July 29, 2021 9 min read

Think that you can't get an effective back workout at home? Think again!

To prove that you can build muscle mass even from home, we are sharing our top lats exercises that require little to no equipment and can be done from almost anywhere! No heavy racks or personal trainers are required.

The lats, scientifically known as the latissimus dorsi, are the largest muscles in your entire back. If you want to get an upper body of steel, do not neglect these muscles!

Here are the best exercises for the lats that you can do at home!

1. Pull-Ups

If you have a pull-up bar at home, then do pull-ups to strengthen your lats! If you don't have a pull-up bar at home, check if there is a park nearby with metal bars or monkey bars.

muscular fitness male model pulling up on horizontal bar in a gym

Make sure not to confuse pull-ups with chin-ups. Pull-ups use an overhand grip and target the back muscles, while chin-ups use an underhand grip and target the biceps.

In addition to firing up your lats, pull-ups have several other benefits, including:

  • Being a low-impact bodyweight exercise
  • Improving overall upper body strength
  • Improving grip strength

Given all of their fantastic benefits, it's easy to see why pull-ups are so popular!

Here is how to do pull-ups with proper form:

  1. Stand directly underneath a pull-up bar, then jump up to the bar and dead hang with straight arms. Your feet should not touch the ground, your grip should be overhand, and you should have a wide grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  1. When you are ready, exhale and pull your shoulders back and down to pull your elbows down and lift your chin over the bar. Your hands should stack directly over your wrists and elbows.
  1. Squeeze your back muscles with your chin over the bar, then inhale and slowly drop back down to a dead hang.

2. Resistance Band Lat Pull-Downs

Lat pull-downs are probably the most popular and beneficial exercise for working the lats. Don't have a cable machine at home? No problem! All you need is a resistance band and stable anchor to do pull-downs at home.

Before getting started, you need to set up your resistance band. Wrap the center of the band around a tall hook or snatch it in a door frame. There should be an even length on both sides of the band.

Here is how to do resistance band lat pull-downs with proper form:

  1. Grab one end of the resistance band in each hand and kneel on the floor. Whether or not your band has handles, your palms should face forward. Your arms should extend straight, and there should be light tension in the band. If there is no tension, wrap the resistance band a few more times around the anchor.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and pull your shoulder blades down and back to pull the resistance band down. Lead with your elbows and pull down until your hands are level with your shoulders.
  1. Squeeze your lats at the bottom, then slowly release the bend in your elbows to fully extend your arms.

3. Wide-Arm Push-Ups

Of all the at-home upper body exercises you could do, push-ups are one of the best. However, if you want to get at the lat muscles, opt for wide-arm push-ups instead of regular push-ups.

Unlike regular push-ups that target your triceps, wide-arm push-ups build muscle in the lats. In addition to the back, they also strengthen several other muscle groups, including the chest, shoulders, and arms.

Here is how to do wide-arm push-ups with proper form:

  1. Get on all fours on a soft, flat surface.
  1. Press back into a plank position on your hands and toes. Your feet should be inside the width of your hips and your hands outside the width of your shoulders. While your hands are outside of your shoulders, make sure they are still in line with them.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and bend your elbows out to the sides to lower your chest towards the floor. To get the full range of motion, lower until your chest falls below your elbows.
  1. Squeeze your lats, chest, and shoulders at the bottom, then slowly push back up to the wide-arm plank.

4. Dumbbell Pullover

The dumbbell pullover is a unique lat exercise that equally works the chest muscles. The pullover is known as a postural exercise. Postural exercises lengthen the spine, allow it to breathe, and generally make it healthier. There are several excellent benefits to having a healthy spine, including:

  • Improving back and neck posture
  • Reducing lower back pain
  • Improving mobility in the lower, middle, and upper back
  • ​Reducing the odds of developing arthritis, sciatica, or a herniated disk

If you want to get stronger and healthier at the same time, here is how to do dumbbell pullovers with proper form:

  1. Grab one dumbbell and sit on the floor with a straight back and bent knees. If you do not have a dumbbell, you can also use a kettlebell, heavy water bottle, or some other heavy object that is easy to grab. Hold one end of the dumbbell (or object) in each hand.
  1. Rest your back on the floor and extend your arms directly over your chest. There should be only a slight bend in your arms.
  1. When you are ready, exhale and slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head while keeping your arms straight. Make sure to engage your abs so that your back does not arch.
  1. When your arms are behind your head (or as far back as they can go with good form), inhale and lift them back over your chest by squeezing your lats and pecs.

5. Renegade Rows

Renegade rows combine the plank and row exercises together. Therefore, you get double the benefits for your back muscles, as well as work for your abdominals! For renegade rows, you need a small set of dumbbells. If you do not have dumbbells, you can use your body weight and still get a great workout.

Here is how to do the renegade row with proper form:

  1. Get on all fours with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. If you have dumbbells, then hold one dumbbell overhand in each hand directly under your shoulders.
  1. Press your feet back into a plank starting position. You should be on your toes and either have your palms flat on the floor or gripping the dumbbells.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and lift your right hand off the floor by pulling your elbow straight backward. Pull your elbow back until your hand or the dumbbell touches your ribcage. This movement should simulate a single-arm row.
  1. Squeeze your lats and abdominal muscles to keep your elbow pulled back, then slowly release and drop your hand or dumbbell back to the floor.
  1. Switch to the left hand and keep alternating between the hands!

