10 Lat Exercises at Home With No Equipment Needed

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Lat Exercises at Home No Equipment

Lat exercises at home with no equipment requirements are excellent for building upper body strength and muscular definition so you can improve posture and physical appearance.

These ten legitimately don’t require a pull-up bar, resistance bands, or a bench, unlike many other lat exercises.

I’d suggest having a slick floor and long pants for numbers 2 and 10, but that’s about it!

10 Best Lat Exercises Without Equipment

Below are ten of the best exercises to add to your home back workout routine.

1. Reacher Row

The reacher row mimics a lat pull machine through the vertical plane so I’m not too sure how it got “row” in its name.

The motion involves scapular depression, adduction, and extension of the shoulder joints, making the lats a prime mover.

You can focus on getting deep contractions, although these aren’t good for working them in their lengthened position.

To do the reacher row with proper form:

  1. Lay prone on the floor with your arms extended in front of you and hands flat on the ground.
  2. Raise your hands a few inches off the ground, bending your elbows toward your back pockets, while simultaneously lifting your chest.
  3. Stop once your arms are bent at about 45 degrees and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Pro tips:

Squeeze your scapula back and down during the contractions to ensure lat engagement without allowing your lower abdomen or hips to twist or raise off the ground.

2. Bodyweight Pullover Slides

These work the lats well during the eccentric portion like a dumbbell pullover would.

They’re also a solid progression exercise for working up to pull-ups.

To do the bodyweight pullover slide with proper form:

  1. Assume a tabletop position on a slick floor with your hands aligned under your shoulders and knees bent behind your glutes.
  2. Push your body weight backward as far as you can so the lats begin to stretch.
    • Try to go until your hands are underneath your forehead, at least.
  3. Pull yourself forward by squeezing your lats and putting pressure on your palms.

Pro tips:

You should wear long pants or place a towel under your knees to make sure they don’t drag on the bare surface.

Maintain consistent straight arms throughout the entire range of motion as well to avoid the triceps taking over.

3. Elbow Press

Elbow presses, also called supine push-ups, are convenient to do if you’re unable to lie comfortably on your stomach.

They are scaleable in the sense that you can start by only lifting your torso and eventually progress towards lifting your upper and lower body together.

To do the elbow press with proper form:

  1. Lay completely flat on the floor facing upwards with your arms at your sides.
  2. Create fists with your hands and bend your lower arms so the knuckles face the sky.
  3. Drive your elbows into the ground to raise your torso a few inches.
  4. Squeeze your shoulder blades.
  5. Re-lower your torso.

Pro tips:

The more your elbows are flared out the harder these will be, but don’t flare too high as this will transfer priority from the lats to the upper back muscles.

You can keep your elbows tucked closer to your waist to make it less difficult.

4. Alternating Bring Backs

Alternating bring-backs are similar to the first exercise, however, the movement is unilaterally focused.

This helps get deeper contractions on one side at a time.

To do the alternating bring back with proper form:

  1. Lay on your stomach with your chest off the floor by propping on your elbows.
  2. Position your hands flat in front of you with a slight bend in the arms.
  3. Twist your torso to the right to slowly bend and arc the right elbow above your back, toward your left pocket.
  4. Squeeze the lat and shoulder blade as you do so.
  5. Return that hand to the starting position and alternate.

Pro tip:

Your hips and non-working hand should remain flat on the floor as you twist the upper body.

5. Pulse Row

This iteration of the classic Superman exercise targets the back muscles while also improving shoulder mobility in extension.

To do the pulse row with proper form:

  1. Lay so your entire body is prone with your arms straight by your sides and palms facing upward.
  2. Retract and depress your shoulder blades to raise your head, chest, and arms off the floor.
  3. Hold for 1-2 seconds then slowly lower and repeat.

Pro tips:

Keep your stomach on the floor the entire time and pull your shoulders together and slightly down, known as retraction and depression, respectively.

