Try These 10 Resistance Band Exercises for Lats (plus Sample Workout)

Resistance bands are one of the most effective training tools for training the latissimus dorsi, especially when it comes to pull up progressions and pull up accessory work. In this article I will walk you through 10 different pulling variations that will improve both strength and create hypertrophy in the lats. I will also provide a sample workout and warm up.

7 min read
Sean Klein
Written by
Sean Klein
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In This Resource
  • Benefits of Resistance Band Lat Exercises
  • Pull Up Progression
  • Pull Up Accessory Work
  • Shoulder Rehabilitation
  • Movement Patterns That Work the Latissimus Dorsi
  • Horisontal Pull
  • Vertical Pull
  • Common Mistakes When Training the Lats
  • Not Moving Through The Full Range of Motion
  • Using Momentum to Pull
  • Warm Up For Pulling Work
  • Sample Warm Up For Pulling Work
  • Sample Workout With Resistance Band
  • Try These 10 Resistance Band Exercises for Lats (plus Sample Workout)

Benefits of Resistance Band Lat Exercises

Pull Up Progression

Some of the exercises in this list are the most effective when it comes to working towards a first pull up. Getting enough strength to perform a pull up can be a long and challenging process, especially for females. These exercises, if used correctly over long periods of time will help you move toward that goal in an effective manner.

A perfect example of a resistance band exercise for the lats that will help you improve your pull ups is a seated pull down. Seated pull downs are one of the best exercises vertical pull variations for beginners. Progressing this exercise over time will help a beginner move towards a pull up, this progression will be much easier if you have bands of differing band tensions.

Pull Up Accessory Work

Many individuals reading this article will have already got their first pull ups. That doesn’t mean that these exercises wont be effective for you. These exercises are effective for accessory work to improve your pull up capability. A perfect example of this is the banded pull up, when trying to build pulling muscular endurance, using banded pull ups after a set of pull ups can be a great way to overload this movement pattern. Another very effective way to use resistance bands for the lats is using horizontal pull exercises, which will help you build your lats and improve your pull ups.

Shoulder Rehabilitation

If you have suffered a shoulder injury, many of these exercises will provide you with the required minimal dose to taking your first steps back to full movement capacity. Bands with low band tension can be an excellent way to ease back into resistance training post an injury.

Movement Patterns That Work the Latissimus Dorsi

Horisontal Pull

The horizontal pull movement works the lats very effectively, hence why I have included numerous versions of the horizontal pull within this exercise list. There are many horizontal pulling variations with resistance bands. This makes them an effective training tool, especially when on vacation or training at home.

Vertical Pull

The vertical pull is the movement pattern that comes to mind most readily when it comes to building the lats. That is because the lats are the primary mover in the vertical pull movement pattern. I have included many examples of vertical pull movements that can be performed with resistance bands.

Common Mistakes When Training the Lats

Not Moving Through The Full Range of Motion

When performing both horizontal pulls and vertical pulls there can be a huge temptation to not straighten the arm fully in order to make the exercise easier. We have all been in gyms where pull ups are performed to such a poor standard it hurts the eyes. It is really important to move through the full range of muscle, to train the entirety of the muscle you are working. The body will only get strong in the ranges you put it through, so make sure you are getting strong through the entirety of the muscle.

Using Momentum to Pull

Another way to make pulling easier is to pull using momentum from the hips or lower back, this results in not applying the full stimulus and therefore not adapting as effectively. It also makes adding progressive overload almost impossible. You will not be able to quantify how much weight you’re actually pulling and how much momentum you are using. Therefore it is important to use no momentum at all.

Warm Up For Pulling Work

Warming up for pulling work will just include lighter versions of the various pulling work you plan to perform in the session. Here is an example of a warm up that you could perform before a workout that includes both vertical and horizontal pulling work.

Sample Warm Up For Pulling Work

Complete 3 rounds

1. Banded Facepulls

Complete 10 repetitions

2. Banded Prone Press Outs

Complete 8 repetitions

3. Banded Pull Aparts

Complete 10 repetitions

Sample Workout With Resistance Band

A) Banded Pull Ups

5 x AMRAP - 2

B1) Floor Seated Banded Pull Downs

4 x AMRAP - 1

B2) Banded Press Ups

4 x AMRAP - 1

B3) Side Plank Banded Pulls

4 x 8/8

C1) Active Hang

4 x 45”

C2) Pallof Press

4 x 8

*AMRAP - 1 means As Many Reps As Possible with 1 rep left in the tank.

Try These 10 Resistance Band Exercises for Lats (plus Sample Workout)

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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.

Sean Klein


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