“Larry, do you mind if I bother you a little bit?”
“No problem Russ what is it 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 that just genetic or do you have some exercise that helps build that area of the lats? I seem to get the width I want in my back, but I feel sort of shallow right down at the bottom. Do you know of anything that will hit this area of the back?
I don’t want to interrupt your workout Larry, but maybe after you get done …
“Sure, Russ I just have a couple of series left on Delts then I will show you something you are going to love.”
Russ is a former Mr. Utah and holds every other regional title it is possible win. I have known Russ for several years in fact we have trained along side each other though not actually training partners for sometime.
“Russ, I want you to finish your lat work so the lats are completely exhausted. This little trick I am going to show you wont work unless your lats are completely tired out.” I volleyed across the floor at Russ.
“You got it”, he replied.
Having finished with my shoulder workout, I took a look at Russ to see where he was in his back program.
“How many more sets to you have before you are finished Russ”, I asked.
“I’m done. I was just doing a few more sets while I was waiting for you.
“Ok, let me show you something that Lou Degni showed me over 20 years ago. I have never seen anybody besides Lou that ever knew anything about it. He showed me this when I first moved out to California. If you can get the movement correctly it will bring out the lower lats in just one set.
First, before you begin, just so you can see how tremendously it will pump your lower lats, I want you to take off your shirt and look closely right here, as I pointed to the exact spot on the lower lat that was going to be worked. We both looked in the mirror to where I was pointing.
See this area right here”, I asked.
“Yes, I see it.”
“This is the area that is going to pump. 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.
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, get your chinning straps and with the palms facing forward get up on the bar with your hands just a little wider than shoulder width. On second thought Russ, your shoulders are so wide perhaps you ought to get a grip at about shoulder width. (Russ, has won more best shoulders trophies than anyone in the area.)
All right, 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.” he complained.
You are trying to get the scapula to rotate as much as possible through their entire range of movement. So you have to start by getting them in as far as possible at the top of the movement because you are soon going to have the out as far as possible on the bottom of the movement.
Look in the mirror and try to make yourself as narrow as possible 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”? he asked.
“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, that’s great Larry. That’s a killer. Wow, you are right. I can really feel it.”
“See how the lower lats are pumped Russ.” I said again.
“Yeah, hey this is terrific. I am going to do a few more.
“Remember, this exercise will only be good for a bout a week and you will start to go stale on it. It doesn’t mean the exercise is no good. It just means the body has finally figured out what it is you are doing and it doesn’t need to secrete any more growth hormone. Drop the exercise for a few weeks and then come back to it. You will find it is just as good as it was the first time you used it. You should always do it right at the end of your back workout. If you use it in this fashion you will be able to add the elusive Heart Shape to your lower lats.
“Hey, I can’t thank you enough Larry. Russ glowed.
“Don’t thank me, thank Lou Degni. He was the one who discovered it. I am just sharing it with you like he shared it with me.
Yes, I had to agree with Russ. The hanging Scapula Rotations are a lot of fun. Granted they do hurt, but to see that shelf stick out on the bottom of the lats makes it all worth while.