One of the defining features of a well crafted body are the “Wings”, aka the latissimus dorsi, or “Lats”. For men, this can offer us the V-taper of the torso that we often desire when we reach the appropriate body fat percentage. For women, although they can develop this attribute as well, most will desire a trim and sculpted lat development, which can be done with these same exercises using lighter weight and a higher rep scheme.
Following a weight and rep scheme that matches your goals, you can develop a plan that works best for your body. For example, if you are looking to add mass to your lats, then you will want to be working in the 4-8 rep range with as heavy of a weight that you can manage. Your sets will vary with your individual workout plan, but for me personally I have found that 3-4 sets maximum per exercise is more than enough to stimulate muscle growth.
The exercises that develop the lats most effectively work on a vertical plane. First and foremost we will start with the classic:
If you are an advanced lifter who has added a good deal of strength, you may find adding weight to your body as you perform the pull up an effective way to work in the 4-8 reps range. If you are not quite at that level, then dial down and do what you can do to match the 4-8 rep scheme with as heavy a weight as you can manage. This could mean just using your body weight, or it could mean using a weight assisted pull up machine until you are advanced enough. It doesn’t matter, as long as you work yourself to the limit in each set.
The primary use for the cable pulldown in comparison to the pull up is that you can dial the weight down below your body weight. You also have the option to focus exclusively on wider or shorter grips that you may not have the strength to perform with a regular pull up.
The key with cable pulldowns are to find a width and grip that allow you to feel the full range of motion in your lats as you draw the weight down. There is no one correct answer for everyone, but you must find something that you know is working your muscle to its limit in the 4-8 rep range. Use this exercise to find and overcome weak points in your musculature(by manipulating grip and width on the bar) and you will find your strength grow in your pull ups as well.
Here is some additional information relating to building lats from bodybuilding.com:Source
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*None of my advice replaces the council or consent of a physician or professional trainer. This article assumes one is training naturally, without the use of performance enhancing drugs. Do your research to diet and exercise at your own risk. Heavy weights have the potential of being dangerous, so use the help of a spotter if needed, and make sure you use proper form in all exercises! Best of luck in your journey! *