If you’ve hit a back plateau (a backteau if you will) then you need to introduce some new and different exercises into your regime in order to mix things up and shock those muscles into growing. It’s very easy to get into something of a rut with back exercises and to find yourself relying overly on the same old lat pull downs and chin ups so try introducing these powerful and different exercises into your regime in order to start making progress again.
Decline Bench Dumbbell Pullover
The decline bench dumbbell pullover is a pullover (like a skull crusher but further back) performed on a decline bench with a single dumbbell. This move is right away one that’s great for placing the resistance on the triceps and back from a more unusual angle (diagonally backward and downward) while switching from a barbell to a dumbbell also changes the center of gravity in a constructive manner.
Decline Bench Cable Pullover
Decline bench cable pullover is the same exercise but performed with a cable instead of a dumbbell. This is a great variation because it allows you to keep the resistance fairly constant throughout the entire movement (which is difficult to do with weights) and because it completely changes up the angle. Adjusting the height and the weight also allows for all kinds of interesting variations as you go.
Neutral Grip Weighted Chins
Neutral grip weighted chins are chin ups performed with your palms pointing in towards one another. This actually makes the movement slightly easier and certainly makes gripping easier which allows you to then increase the weight and thereby place more focus on those lats. Make sure you are using correct technique, returning to a dead hang at the end of each movement but not locking out.
Bent-Over Supported Nose Rows
Nose rows are rows that you simply perform all the way back – so that the rope is almost touching your nose. This is a much better way to train the lats as we all too often fail to use full range of motion when training the lats. This encourages you to actually engage the entirety of these massive muscles, while the support also allows you to go bigger on the weight with no concern of injuring yourself.
The best way to perform this is either with a machine, or by using a bench set to a slight incline that you lie on with your stomach.
T-bar rows are a classic-yet-underappreciated move. Here you simply load up one end of a barbell and then row that upwards towards you while the other end remains flat on the floor. You can do this with an actual T-bar, or just a repurposed barbell. Either way, it’s fantastic for mimicking a genuinely useful range of motion and for really isolating the lats.
Put all these lat movements together into your next workout and you’ll very quickly realize just how powerful each of them are!