6. Straight Arm Door Frame Row

I thought I invented this exercise while writing this article, honestly.

Then I did a search on YouTube and my ego was shattered when I realized how many people have “invented” it before me.

You can use a door frame to get a good stretch and contraction in your lat muscles, particularly useful if you’re at work and don’t want to lay on the floor.

To do the straight arm door frame row with proper form:

  1. Stand upright centered in a doorway.
  2. Extend your arms downward with a 15-30 degree gap to your lateral waist.
  3. Grab each side of the frame using an overhand grip without bending your elbows.
  4. Lean backward as far as you can.
  5. Retract your shoulder blades and pull through your hands and lats to move back to the fully upright position. Repeat.

Pro tip:

You can increase the difficulty level by moving your feet further forward in front of the doorway.

7. Renegade Row

Renegade rows are a great exercise that is readily scalable for building muscle and stability in the trunk as a beginner or advanced lifter.

Foot spacing can be adjusted wider or narrower to make them easier or harder, respectively.

Alternatively, the knees can be planted on the ground to decrease core loading from the lower body and deter lumbar pain.

This enables you to focus on working the back muscles more.

External weight can be added for progressive overload as well if you decide to buy dumbbells down the line.

To do the renegade row with proper form:

  1. Assume a high plank position with your feet spread shoulder-width apart and arms straight underneath your shoulders.
  2. Tighten your glutes and core muscles to maintain a neutral spine.
  3. Dig your toes into the floor, shift your body weight onto your right hand, and drive your left elbow slightly back and toward the ceiling.
  4. Slowly return the hand to the floor and alternate sides.
  5. That counts as one full rep.

Pro tips:

Keep your upper body and hips squared to the floor and avoid swaying them side to side while rowing.

You can move your feet shoulder-width apart or wider to decrease the difficulty or move them to hip-width to increase it.

8. Reverse Snow Angels

Reverse snow angels are a prehab exercise that enhances shoulder joint mobility and relies on the lat muscles to bring the hands toward the hips.

To do the reverse snow angel with proper form:

  1. Position yourself prone on the floor with your arms extended at your sides with a small gap and your palms flat.
  2. Retract your scapula to elevate your arms off the floor.
  3. Raise them above your head using an arc motion until the thumbs touch one another.
  4. Slowly reverse this motion until your arms are by your sides again, but don’t drop them to the floor.
  5. Repeat for reps.

Pro tips:

Your hands should not touch the ground after beginning the movement until you’ve reached the desired rep range.

Conversely, your head and chest need to stay flat on the ground.

9. Belly Penguins

Belly penguins are a side bending exercise done on the floor and are associated with stronger obliques and lateral flexion.

You can tighten your lat muscles more by using internal rotation while also preventing imbalances since these are unilateral.

To do the belly penguin with proper form:

  1. Lie prone with your arms straight by your sides and palms facing upward and twisted slightly outward.
  2. Retract and depress your scapula to engage your back muscles and elevate your upper chest.
  3. Side bend to the left side as far as you can.
  4. Reset to the center then side bend to the right.
  5. Continue alternating directions (one bend each way counts as a full rep).

Pro tip:

Twist your thumbs outward to internally rotate the shoulders for better lat contraction while bending side to side.

10. Floor Pull-Ups

Who says you need a pull-up bar to do pull-ups?

News flash, you don’t!

All you need to do is slide back and forth on the floor in a straight line to stimulate your lats, upper back, and biceps.

These are decent for practicing scapular control and building the mandatory strength requisites for the standard pull-up or other assisted variants.

To do the floor pull-up with proper form:

  1. Lay on your stomach with your arms fully extended in front of you shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
  2. Fan your fingers apart on the floor.
  3. Rest your thighs on the ground without having your feet/toes in contact with it.
  4. Pull yourself forward while drawing your scapula back and down.
  5. Stop once your chin is even with your hands.
  6. Push yourself backward to re-extend your elbows.

