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It is probably not as popular as exercises for the yours abs, arms or shoulders but in order to fully balance your physique as you work out you would be wise to pay attention to building your lats (latissimus dorsi).

Your lats are the largest muscles in your upper body and perform a range of different functions. People who perform more pushing than pulling exercises can run a risk of overdeveloping their chest and shoulders without paying attention to their upper back, which can yield a strange, hunched posture.

How best to run your lats through their paces?


One of the core exercises in any routine, and also the cheapest. Nothing impacts your lats quite like the traditional pull-up. Best practice is to hang from the pull-up bar with your arms shoulder width apart. Brace your core and slowly pull up, making sure to keep your back straight until your neck is at the height of the bar and then slowly and measuredly lower yourself to the initial position.


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Do you struggle with pull ups? Here’s some tips to help you dominate this workout. ⠀ .⠀ 1. As soon as your form begins to worsen, stop your set, rest and start a new one. There’s no point carrying out your set just for the sake of finishing it. Doing so will not improve your strength and in most cases, exhaust your body. ⠀ 2. Initiate with your lats. This is where you will generate a lot of your power to help with the exercise.⠀ 3. Use a variety of rep ranges to help with both strength and endurance.⠀ 4. Negative pull ups will help you in the beginning if you struggle with regular pull ups. Don’t ignore them!⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #themaclife #health #mcgregorfast #conormcgregor #training #fitness #motivation #goals #trainhard #workhard #beastmode #thenotoriousmma #workrate #workoutadvice #workouts #advice #motivation

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Lat pull downs will impact your, well, lats — the clue is very much in the name. These machines will be present in any gym worth its salt, so make sure to find the appropriate weight for you and remember to keep your back straight (!) and to release the bar with control after a full extension. The release is just as important as the initial pull, remember.


This one is the most satisfying. Medicine ball slams will fully activate your lats, so find a good weight for you (12kg might be a good start). Squat down to pick up the ball, raise above your head and extend your arms and SLAM it back down to the ground. Rinse and repeat. As with practically everything you will ever do in the gym, please keep your back straight.


As intense a cardio workout as it is beneficial to your back and a nice change from the pulling and slamming we have mentioned to this point. There is an adjustable speed gauge at the front of your machine which can dictate the resistance the machine will give you. Normal rowing conditions in water would be somewhere in the middle of the sliding adjustor.

Things to remember are to keep your elbows tucked, focus on a breathing pattern and, yes, you know what to do with your back. 10 minutes on the rower will be a good way to get started and will be beneficial at the start of the workout as it will get your heart pumping and a sweat going.


The best part of this one is that you get to lie down while doing it but because you will be holding a dumbbell directly over your head, please make sure to pick a weight which you are confident you can handle.

Lie on a bench, your head and back completely flat, and your feet planted. Hold one or two dumbbells over your head, extended above your chest and lower the dumbbells until its roughly at the same level as your head — and repeat. If you feel any discomfort in your shoulder it is a sign that either the weight is too high or that you need to spend time working on your shoulder’s range of motion.


A consistent routine of the above should produce dividends, particularly when coupled with a healthy diet and a more extensive plan to take in different muscle groups. Your lats are an often overlooked part of  a workout regime. Don’t forget the mantra: Strong Lats, Strong Everything.