“Larry, do you mind if I bother you a little?”
“No, Russ what do you want”, I answered in between sets of Delts.
“I noticed you have a distinct shelf on the bottom of your lats. How did you get that. Is it just genetic or do you have some exercise that builds that area of the lats. I seem to get the width I want, but I feel sort of shallow right down at the bottom. Do you know anything that hits this area of the back?
I don’t want to interrupt your workout Larry, but maybe after you get done.
“Sure, Russ just give me a couple more series on Delts then I’ll show you something you’re going to love.”
Russ is a former Mr. Utah as well as holding every other regional title in the intermountain area.
“Russ, finish your lat work so the lats are completely exhausted. This little trick I’m going to show you wont work unless your lats are completely tired out.”
“Okay don’t let me interrupt your workout.”
Finally having finished my shoulder workout, I looked over at Russ and asked. “How many more sets before you are finished?”, “I’m done. I was just doing a few more sets while I was waiting for
you. “Ok, let me show you something Lou Degni showed me 20 years ago. I have never seen anyone other than Lou that knew this.
He showed me this when I first moved out to California and was just a green kid. If you can get the movement right it will do something wonderful to your lower lats in just one set.
First, before you begin, just so you can see what a pump this will give to your lower lats, take off your shirt and look closely right here, as I pointed to the exact spot on his lower lats that he was going to be working. We both looked in the mirror to where I was pointing.
See this area right here”, I asked.
“This is the area that is going to be worked. You will be able to place a finger under the lip of the extra size right after you do 2 or three sets.”
“That’s great. That is the exact area I need.”
“All right, let me show you how to do the movement. It’s called Scapula Rotations. What you are trying to do is to get the Scapula to rotate without working arms. This is the actual movement of the back when the lats are working. The bending of the arms is incidental to working the lats. If a person could get the scapula to rotate without bending the arms you could work pure lats and not arms. That’s what we are trying to do here, so don’t bend the arms hardly at all.”
OK, put on your chinning straps and with the palms facing forward get up on the bar with your hands just a little wider than shoulder width.
Now comes the difficult part. I want you to raise your rib box as high as possible without bending the arms. That’s it. Higher. You have to raise it until it hurts. No don’t bend the arms, just raise the rib box.
Now at the same time draw the scapula in as much as you can. Look in the mirror, Russ.
“I don’t know what you mean by drawing in the scapula.”
Russ, you are trying to get the scapula to rotate through their entire range of movement. You have to start by getting them in as far as possible at the top of the movement so they have gone through their full range of movement by the time you swing them out at the bottom.
This will help!
Look in the mirror and try to make yourself as narrow as possible (the scapula pulled in) while you have the rib box raised. That’s it. All right, now slowly lower the rib box about half way down and flip the scapula through hard. No, you have really throw them through.”
“What do you mean”?
“Try to make yourself as wide as possible.” Try it again Russ. Start at the top and slowly lower yourself. All right, now! Right there. Throw the lats forward. Yes, that’s it. Now don’t come down. Stay right there. Slowly lower the rib box with the lats flattened hard against the back. The harder you can hold the lats against the back and keep them there as you lower the rib box, the more that lower section of the back is going to work. Try it again. Only this time do it slower.”
After a few reps, Russ started to get the hang of it. Still a little awkward about throwing the lats forward at precisely the right time, but improving.
After a couple of sets, I said, “all right Russ look at the lower section of your lats. See how they are pumped?”
“Man, you’re right. Look at that! They really are pumped down there. I’ve never seen that on me before. I gotta do more.”
“Russ, the sad thing is … This exercise will only be good for about a week then you’ll start to go stale on it. It doesn’t mean the exercise is no good. It just means the body has begun to figure it out and it doesn’t need to release any more growth hormone.”
When this happens, stop doing the exercise for a few weeks and then come back to it. You will find it’s just as good as the first time you used it. Remember to always do it right at the end of your back workout. Before long you’ll have that wonderful Heart Shape on your lower lats.
“I can’t thank you enough Larry.”
“You’re welcome Russ. Thank Lou Degni. He was the one who told me. I am just sharing what he showed me.”
Yes, I had to agree with Russ. The hanging Scapula Rotations are a lot of fun. Granted they are a little difficult to learn but, once you see that shelf sticking out right there on the bottom of your lats it makes it all worth while and you have to be careful you don’t go to seed on them.