This article was co-authored by Michele Dolan. Michele Dolan is a BCRPA certified Personal Trainer in British Columbia. She has been a personal trainer and fitness instructor since 2002.
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Flexing your lats is an important part of posing during a bodybuilding competition. Doing it correctly allows you to demonstrate the development of your muscles and show off your proportions and the symmetry of your figure. It can also help you stretch out before or after a workout. To flex your lats, start with some relaxed poses before moving into more complex ones. Make sure you stop posing if you feel pain, as you don't want to accidentally cause strain.
Method 1Method 1 of 3:Doing Relaxed Poses
- 1Learn how to isolate your lats when flexing. Your lats are a pair of wide muscles that run from your armpits to your lower spine, wrapping around the back of your ribcage just beneath your shoulder blades. To figure out how to isolate your lats, first stand with your feet together. Arch your lower back so that your chest is pushed forward and your butt is pushed out. Spread your upper back by lifting your arms slightly away from your sides and holding your hands about 6 inches (15 cm) in front of your hips. Push your shoulders back and tense the muscles in your armpits.XResearch source
- As you get into position, imagine that you are holding a small ball in place under your arm with your muscles, while also holding your elbows up slightly.
- 2Use a mirror for guidance. When flexing at home or at the gym, stand in a front of a mirror. A mirror can help you make sure you're mastering the moves correctly. Watch your body closely as you shift positions to ensure you're flexing correctly.
- You can also have a friend take pictures while you flex, which you can later review.
- 3Flex your lats from the front. The front pose is a relaxed pose you can start with when flexing your lats. Press your feet firmly against the floor to stretch your upper quad. Pull your lats upward and flex them as widely as you can by arching your upper back and pushing your chest forward. You should feel your shoulder blades pushing into your back. Keep your arms relaxed and held at either sideXResearch source
- Avoid flexing downward with your abs, as this can make your waist look blocky.
- For women, it is especially important to keep your feet together during this pose.
- Keep your lower arms relaxed and flex your leg muscles to show off leg definition during this pose.
- 4Do a back flex. Lean backwards or curve your back slightly, and flex your glutes, hamstrings, and calves. While doing this, flare your lats as much as possible.XResearch sourceAdvertisement
Method 2Method 2 of 3:Adding Variation to Your Poses
- 1Spread your lats during a front pose. Start in the same basic position as the relaxed front pose you engaged in earlier. Make fists with your hands. Then, place your fists on the widest part of your hips. Flare your lats while leaning back slightly.XResearch source
- You can also flex your pecs and arms while engaging in this pose.
- 2Show off your lats in a double bicep pose. Turn around and bend one of your legs slightly to flex your calf. Turn your leg to the side slightly. Hold your arms above your head, bending them at the elbow in a traditional flexing pose. Flex your lats as you lean backwards.XResearch source
- Be aware of your shoulders during this pose. It's important not to squish your shoulder blades together.
- 3Spread your lats in a rear lat pose. Keep your feet in the same position they were in for the double bicep pose. Locate the thickest part of your obliques. Place your fists against this part of your oblique muscles. Then, lean back slightly while you spread your lats outward.XResearch source
- Make sure you're spreading your lats only and not your back. Try to keep your back from flexing or stretching while you engage in this pose.
Method 3Method 3 of 3:Avoiding Common Mistakes
- 1Enlist the help of a trainer. It can be hard to utilize your lats, especially if you're new to flexing. Seek out the help of a professional trainer. If your gym provides trainers to members, take advantage of this. You can also look up trainers online.
- 2Stop if a pose causes pain. There's always a risk of injury if you're engaging in new workouts, flexes, or poses. If you feel strain at any point, stop what you're doing. Flexing past the point of pain can cause injury.
- 3Practice flexing regularly. Flexing gets easier with practice. Each day, between sets during workouts or weight lifting, practice your flexing.XResearch source
- While you can practice flexing every day, be aware you should not weight lift every day. Always take breaks between days that you weight train.
- 4Make sure you're actually flexing your lats. When you first start flexing your lats, you may inadvertently stretch or flex the wrong muscles. Make sure you flex your lats and not areas like your back, shoulder blades, or arms.XResearch sourceAdvertisement