6. Supermans

Supermans are a pure bodyweight exercise that works not only your lats but all of the muscles in your posterior chain. The posterior chain includes all of the muscles in the backside of your body, including the:

  • Calves
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Rhomboids

Here is how to do supermans with proper form:

  1. Lay flat on your stomach with your arms extended in front of your head and legs behind your body. Both your arms and legs should be hip-width apart.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and lift your upper and lower body to hover them above the floor. Balance on your tailbone to keep your limbs lifted off the floor. You will know that you are doing this exercise right if you look like superman flying above the ground!
  1. Squeeze your lats and all the other muscles in your backside for ten to twenty seconds, then inhale and slowly your limbs back to the floor.

In addition to supermans, give one of these similar exercises a try for further activation in your posterior chain:

  • Bird-dogs
  • Swimming 
  • Single-arm supermans

7. Resistance Band Bent-Over Rows

Bent-over rows are one of the best back exercises! However, they are usually done with a barbell or heavy dumbbells, which means that they are not necessarily friendly for at-home workouts.

But, you don't actually need heavy weights to do bent-over rows. Instead, you can use a resistance band and still get a fantastic back workout! Here is how to do the resistance band version of the bent-over row with proper form:

  1. Stand on top of the middle of a resistance band with both feet. Grab one end of the band in each hand and allow your arms to dead hang. Both sides of the resistance band should be the same length, and there should be mild tension in the band.
  1. Bend your knees slightly and send your hips backward so that your upper body comes close to parallel with the floor. There should still be some light tension in the band with your arms at a dead hang.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and pull your elbows backward to row your hands up to your abdomen. Squeeze your back muscles to draw your elbows straight back.
  1. Hold your elbows back for one to two seconds, then slowly release the tension in the band by extending your arms back to straight.

8. Kettlebell Deadlifts

If you are a regular here on the Steel Supplements Vault, you probably already know our feelings about the deadlift. If you are not a regular visitor here on the Vault, you should know that we consider the deadlift to be the king of all exercises.

Strong man working out with kettlebell in modern gym

Why do we hold the deadlift to such high regard? Here are just a few of the reasons:

  1. They build muscle strength
  2. They build muscle power
  3. They are the perfect full-body workout exercise

Moreover, if you want to build perfect lats and get big like a bodybuilding pro, you need to do deadlifts!

Unfortunately, traditional deadlifts are not necessarily at-home workout friendly. They normally require heavy equipment, including a barbell and power rack. However, you can do a modified version of them at home with kettlebells. Here is how to do them with proper form:

  1. Place a kettlebell on the floor in front of you and stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  1. Bend your knees slightly and send your hips backward to reach down and grab the kettlebell with both hands and an overhand grip. Your upper body should be almost parallel with the floor.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and drive your hips forward to stand up straight and lift the kettlebell off the floor.
  1. Squeeze your lats and other posterior chain muscles to stand up tall, then inhale and slowly lower the kettlebell back to the floor.

Do two to three sets of six to twelve reps. Regardless of your current fitness level or fitness goals, we highly recommend adding kettlebell deadlifts to your at-home lat workout routine!

9. Resistance Band Single-Arm Rows

Like the deadlift, traditional single-arm dumbbell rows require heavy equipment, making them hard to do from home. However, you can do them with a resistance band at home, and they will be one of the best lat exercises you have ever done!

Here is how to do them with proper form:

  1. Grab a looped resistance band and step on the middle of it with your right foot. Hold both ends with your right hand.
  1. Step your left foot slightly backward and to the side about one foot. Place your left hand on your left knee. By now, your upper body should be leaning slightly forward.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and row your right arm backward by pulling your elbow back and the resistance band towards your ribcage.
  1. Squeeze your right shoulder backward, then slowly release your elbow bend and the rowing position.

10. Walnut Crushers Pulses

Last but not least, finish your at-home lat workout with walnut crushers. This lat exercise is the epitome of a movement that looks easy but seriously burns your muscles! As a bodyweight exercise, it has so many benefits on top of strengthening your lats, including:

  • Strengthening stabilizer muscles
  • Improving back posture
  • Improving your max load on other exercises

The stabilizer muscles are perhaps the most crucial muscles in your entire body. They are the muscles in your abdominal region that support your body and allow you to hold yourself upright.

Unfortunately, the stabilizer muscles don't always get the attention that they deserve. Therefore, we highly suggest giving other bodyweight exercises on top of walnut crushers a try to improve your total body strength.

Here is how to do walnut crushers with proper form:

  1. Stand up tall with your legs shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly outward, and holding your arms straight out to the side at shoulder height.  Flip your arms so that the palms of your hands face upward.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and pull your elbows in towards your ribcage so that your shoulder blades pinch together. Imagine that there is a walnut in-between your shoulder blades that you are trying to crush.
  1. Squeeze your shoulder blades and back muscles, then release and extend your arms back to starting position.
  1. Now, pick up the pace and start pulsing your arms in and out. It is the same movement, but much faster. Do twenty to thirty pulses, then break and go again.

Also, if you want to make this exercise even more challenging, you can do them while holding small dumbbells in your hands.

Final Thoughts

The truth is that you don't need to go to the gym to build strength and mass in your lats! What you really need is to do the right exercises, including our top ten at-home lat exercises.

Up your at-home workout game today and see huge gains in the process with our favorite lat exercises!

 

Bonus tip: Is your goal to build as much muscle mass as possible? If that sounds like you, then check out our complete guide to the best program for building muscle mass!


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