Q: My lats are actually one of my best body parts, and definitely the best part of my back. I have only been training for about 2 years and they are super wide and connect pretty deep into my waist. The problem is my buddies always comment on the fact that, when I diet down, the rest of my back is really shallow and not dense or thick at all! In fact, they say it’s really noticeable and is a liability on stage. I already feel like I am training like an animal, so how can I change that?
A: You’re right, you’re a freak of nature, dude! But keep in mind, there’s no such thing as too wide a back! Who would hate looking like they were going to fly away at any minute? Thank your lucky stars that you don’t have the other problem. I really mean that. It’s far worse to have thick traps inserting into a really dense middle back with really prominent spinal erectors and then have NO lats! I think you end up looking worse because you really appear to have no lats at all! I think you’re obviously gifted in the width department, but it only looks imbalanced because the rest of your back hasn’t yet caught up. That might be normal for you. You may be way further along on the lats than most people for the amount of time you’ve been training, but the rest of your back is right on time! Don’t get a complex just yet. You’re still pretty new to the game. There’s plenty you can do to add depth and density to your middle back. I always liked doing chin-ups (assisted at first, by your partner holding your feet) with a 45-pound plate hanging from my waist. If your gym doesn’t have one of those belts that are open in front with a chain attached, have them order one. The plate can be slung in between your legs as you chin yourself. It will be difficult at first, but you’ll get it fast. Do a lot of T-bar rows too. Any kind of row where you can really remain stationary and pull weight to your chest with narrow grip attachments is also isolating and good for the middle back. In fact, you can’t help but grow from this. Don’t think “weight” as much as “isolation” and “visualization”! Picture your middle back pulling ALL the weight in any of these exercises. Trust me, its half the battle. Have your training partners help you visualize each and every rep and talk you through your sets so you can remain totally aware of what you’re doing. It’s likely that you extend your lats during these exercises and you may want to minimize this. If you’re like me and your lats seem like they pop in and out of the scapula area every time you reach forward on a row, try to keep them in place. This will put more of your energy into the mid-back and keep it away from the lat area.
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