How To Spot, Stop & Avoid Invisible Lat Syndrome


Let’s get rid of this ridiculous syndrome.

You have seen invisible lat syndrome before. Those wannabe Olympia bodybuilders and meatheads “unable” to put their arms down by their sides because their lats are so “big”. Sound familiar? It’s awkward, annoying, and just flat out embarrassing, for the wannabe that is.

Invisible lat syndrome has unfortunately plagued gyms everywhere with those seeking to look bigger than they actually are. And the worst part is, it doesn’t even make you look bigger.

So, what causes this and why do people have it? How can we spot it and hopefully try to stop it? Let’s jump right into this and answer all of these questions for you. Next time you are in the gym, keep an eye out for those meatheads that just can’t seem to make their arms go down. Trust us, you can’t miss them.

invisible lat syndrome

What Is Invisible Lat Syndrome?

Invisible lat syndrome (ILS), also referred to as imaginary lat syndrome, is the idea that your pump was so big, and that your lats are so wide, that you can’t return your arms to your side like normal. This typically happens after a someone lifts massive weights and has that inflated feeling in their muscles. Their armpits will be open wide and their arms will awkwardly look as though they don’t know where to go. Think about if you had basketballs or volleyballs under your arms. That’s what it would feel like.

The ironic thing is, we have most likely all felt this feeling. It is normal to have that inflated feeling after a massive lift. But the difference is we tend to recognize we are not Ronnie Coleman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Dorian Yates and quickly return our arms to their respective resting positions; down by their sides, where they should be.

Why Do People Have It?

Why people have invisible lat syndrome is a mystery and all that we could truly gather are a few superficial reasons for potentially why someone would subject everyone else in the gym to look at that foolishness. While we can do our best to spread awareness about this issue, unfortunately we leave it in the hands of those individuals who suffer from it to make the choice to stop. Some possible reasons people have ILS are:

  • A genuinely massive pump where they physically can’t put their arms down by their sides- this is highly unlikely, but to be fair, it needed to be on the list.
  • Idolizing their favorite bodybuilder and seek to mimic how they look. Typically, professional bodybuilders will pose with this look to impress the judges. But look at those same bodybuilders in the gym on a normal day and they wouldn’t dare walk around with watermelons under their arms.
  • Want attention and need people to know they are working out. How annoying is that? You are at a gym, of course we know you are working out. Unless they are looking to find their soul mate and feel this is how to portray dominance or a sense of control over the gym. Try throwing a punch in the invisible lat syndrome position. Trust us, it won’t go well.

invisible lat syndrome

How To Stop Invisible Lat Syndrome Of Others

It is up to us humble gym goers and athletes to try and put an end to invisible lat syndrome as best we can. Even if we don’t fully understand what causes it, we need to stay focused in our mission to end this ridiculousness. If you see someone suffering from invisible lat syndrome, avoid eye contact. Don’t give them the attention they so desperately seek and let them waddle around alone, admiring themselves in the mirror until it’s time to go home. The more you look and draw attention to this, the more they will do it and it will never end.

Another way that may work well is to lift equal amounts of weight or perform the same exercises and when finished, don’t look like that. This will show them that there is absolutely no reason to look like that and if you can lift that weight and perform that exercise without it, then people know it is all for attention’s sake.

How To Avoid It For Yourself

To avoid invisible lat syndrome on your own is not that difficult. Just lift, enjoy your workout, and don’t try to be someone you are not. By allowing yourself the freedom to lift big, look great, and see that shredded and massive physique unfold, you will be well on your way to seeing huge gains and won’t look like a fool whose head is too big for their body.

Actually Building Your Lats

Your lats do matter and having strong lats work to assist with a larger physique, that V-shape look, and any pulling motion that comes your way. As one of the largest muscles we have, maintaining good form and giving your body the best chance at success requires knowing what to do to really build strength and size.

Knowing which exercises can increase lat development is important and looking to the right exercises will get you seriously wide lats. The barbell pullover is a great exercise for massive growth while the underhand lat pulldown will build those wing-like lats

Looking to the idea of the lat pulldown vs. pull-up, both are great for offering functional and sport specific gains all while building that stronger, more defined back. Whatever your intended exercise is, place these into your routine and see what they can do for you. You absolutely won’t be disappointed by the results.

Wrap Up

Invisible lat syndrome is that unfortunate thing we see in the gym all too much. As upstanding members of the gym going community, it is our place to take a stand and stop it. Do your part, don’t pay attention to these wannabe’s, and hopefully we can eradicate invisible lat syndrome for good. Although this uphill battle is going to take all of us.

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