Developing your lats will help you achieve that classic V-shape. And anything that strengthens your back and shoulders is a good thing.

Consider adding wide grip chin ups to your training routine. They are too often neglected and yet are a fabulous workout for these key muscle groups.

Overview – To develop the full length and width of the lats

The muscles designed to be used are the Latissimus Dorsi, Supraspinatus, Deltoid, Pectoralis Major and Teres Major. Other muscles used are Triceps Brachii and Subscapularis.

A rear view of a man suspended from a bar, performing wide grip chin ups.

Training Steps

  1. Take a wide overhand grip of the chin up bar. The width of the grip will vary for everyone but approximately should be twice your shoulder width
  2. Hanging from the bar, leave your legs extended or you can have a slight bend in the knees
  3. Begin to pull your self up aiming your chest toward the bar. Keep your head looking up toward the bar. Keep your chest pushed out, back slightly arched and focus on pulling through your lats
  4. Once your chin is over the bar slowly start to lower yourself, maintaining control through the use of your lats.

If you’d like to know more about the mechanics of pull ups, please see here.

Training Tips

  • Do not roll your shoulders and try to use your arms to raise yourself, this is incorrect and may eventually lead to shoulder injury.
  • Do not use your legs to swing for extra momentum. And do not cross your feet for safety reasons in case you fall.
  • If your body weight is too easy, tie a weight plate to a weight belt around your waist.
  • Buying a pair of gymnastic hand grips can help maintain a safe hold on the bar, especially is your hands sweat.
  • Strengthening your back and shoulders will help your handstands. Handstands are a great skill to master.

And after crushing your back and lats exercises, don’t neglect your leg workouts. Your legs are the foundations for all over body power.


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