Want lats that other people can see from the front? Here’s how “the Chemist” got his. BY FRANK ZANE, M.A.
I DID LOTS OF BENT OVER barbell rows while training for the Olympia in 1976. I’d start each workout with this exercise, working up heavy. This gave me much improved lats but also a tennis-elbow-like injury from excessive pronation of the overhand grip. So what to do? Switch to a neutral grip and employ the leverage row, aka the T-bar row. It’s best to to stick a seven-foot Olympic bar in the corner and load one end with small diameter plates so you have a big range of motion. (If you’re really getting the bar up, 45s can hit your chest.) I use 10s and wouldn’t use more than 25s. Straddle the bar and interlace your fingers. Bend your knees so your upper body is parallel to the floor. I pull the weight up until it touches my chest and then lower it slowly, being sure to round my back slightly (but safely) as I let the weight down. It’s important to round your back to maximize the stretch. If you keep your lower back arched you’ll contract upper-back muscles, but you won’t target your low central lats. You have to stretch the lats to ensure full development.
Stretch the lats with front-lat spreads of 30 seconds between sets and hold the down position of one-arm rows for 15 seconds.