Pause, then lower back to start. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps.
    4
    Single-Arm Bent-Over Row

    How to:

    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
    2. Bend forward from your hips to lower your chest toward the floor, one arm hanging directly from your shoulders and palm facing toward your body.
    3. Brace your core, then pull the weight toward your rib cage, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
    4. Pause, then lower back to start. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps on each side.
    5
    Single-Arm Underhand Bent-Over Row

    How to:

    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
    2. Bend forward from your hips to lower your chest toward the floor, one arm hanging directly from your shoulders and palm facing up, toward the ceiling.
    3. Brace your core, then pull the weight toward your rib cage, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
    4. Pause, then lower back to start. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps on each side.
    6
    Single-Leg Row

    How to:

    1. Hold a weight in your right hand, facing your body, and raise your right foot slightly behind you.
    2. Hinge forward, letting the weight hang directly under your shoulder as you lower your torso and raise your right leg until both are parallel to the floor. This is your starting point.
    3. Bring the weight to your rib cage. Pause, then slowly lower back to start. That's one rep. Do 20 reps on each side.
    7
    Bent-Over Fly

    How to:

    1. Grab a pair of weights and stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees bent.
    2. Bend forward at the hips and let your arms hang straight down from your shoulders, palms facing your body.
    3. Raise both arms out to the sides as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return to start. That's one rep. Do 20 reps.
    8
    Alternating Bent-Over Fly

    How to:

    1. Grab a pair of weights and stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees bent.
    2. Bend forward at the hips and let your arms hang straight down from your shoulders, palms facing your body.
    3. Raise one arm out to the side as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return to start. That's one rep. Do 20 reps on each side.
    9
    Superwoman

    How to:

    1. Lie facedown on the ground, with your arms and legs stretched out.
    2. Squeeze your glutes and lift your torso and legs up as far as you can.
    3. Hold for one or two seconds. Slowly return to start. That's one rep. Do 20 reps.
    10
    Alternating Superwoman

    How to:

    1. Lie facedown on the ground, with your arms and legs stretched out.
    2. Squeeze your glutes and lift your left arm and right leg up as far as you can.
    3. Hold for one or two seconds. Slowly return to start.
    4. Repeat on the opposite side. That's one rep. Do 20 reps.
    11
    Renegade Row

    How to:

    1. Assume a pushup position with your hands on the weights, arms extended, and feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
    2. Bend your right arm and raise the weight to chest level, keeping your hips and shoulders level.
    3. Lower the weight to the floor, then repeat the move by rowing the left weight. That's one rep. Do 20 reps.
    Benefits Of Lats Exercises

    Maintain spine stability. “When you think of your spine, think of lats,” says Stone. Not only do your lats provide support and strength to your shoulders and back, but they also tighten and strengthen the tiny muscles around your spine, explains Stone. Working those muscles around your spine helps to prevent injury and reduce chronic back pain, she adds.

    Prevent injury. “If the lats aren't strong, we compensate in movement that leads to pain or injury in the neck, shoulders, the back, and the hips,” says Stone. Training your lats especially targets your shoulder and arm movements which keeps your body tall, strong, and prepped for activity, reducing your risk of muscle overuse and injury.

    Boost overall strength. It’s proven that upper body strength can play a big role in reaching your fitness goals, and your lats should not be neglected. Research shows that training your upper body improves endurance and helps prevent fatigue during cardio activities. (Did you catch that runners?) Strengthening and stretching your lats is a key part of building upper-body strength, says Stone.

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