A lovely isolation exercise1that works the lats and the abs as stabilisers.
- Pick a weight much lighter than you would expect and use a straight bar or the lat pull down bar.
- Grab the bar, hands shoulder width apart and walk backwards so arms are outstretched but with very slight bend in the elbows and the weight lifts off the stack.
- Pull your shoulders down so you can feel your back engage and your tail should slightly tuck under, so you feel your abs engage.
- Imagine you have a coconut in each armpit. Press the bar straight down to your thighs, mentally crushing the coconut. Keep your chest sticking out, shoulders back and down, abs remaining strongly engaged.
- You will feel your body weight shift to your heels.
- Then let the bar raise back up to just above shoulder height, keeping the shoulders down and everything engaged until the very top and hanging on to those coconuts.
- Briefly relax the shoulders then repeat.
If you have got it right, the weight feels surprisingly heavy and the abs contract strongly. This is a simple exercise but requires patience and a light weight to learn how to get the most out of it.
- isolation exercise – this is an exercise where only one muscle move the weight – in this case it is the lats. Other muscle work to stabilise the joint and the body. The opposite of an isolation exercise is a compound exercise and in this case an example of a compound exercise for the lats is either a lat pull down, a chin up or a bent over row. These exercises work the lats and the biceps [↩]