The lats are generally a tougher muscle group to feel during a workout. One reason is that almost every exercise you do for bigger lats is a multijoint move involving numerous other muscle groups. Another is that it’s not one of the “mirror muscles” you can easily see like the pecs, biceps or abs, which creates something of a disconnect with this large back muscle.
One Simple Movement
That said, I have just the exercise – actually, exercises, plural – you need to feel the lats, even if it’s the next day when delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is making them scream. I’m talking about one simple movement, the lat pulldown, performed with multiple variations: behind-the-neck pulldowns, wide-grip pulldowns to the front and reverse-grip pulldowns. You’ve probably done all these variations without ever feeling them in the lats. The difference this time is that you’ll be doing them back-to-back-to back (in the order I just listed) as an “extended set.”
Extended set training is a technique that involves variations of a single exercise to make the movement less difficult, which allows you to continue the set with the same weight and take your muscles far beyond their normal point of fatigue. Each successive variation of the exercise places your body in a biomechanically stronger position than the previous one, making the weight feel easier so that you don’t have to lighten the load.