I always used to think of the lats as a narrow muscle group that ran up the sides of the back. I also used to think they were only really used in moves like pull ups and maybe rows.
Lately, I’ve been learning a lot more about this incredible muscle and it’s made a massive improvement in almost every exercise I do. Even pushing moves like dips and handstands have been significantly improved by more lat engagement.
Most of the improvement comes from both increasing tension in the working muscles, and removing stress from sensitive joints. One example is how dips feel with a lot more lat activation. There’s a lot more tension in the chest and triceps but far less stress in the shoulder joint and upper back.
Essentially, your lats are the foundation of your entire upper body. They play a role in supporting your arms, shoulder, scapula, spine and even your pelvis. When you consider how many moving parts are influenced by your lats, it’s clear to see how they can make or break so many exercises.
Check out this video for more information on why your lats may just be the most important muscle group in your upper body.