Learn To Lat Spread From 7X Mr. Olympia Phil Heath

In the world of competitive bodybuilding, there’s a well-known saying: “Shows are won from the back.” This adage speaks volumes about the importance of developing a well-defined and powerful back, particularly the latissimus dorsi muscles, or lats. The last spread, a key pose in the Men’s Open category, is a testament to an athlete’s hard work and dedication to building an aesthetic and muscular physique. One of the masters of this pose is seven-time Mr. Olympia Phil Heath

On June 30, 2024, Phil Heath took to his Instagram to break down the nuances of his lat spread technique, offering invaluable insights for aspiring bodybuilders.

The Importance of the Lat Spread

In bodybuilding, the lat spread is crucial for showcasing the breadth and thickness of the lats. 

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A well-executed lat spread highlights the muscularity of an athlete’s back, creating an impressive V-taper physique that judges reward. 

Broad, well-defined lats not only enhance posture but also give the illusion of a narrower waist, contributing to the overall aesthetic appeal of the physique. 

Phil Heath Lat Spread
via Phil Heath Instagram

Competitors perform two variations of the lat spread: the front and the rear, each emphasizing different aspects of the lat muscles.

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How to Do a Lat Spread Like Phil Heath

Phil Heath, renowned for his impeccable posing, provided a step-by-step guide to executing a rear lat spread effectively. 

Here’s a breakdown of his technique:

  1. Face Away from the Audience: Begin by standing with your back to the audience. Position your feet hip-width apart to ensure stability.
  2. Stagger the Stance: Slightly stagger your stance by raising the back heel and squeezing the calf for support. This helps in balancing the pose.
  3. Chest Forward, Shoulders Dropped: Push your chest forward and drop your shoulders. This positioning allows for maximum lat contraction.
  4. Fists on Hips: Place your fists on your hips, which provides leverage to help flare out your lats.
  5. Roll Shoulders and Flare Lats: Maintain the contraction in your lats and roll your shoulder blades forward and outward. As you do this, your lats should flare out as wide as possible, and your chest and ribcage should lift forward.

Related: Phil Heath Reveals 4 Essential Exercises for Building 3D Delts

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What Is a Lat Spread?

The lat spread is a pose that highlights the athlete’s lat muscles, showcasing their width and thickness. 

There are two primary variations of the lat spread: the front lat spread and the rear lat spread.

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A post shared by Phil Heath (@philheath)

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  • The Front Lat Spread: In this pose, the lat muscles should be well-developed to appear around the waist and sides of the ribs, contributing to the V-taper look.
  • The Rear Lat Spread: This variation emphasizes the width of the lats, covering a substantial portion of the back from the shoulder blades down to the pelvis.

Both poses require pronounced, well-defined lats that frame the physique, creating a powerful and aesthetic appearance on stage.

Developing the Lats: A Phil Heath-Inspired Back Workout

Achieving a lat spread like Phil Heath’s requires a dedicated and effective back workout routine. 

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Here’s a workout similar to what Phil Heath might follow to sculpt detailed, defined, and broad lats:

ExerciseSetsRepsTarget MusclesBenefits
Weighted Pull-Up38Upper Back, LatsBuilds strength and width in the upper back and lats.
Barbell Row38Middle BackDevelops thickness and detail in the middle back.
Lat Pulldown310LatsEnhances width and definition of the lat muscles.
Straight-Arm Pulldown312LatsIsolates the lats for a deep contraction and stretch.
Dumbbell Pullover312Lats, ChestContributes to overall upper body development by targeting both the lats and chest.

Related: Phil Heath Diet Plan and Workout Routine

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Maximizing the Effectiveness of Your Lat Spread

While training is essential, mastering the lat spread also involves understanding the subtleties of posing. 

Here are a few tips to maximize the effectiveness of your lat spread:

  • Practice Regularly: Posing should be an integral part of your training regimen. Regular practice helps you perfect the execution and improves muscle memory.
  • Focus on Symmetry: Ensure that both sides of your lats are equally developed. Asymmetry can detract from the overall appearance of the pose.
  • Mind-Muscle Connection: Develop a strong mind-muscle connection with your lats. This helps in better control and activation during the pose.
  • Visual Feedback: Use mirrors and record your posing sessions. Visual feedback allows you to identify areas of improvement and track your progress.
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The Phil Heath Legacy

Phil Heath’s success in bodybuilding is a testament to his dedication, hard work, and attention to detail. 

As a seven-time Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath has set a high standard for what it means to excel in the sport. 

His approach to the lat spread, like many other aspects of his training, is meticulous and methodical. 

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By following his guidance, aspiring bodybuilders can learn to enhance their posing techniques and work towards achieving a physique that stands out on stage.

Related: Phil Heath Push Day Workout With Coach Hany Rambod


Learning to execute a lat spread from a legend like Phil Heath is an invaluable opportunity for any bodybuilder. 

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The lat spread is more than just a pose; it’s a demonstration of one’s hard work, dedication, and mastery of bodybuilding fundamentals. 

By incorporating Phil Heath‘s techniques and training methods, athletes can develop a powerful and aesthetic back that commands attention and earns accolades in competition. 

As you embark on your journey to perfect the lat spread, remember that consistent practice, proper training, and a keen attention to detail are your greatest allies in achieving success.

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Phil Heath shared this on his Instagram Account

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