I was chatting with a gym buddy the other day and he mentioned that he has a hard time getting his lats sore from his back workouts. Now this dude is pretty jacked and relatively strong. He also has really good back development. But like many, he doesn’t feel his lats like he does his chest or biceps after the workout.
Make Your Lats Sore
This is a problem with a lot of fellow lifters, and at times, myself included. Your back is a unique and complex muscle group. To make your lats sore, it takes a different approach than most other muscles.
In other words, you can’t just go in and do a couple of exercises, 3-4 sets each and call it a day. I’m going to share a variety of ways to make your lats sore and more importantly, make your back muscles grow. But I’ll warn you, this requires effort!
High Volume Back Workouts
One thing I’ve noticed over my many years of weight training is you can’t treat your back like your chest, as many do. Your back is far bigger than your chest (at least it should be). So it makes sense to train your back with more volume. I will often pick an exercise to use the German Volume Training 10 x 10 method for back.
Whereas I believe in going heavy for overall mass, I’m not a huge fan of low reps for back. That maybe ok for one exercise during your workout. But for the most part, you want more sets and reps. Doing high volume back workouts pumps more blood into the muscle, expanding those muscles.
Techniques to Make Your Lats Sore
There are many weight training techniques you can use to make any muscle sore. If you’re one of those that have trouble making your lats sore then I absolutely encourage you to use different techniques. Here are three weight training techniques I use on a regular basis:
- Drop sets
- Rest-pause sets
Flex Your Lats
Yes, flex those lats! What I mean is contract your back muscles at the peak of the rep. If you’ve been following me for any period of time, this probably sounds like a broken record because I preach it. Don’t just move the weight from point A to B. Force your muscles to move the weight and contract them.
I’ll use barbell rows as an example. When you pull the bar towards your lower torso, squeeze your shoulder blades back and flex your lats. From that position, slowly release the weight, controlling it on the descent. You’ll have to lighten the amount of weight you normally do, but you’ll feel (and see) the difference in the development in your back muscles. And I can almost promise your lats will be sore over the next few days.
Use a Variety of Back Exercises and Variations
I’m big on using simple, basic exercises for building dense muscle mass. Exercises for back such as deadlifts, barbell rows, dumbbell rows, lat pulldowns, and seated rows are key for building and maintaining a solid foundation. But there are also exercises like dumbbell pullovers and Hammer Strength back machines that can help you build a huge and ripped back. Mix those in as well. The variety of exercises will also make your lats sore.
Another method is to use different variations of certain back exercises. You can do this by simply changing the grip. Here are a few examples below:
- Barbell Rows > Reverse Grip Barbell Rows
- Lat Pulldowns > Reverse Grip Pulldowns
- Lat Pulldowns > Close Grip Pulldowns
- Seated Rows > Wide Grip Seated Row
Make Your Lats Sore > Stretch > Recover > Grow
I don’t want to harp on making your lats sore too much. Just because you don’t get sore doesn’t mean you didn’t get a good workout. However, our bodies and muscles adapt. If you notice, you’re probably the sorest whenever you change up your workout. This is why I brought up the importance of implementing a variety of back exercises, techniques, and variations.
I must bring up stretching your lats while we’re talking about making them sore. This will in fact relieve some of the soreness but will also help them grow. I make a point to stretch my lats for at least five minutes after training back.
Recovery is essential to growth. This is especially crucial if your back workout made your lats sore. The goal of working out is to break down the muscle, feed it, and watch it grow. Amino acids during your workout have proven to be beneficial for me. And of course plenty of protein and carbs post workout.
Train with Passion,