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How to feel the lats?

Posted Apr 09 2013 2:28pm
Q: I have an imbalance in my lats. My right is significantly bigger then my left. I have tried everything and every training technique available on earth but can never seem to stimulate growth in my left or feel the lat working whatsoever. 

Overall both my lats are extremely weak and small. I also get a weird felling in both my delts when doing heavy chest. It feels like someone is blowing air into my shoulders, and they start to get very heavy and become painful. I have been training for 5 years, and I have recently started doing assisted wide grip pull ups and chins for the first time ever as I cannot do them unassisted.  

I also have very tight lats, tight shoulders, traps and chest. Any suggestions on fixes for the lat problem? Any help would be much appreciated.

Thank you Sir.

My Answer: I'm getting the sense that your chest and front deltoids are overdeveloped and this strength imbalance is preventing you from fully activating your lats.  I'd suggest laying off the chest work and prioritizing your back first in your workouts.

DON'T DO MACHINE ASSISTED PULL-UPS AND CHIN-UPS.  I've explained this numerous times before on this blog, but just understand that the machine is not going to help you in building your pull-up strength or your back.

If you cannot do a pull-up, then just do V-bar pulldowns and V-bar cable rows.  Go through a full range of motion and focus on getting a good stretch on the lats with each rep.  NO PARTIAL REPS!  Also fully contract the back on each rep by pulling the shoulder blades back and flexing the lats for 2 seconds.

Now if one lat is significantly smaller than the other, then you should get checked out by an A.R.T. practitioner.  You may have a shoulder impingement that's pinching a nerve, which may be why you're not feeling the lats.

Hope that helps.

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