Remember, there are multiple muscle groups within your upper back. Some of the bigger groups are: Trapezius (upper, middle, lower), Rhomboids and latissimus dorsi. But if you truly want a huge muscular back, remember function is more important than appearance. It is a common misconception. In order to obtain a strong, large and functional back you must hit ALL the muscle groups. The purpose of this post is to focus on the “lat spread”. In order to do this, one must know what the latissimus dorsi does. So, what does it do? I’m glad you asked. The latissimus dorsi originates from T6-T12, L1-L5 and sacral vertebrae and inserts into the humerus (arm bone). The lats are the most powerful with overhead activities! The specific actions it performs are as follows:

1) shoulder extension

2) Adduction and internal rotation of the shoulder

3) Hyper-extension of the spine (muscles on back side) as in lifting

4) Contributes to strong expiration, sneezing, coughing and deep inhalation

So, HOW do I get them bigger? HOW do I get them stronger? My favorite exercise, First, you need two cable columns (the adjustable ones). Each cable column needs a single-handle attachment. Set the weight to an amount that you think you can handle for about 10 repetitions. Grasp each handle and kneel on the floor (place a yoga mat to protect your knees). Keep your abs tight. Now, this is the point where we combine all the motions of the lats in one smooth motion. Begin with palms facing upwards (And YES, you should be grasping the handles, I just want you palms to be facing upwards). This means you are starting in external rotation. Next, begin to pull towards your ribs (shoulder adduction). As you are pulling towards you begin to rotate both of you wrists (shoulder internal rotation). When you hit the bottom of the exercise, squeeze your shoulder blades together and slightly bring your elbows behind your ribs (shoulder extension). As you return to the start of the exercise, reverse each of the steps until you are at your starting point. Repeat 10 repetitions and complete 3-4 sets.

Dr. JEST