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Flying Squirrel Lats.....

Discussion in 'Weight Training/Bulking' started by HevyMetal, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. HevyMetal

    HevyMetal Well-Known Member

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    Ever notice when you have problematical lats ( that is...Lats that reach a certain size and then won't get bigger) and you post about it, the answers come back to try this ex and try that ex and everyone has their favorite Lat ex and you get responses like:-

    "Heavy deads, dude"
    "Gironda Chins..end of story"
    "Widegrip Pulldowns....10 sets of 15"
    " Bentover Barbell Rows..I thought everyone knew that"

    etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.,

    And then like me you try each and everyone of the bro'posts suggestions and combos thereof....and.....guess what.....the Lats aren't any bigger.
    Oh, they're bigger than when you first started allright........but they are not Flying Squirrel Lats....and we all want.....that's right...Lats that a Flying Squirrel would kill for.

    Now both Mastover and Lee Haney plus reputable bodybuilders (with the pictures to prove it) have all said that you cannot get a full Lat contraction unless you ARCH the back when performing the ex.
    And that you DEFINITELY have to have the mind/muscle connection thing going when you perform a good Lat ex.

    One bodybuilder of repute said that the problem with working the Lats is.....it's a back ex .......and you can't see the Lats while you are working out...so....you can't make a good mind/muscle connection.

    One Lat ex I've never tried is the LAT SHRUG......which is supposed to be a killer Lat ex....but I will be tomorrow.

    I've tried every other Lat ex under the sun....and I don't have the Squirrel Lats. I have half-decent Lats. They will not block out the sun when I flex them.

    So it's got to be technique trumping exercise variety.

    Simply banging off some weighted pullups isn't going to do it.
    I've done weighted chins with 75lbs. on the belt.....and the Lats got stronger but stayed the same size.

    Widegrip chins and/or Pulldowns....nope, stayed the same "Plateau" size.

    Rowing exes?......done 'em all.......Lats refused to get any bigger.

    Deads?.......Deaded 'til I was almost dead.......Lats didn't get any bigger.

    If you have the desirable Flying Squirrel Lats.....as opposed to Ernie The Human Eraser Lats....feel free to post away and tell me how you got them..

    Thanks a million......cheers.....:tucool:
     
  2. HevyMetal

    HevyMetal Well-Known Member

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    After some further experimentation in my gym this morning, I wanted to see if I could get the Lats to feel like they'd been worked out really good.

    I found that it took several exercises in "combo" to get them to complain.

    First off:- decided to try the Dumbell Pullovers on a bench as described by Mastover in another post.
    Lying across the bench instead of lengthways so that there is a good arch in the back.
    Dumbells were only brought up to eye level and no further......for a few good sets. Mind was focussing on the Lats.

    Then it was hanging Lat Shrugs off the Chin bar. I started with doing them kneeling using a cable pulldown bar....but that proved to be too easy so I went with the above. A few good low rep sets at bodyweight.
    Mind was focussing on the Lats.

    Then it was on to the low pulley to do assisted Lawn Mowers.
    Set weights on the stack or bar first.
    This is where you bend over, one foot slightly in front of the other,grab the handle with one hand....the other hand is on your forward knee supporting the back.
    You then do one-arm Rows like you are starting a Lawn Mower....with the other hand.
    This exercise...for me...really works the Lats.....mind was focussing on the Lats.

    Then:- lie face down on the Total Trainer (which is more or less like a Total Gym). Set the height.
    Do a sort of cable combo Butterfly/Breast stroke....bringing the arms up when they reach the point where they are back at your sides.....and arch the back up slightly, mentally concentrating on squeezing the Lats.

    For a few sets.

    I'd already done weighted chins a couple of days earlier so my lats were a tiny bit tired to start with.
    But after this morning I can really feel them in a way I usually don't.

    This isn't the be-all and end-all on how to work Lats.....but it's working for me......

    Still open to input.......:bb:......:read:
     
  3. HevyMetal

    HevyMetal Well-Known Member

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    More experimentation.


    Today used "hooks" in all exes.

    Tried "high rows" with a hammer-grip/closegrip device.
    This is where you are standing in front of the high pulley and you grab handle and row down towards your self at about a 30 degree angle.

    It hit the Lats and lower Lats pretty good. Can get full lat extension.

    I like weighted chins.......but part of the problem there is it is hard to get a full extension on the Lats because you would not normally let yourself hang down that far when weighted.