Pro tip:

Do these on a slick floor while wearing long pants to limit friction and knee scraping, similar to bodyweight slides.

Advantages of Bodyweight Lat Exercises

  • Acquire the mind-to-muscle connection before you start weight training:

Novice trainees tend to have trouble properly activating their lats during weight training movements such as bent-over rows or deadlifts.

This often leads to injury, frustration, and a lack of progress being made.

Bodyweight exercises are a great strategy to employ before starting to lift weights as a learning tool for developing the mind-to-muscle connection.

  • Target multiple muscle groups:

These exercises not only hit your lats but multiple other back and shoulder muscles since they utilize spinal and scapular motions.

This includes the rhomboids, traps, and spinal erectors, in terms of the back.

Notable shoulder muscles are the rotator cuff, teres major, and rear delts.

  • Promote proper posture:

Upper body training, particularly in the shoulders and posterior chain is a foolproof way to stand taller.

They fend off the forces of gravity from pulling you into a forward hunch when strengthened.

Bodyweight exercises are particularly convenient to perform after sitting for a while whether it be at the office or home.


  • Progression restrictions:

Progressive overload is key for muscle building, specifically through increasing the amount of weight, reps, and sets being performed over time.

The adjustable factors are reps and sets when working with body weight alone (unless progressing from modified to non-modified versions of an exercise).

This is an adequate way to make linear progress to an extent.

However, lat growth may impede as you reach higher rep ranges and enter into more of a muscular endurance style of training without tension from additional resistance.

Role of the Latissimus Dorsi Muscles

The latissimus dorsi is wider than all other posterior chain muscles in the trunk.

They play a major role in medial scapula motions to move the shoulder joint including internal rotation, adduction, and extension.

No Equipment Lat Workout

Here’s a quick at-home lat workout using three of the aforementioned bodyweight exercises.

ExerciseSetsRepsRest (minutes)
Pulse Row510-121.5
Elbow Press4151
Bodyweight Pullover Slide44-101.5

How Can I Train My Lats Without Equipment?

You can train your lats without equipment with the elbow press exercise.

– Lay supine on the floor with your arms flat and tucked 30-45 degrees to your sides.
– Point your forearms upwards.
– Press your elbows into the ground to elevate your torso.
– Return your torso to the floor and repeat.

How Can I Exercise My Lats at Home?

You can exercise your lats at home with the following bodyweight lat exercises:

– Reacher row
– Bodyweight pullover slide
– Elbow press
– Alternating bring back
– Pulse row
– Straight arm door frame row
– Renegade row
– Reverse snow angel
– Belly penguin
– Door or floor pull-up

How Can I Build My Lats Without Dumbbells?

You can build your lats without dumbbell lat exercises with:

Resistance band lat pulldowns
– Pull-ups
– Chin-ups
– Bodyweight pullover slides
– Straight arm door frame rows

Do Pushups Build Lats?

Normal push-ups do not build the lats since they’re not a prime mover during shoulder flexion.

The muscle fibers are engaged to stabilize the shoulder joints, but you won’t notice any changes in size.

Are Dumbbell Rows Enough for Lats?

Variations of the bent-over row use the lats as a prime mover and allow you to adjust the angle of pull and tempo of muscle actions to further increase involvement.

So, dumbbell rows are enough for your lats to build strength and muscle mass and are superior to quite a few other exercises.

No Equipment No Problem!

Who would have thought that getting a solid latissimus dorsi workout could be so simple?

Perform three or four of these bodyweight lat exercises twice a week to improve your functional mobility, while simultaneously building muscle.

These are super beneficial for beginners without access to equipment and scaleable as you advance.

Plus they offer preventive measures for injuries related to improper muscle recruitment from lifting weights.





Eric De Cremer
Eric De Cremer

Eric is an NCCA-accredited Certified Personal Trainer and competitively trained powerlifter. Feel free to contact him anytime at edecremer@wildnswole.com!