Training The Latissimus Dorsi

The Lat Pull Down

  • Exercise: Lat Pull Down, Wide Grip
  • Primary Muscle Group: Latissimus Dorsi
  • Secondary Muscle Groups: Tricep & Pectoral muscles

The amount of strength and stabilization needed in the latissimus dorsi is highly underestimated by equestrian athletes. The lats connect the back of the shoulder, under the armpit and attach down into the pelvis and lower back making them the largest muscle group in the upper body. If weak or unbalanced, you’ll see it in the saddle. Your position will be slightly rotated to the stronger/ dominate side, the weaker shoulder may or may not roll forward, but this is an indication as well.

Training the Lats

Muscle evenness is key in the lats! Which is why the lat pull down is so great for riders because it places weight evenly on the muscle group unlike what happens when you’re riding. The core then stabilizes in the lower body by sitting on the stool and placing legs under the leg stabilizer. Generally, riders are strong in their lats and weaker in their deltoids (shoulders) or obliques from the natural development of working with horses. Spend time when you are strength training to find out exactly where you might be weak and which other muscles might be straining the lats.

To read more about this position muscle and view a video workout, visit

Categories: Fitness