    So I was looking for exes with "full" lat extension.

    One arm bentover row:- Stood in front of mid-height pulley. Added weight. Grabbed handle with one arm, extended arm, and then took a step back so that one foot was behind the other and the opposite hand resting on my front knee.
    My torso was parallel to the floor.
    Now turn just slightly to the "pull" side so that the pull arm is extended out as far as it is possible to go.
    Now simultaneously pull in while at the same time contracting and squeezing Lat.
    With hooks you can isolate the Lats a little more ans focus directly on the Lat contraction.

    Worked quite well...Could feel the Lats getting worked.


    Standing Straight -arm pressdown:- (Where the bar starts off at a little higher than eye level and is pressed down to just above the upper thigh) I did these right immediately after the last ex......not focussing on pressing down but squeezing the lats throughout the movement......wrists close together on the bar worked better than if they were spaced apart at any distance.

    Immediately after that I did seated vertical-grip/close-grip Rows.

    Focussing on squeezing the Lats throughout the movement.
    The vertical "hammer" grip worked well.

    How can I do these every day like this?........well.. right now I'm not looking for failure or tons of weight.
    I am experimenting with lighter weight to see which ex/technique gives me the best Lat response I can feel with out shredding tissue.
    Once I dial it all in ,I will go for set reps at set weights on given days.

    Most of these exes are Lat "widening" techniques and I'm not overlooking other exes like Barbell Rows, Deads and such for Back "mass".

    I think the closegrip "palms facing away" pulldown works better than wide grip because you get more extension on the Lats that way.

    When doing these on a bar it is important to let yourself hang so you can get full Lat extension. If you can't or won't get full extension, it is better to do them kneeling off a Lat Pulldown bar so you can get those arms to extend as far as you can.

    If your fore-arms and grip tire out before you can complete an indepth Lat session....then hooks will help you tremendously.
     
    #3 HevyMetal, Mar 24, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  4. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
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    I like pull-ups (palms facing away) with a little wider than shoulder-width thumbless grip using straps. I can get a pretty solid contraction of the lats with those. I'm not sure I do them optimally though, as I go into a full hang between reps even when using weights. I am able to generate a large amount of concentric force on my initial reps, but this diminishes with fatigue and makes it somewhat difficult to advance on the exercise after a point. Never been sure I breathe correctly either -- in on the concentric, out on the eccentric, i.e. the same as with push exercises.

    They gave me good results as far as width for a while, although I've seen diminishing returns since then. Realistically, additional muscle only widens your back so much and, from that point on, it's thickness that creates additional impression.
     
    #4 chicanerous, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
  5. Jaer

    Jaer Well-Known Member

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    Full-hang is less than ideal?

    I have never tried using straps for pull-ups. Hmmm. :confused:

    How much speed do you put into the pull? And do you hold at the top?

    I'm not looking for flying squirrel lats--though I do love the image. I'm just trying to get more out of my pull-ups. The mind-muscle connection is lacking.

    Jaer
    does not have mirrors in his basement, so he can't check is lats.
     
  6. HevyMetal

    HevyMetal Well-Known Member

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    Jaer:- hmmm.....must be communication error...

    Yes . you would want the full hang to get maximum extension of the Lats....

    However the more weight you have on the belt, the more your body does not want to go full-hang......it only wants to hang about 5/8ths of the way down to keep force going....

    It can be tricky off a bar because if you "full hang" and let yourself go loose the shoulder joints take all the weight. Even more so if you are wearing a heavy weight belt as well.
    There are some people who do not have the grip strength to attempt this move anyway, so they would at first be relagated to other exes that can give a similar effect.

    On a bar lat shrug you shouldn't hang "dead loose".......but if done right you should able able to shrug "up" 5 to 8 inches each rep.

    "speed" is not as important as technique and mind/muscle connection.
    Doing them fast won't get you any better results.

    If your grip is not as good as it should be then use straps. Your grip will probably tire way before your Lats do.

    Number one thing about working lats IMO is the mind/muscle connection.
    Whatever ex you are using you have to focus on the Lats doing the work....even if it is a 'combo" ex like chins or pullups or pulldowns etc.
     
    #6 HevyMetal, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
  7. Jaer

    Jaer Well-Known Member

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    Makes sense. Thanks for the clarification. I know I don't always full hang, but always figured I should be for full range of motion. Being heavy, myself, it is difficult after a few reps, and if I'm adding weight...yeah.

