Hello everyone and welcome back to another step-by-step process blog post. Today, we’re going to be talking about how to achieve a “v-taper” back or get a wider back with my 6 step process. By doing this process, you will be able to increase the width of your lats and give you the appearance of a narrow waistline. Let’s begin!
Step 1 – Prioritize Vertical Pulling
Typically when people workout their backs, they will do horizontal exercises. Doing horizontal exercises foucses on developing the thickness of your back, whereas vertical pulling is going to engage your lats. I’m not saying to not do ANY horizontal pulling, rather, put your vertical pulling at the beginning of the workout to ensure you have the most amount of energy when doing vertical pulling. A big mistake that I made when I was exercising, is that even when I was doing vertical pulling, I wasn’t actually activating my lats; what I was doing, was mostly pulling with my arms. Sure, I was lifting a lot of weight and impressing myself with some of the numbers that were on the stack, but the problem was that these efforts were pointless when it came to developing and growing the width of my lats.
Step 2 – 1 Set Of 10 Reps – Scapula Retractions
As I stated above, when I was learning to properly use my lats rather than my arms, I began to use the technique scapula retraction or scapula abduction.
You don’t need to start this out with heavy amounts of weight, in the video above I was only doing 5 plates. What I was focusing on was keeping my arms completely stationary, a slight bend of my elbow, and then I retracted my scapula as the image shows above. I would hold this position for 1 second to initiate the movement that is going to begin to activate your lats. You are also able to do this on a pull up bar as well, although it is a little more challenging because you are doing your body weight but the benefits are the same.
Step 3 – My “2 Cue” Set-Up
So now that you understand the mental awareness of working out your back, lets move onto two more important things I do before I get into any pull exercises. The first is an extension or a curve of thoracic spine, the second is initiating the movement with my scapula before my arms to pull the bar towards my chest. Click here to see this in action.
Step 4: 1 Set Of 10 Reps – Scapula Reset Pull Downs
This is what I use to help me develop that very important mind muscle connection inside the back, so that I can recruit my lats much better when I do pull downs. I try to reset my scapula before every repetition to ensure that my scapula is being initiated. While doing the 10 repetitions (as seen in the photos below) I am doing scapula retractions to help initiate the scapula and when I do this, I am flexing the scapula as hard as I can for one second, then following through by pulling the bar down towards my chest.
Step 5: Pull Through Pinkies/Elbows
This is a great tip that I wish I knew about YEAR’s ago when I was first training. You’ll notice on the photo below that I only have my pinkies and ring fingers on the bar. The ring finger’s only on there so that I can have the stability of the bar, but the purpose of this is to demonstrate what I am trying to queue when I’m pulling through the bar. I’m not just thinking of gripping the bar, rather I’m trying to pull with all of my force through my pinkies and I’m focusing on trying to bring my elbow down and pull through it, which will ultimately help you recruit your lats each time you perform this exercise.
Step 6: “Pulling” It All Together
The final step that I want to show you all is the use of an overhand grip. You’ll notice in the photo below, that my thumbs are over the bar which helps minimize the role that my biceps play on each repetition, which helps me to immensely queue myself even more to pull through my pinkies.
For each time you come down, you will want to hold for one to two seconds each rep, hold it for a full second, consciously you should be contracting your lats as hard as possible and utilizing the eccentric. For maximum results on this with the proper form, the main tip I have for stimulating hypertrophy (aka muscular growth), is to increase time under tension.
That concludes today’s blog post about how to build up some nice, big, wide lats that will get you that v-taper physique you’ve always wanted.
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