The back lat spread is a favorite of many bodybuilders because it features shoulder-to-shoulder width, a powerful display of the lats and’the bodybuilder’s trademark’that impressive V-taper.
As with the back double-biceps pose, the judges want to see one leg behind you. You place your weight on the sole of your front foot, with your rear leg to the side and back. Remember to turn your legs out slightly for better quad sweep. Flex your calves, hamstrings and glutes. As always with rear poses you’ll have better control of your hamstrings if you squeeze your glutes hard.
The basic hand position is the same as for the front lat spread’roll your hands into fists and place them on either side of your waist behind or above your obliques.
Bring your hands back so that the tips of your thumbs meet. That forces your shoulder blades together and gives you a feel for the muscles that are featured in this pose. Now flare your lats outward, spreading them and taking care not to flex your traps. Your lats are flexed forward and your shoulder blades are flat, and the muscles right under your armpits are hard. When your traps are flexed, your shoulders shrug up and those muscles are soft.
The key is the shoulder blades. If you haven’t gained complete control of your lats when you spread them, your traps will flex naturally and your shoulder blades will stick up, which makes it impossible to display your lats to best advantage.
For your lower back you have a couple of options. It’s very difficult to flex your glutes and your lower back at the same time; consequently, you can spread your lats either with your glutes squeezed or your lower back arched. Flexed glutes make them look smaller and the upper torso look wider. The other option highlights the lower back, so if you have some lower-back development, arch it slightly, which will flex it.
The trick is to avoid leaning too far forward or backward. Keep your shoulders down and don’t bring your arms too far forward’or you’ll accentuate the crack down the middle of your back and you’ll look hunchbacked. Also, keep your head up at all times, and don’t forget to flex your arms.
Here’s a summary of the perfect back lat spread:
1) Position yourself with your weight balanced on the sole of one foot, the other leg back and to the side or back and crossed slightly over the front leg and your toes pointed outward.
2) Flex your calves and your hamstrings, then either squeeze your glutes or arch your back.
3) Place your fists on your waist with your thumbs as anchors and bring your hands back so your thumbs touch.
4) Bring your arms forward, spreading and flaring your lats and keeping your shoulder blades flat.
5) Keep your shoulders down and your head up, and flex your arms.
Editor’s note: To contact Russ Testo for exhibitions, posing seminars or personal posing choreography via videotape, write to 3 Oxford Road, Troy, NY 12180; call (518) 274-0952; or send e-mail to [email protected].