    Appreciate it. I always try to feel it in the lats more--was easier when I went to a gym and had a pull-down machine for the hold at the bottom. The basement gym--convenient, but lacking some of the useful machines.

    Jaer
    has resistance bands, though. They help.
     
  8. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
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    With a full hang, it can be hard to generate sufficient force to get out of the bottom when you're fatigued.

    I put as much speed as possible into the pull. So, my first few reps are always quite powerful. I pause for a moment at the top, but only long enough to get good scapular retraction and some depression if I'm able, although this disintegrates with fatigue as well.

    By full hang, I just mean the elbows are completely extended (although not locked) at the bottom. The shoulder should always remain tight, contracted, and never relax otherwise you risk injury to the joint.
     
  9. HevyMetal

    HevyMetal Well-Known Member

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    hmmm...... it's amazing what advice you get from perusing different
    sites.

    One site says the weighted palms-away pullup on a bar is the THE best back/lat ex out there and grip width is unimportant. In the pic , Mr. Muscles is using a widegrip, bar in front of chin not behind head.
    And then the next site I go to says the seated Widegrip Lat Pulldown is really bad for your Rotator Cuffs.

    Essentially they are the same ex.......hmmmm.....

    I've looked at about 15 sites now after Googling "Best Lat Exes for upper and lower Lats".........no two of them offer the same advice or exes.
    Ones site listed a top 5 Lat ex selection.......but it was based simply on what posters thought or suggested. Not anything scientific.
    One poster complained that a lot of good back exes were left out.
    The sites response was......"well....none of the posters suggested those...so I left them out even though I personally knew they were good".

    :confused::confused::confused::spank:
     
  10. HevyMetal

    HevyMetal Well-Known Member

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    Today I tried the Bent-arm Dumbell Pullover..and......also the Bent-arm Barbell Pullover....

    Hadn't done the Bent-arms for many moons.....


    Was comparing with the Straight -arm pullovers for both.

    I think the edge goes to the Bent-arm Pullovers of both varieties for targetting Lats.

    Naturally, the trick is to keep both elbows at right angles to your torso...no flared elbows!!!!.......and of course focus on the Lats doing all the work.


    Lats are pretty ginger right now from everything I've been experimenting with......but at least I know I'm hitting Lats.

    I think on the weighted palms-away Chins, I'm one of those guys whose Biceps take over the movement largely and Lats are only an assist muscle.
     
  11. Groken

    Groken Active Member

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    I don't have very big lats, but I did notice a difference when I switched from doing lots of weighted pullups and dumbell rows to barbell and machine work. The former worked better for me, as my back definition and size in general has decreased.

    With the pullups I typically did 9 sets of 8, making sure to include palms away wide grip, chin ups, close grip palms away, and neutral position. 2 sets each. I did okay with this routine.

    The mind-body connection is definitely important for lats. Somebody once said to me that you should imagine your arms as "hooks" moving the weight to distribute the force away from your arms towards your back.
     
  12. HevyMetal

    HevyMetal Well-Known Member

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    I've been going with exercises lately where I can feel the Lats responding.

    So far:-

    Chins:- palms facing, grip not quite shoulder width. Weighted and unweighted.

    Pullups:- palms away, shoulder width grip.

    Machine "lawnmowers":- Low pulley, single handle, one foot slightly ahead of other, pull with opposite hand of forward foot. One hand supported on rear knee. This ex really hammers my lats.

    Bent-arm Pressdown:- mind/muscle focussing on lats doing the work.

    Kroc Rows:- same basic stance as a machine "lawnmower" but using much much heavier dumbell weight and only pulling up a few icnhes and holding it there.

    Standing Front Pulldowns:- use combo vertical narrow grip handle, start pulldown with arms totally outstretched (very important) on a high cable pulley, and pull down focussing on Lats at angle of about 25 to 30 degrees.
    This one makes my Lats scream when I go heavy.

    Bent-arm barbell Pullovers:- straddle a bench sideways on your back , with an arch in your back across the bench with your head hanging down. Take deep breath and lower the barbell behind your head, with your elbows pointing STRAIGHT UP never flared. Exhale on way up.
    Focus on lats doing work.

    Seated Rows with a vertical/narrow grip handle.....keeping back straight vertical and pulling in down low towards lower abs. Focus on Lats and squeeze then together behind you as you are pulling in.

    I hate Bent-over Barbell Rows......detest 'em.


    I also do Barbell Deads.
     

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