ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Building a Broader Back

Updated on January 31, 2012
Photography by Linden Laserna
Photography by Linden Laserna

The latissimus dorsi (aka The Lats) is responsible for extension, transverse extension, flexion, adduction and internal rotation actions of the shoulder joint.

The action of the lats draws the upper arm downward and backward and rotates it inward (as illustrated in the downstroke in swimming the 'Australian crawl'). In climbing it joins with the pectoral and abdominal muscles to pull the body upward. The two latissimus dorsi muscles also assist in respiration by raising the lower ribs.

The latissimus dorsi is the widest and most powerful muscle of the back. Properly trained its what gives bodybuilders the sought after V taper.

Kinesiology & Physiology

Generally speaking, all types of chins and pulldowns promote width, while most bent over rowing exercises give you thickness in the middle of your back.

One Arm Dumbbell Row

Place your left knee and left arm on a flat bench for support while you grasp a dumbbell in your right hand. Begin with your torso parallel to the ground and extend the dumbbell down and slightly forward; upon achieving full extension, start pulling the dumbbell up toward your hip. Make sure that your elbow is held close to your body as you lift the weight; your torso should remain in the parallel-to-the-ground posture throughout the movement. Do the desired number of reps, then switch sides.

One Arm Dumbbell Row Demonstration

Bent-Over Barbell Row

AKA Barbell Bent Rows

To work your rhomboids, posterior deltoids and trapezius, bend over and keep your back straight, holding barbell with a medium-to-wide grip. Slowly pull the weight up until it lightly touches your chest, then return to the starting position.

When you use large-diameter plates on the bar, you'll have to stand on a thick block of wood or a flat exercise bench during the exercise to keep the plates free of the floor in the bottom position of the movement. You can do variations of this from from narrow (hands touching) to as wide as the bar permits.

Bent-Over Barbell Row Demonstration

Seated Cable Row

Take hold of the handles, and sit with your feet braced against a crossbar for support knees slightly bent. Extend your arms, stretching completely forward from the waist and pull the handles to just below the rib cage. Be sure not to bring your torso beyond perpendicular to the ground. Keep the weight under control and slowly stretch forward once again.

Seated Cable Row Demonstration

Wide-Grip Pull-Downs

To strengthen the latissimus dorsi muscles, take a wide grip on the lot pull-down bar and, while kneeling or sitting, draw it down until it touches the tops of your shoulders, either in front of your neck or behind. It's a great widener for the outer lats.

Wide-Grip Pull-Down Demonstration


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Virgil Hill profile image

      Virgil Hill 

      10 years ago from Virginia USA

      Nice article! I love to see functional background (back ground, get it?) on the muscle group being worked, along with the exercise descriptions. My lower back has always been strong. Seeing Frank's upper back is motivation enough to start tearing up the chins next workout.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)