When you’re working out at home, there’s not always an exercise for everything. Working out your lats (latissimus dorsi) can be hard when you don’t have gym equipment like a lat pulldown or pull up bar.

A strong back is a powerful asset. You’re less likely to tire out when doing strenuous exercise (like moving boxes) and it works in conjunction with your core to keep you upright. A strong back is a healthy back. And if you know anyone with back problems, you’re grateful if you don’t have them.

This exercise isn’t hard, but if you aren’t aware of how to contract your back muscles, it can be challenging to make it effective. Be sure to read all of the notes before trying.


How to:

  • Lie on a bench or with your upper back on a chair with room for your arms to reach overhead
  • Hold your weight in both hands straight over your face
  • Engage your back to slowly lower the weight so that it’s above your head, with your arms parallel with your body
  • Contract your lats to pull the weight back above your face


  • If you don’t contract your latissimus dorsi, you won’t be working that muscle. Really think about squeezing those muscles to move the weight.
  • Start with a light weight until you can build the mind muscle connection. Progress as it becomes easier for you to engage your lats.




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