The Glats

I’m a simple man.

I also have rather ambitious goals for us as athletes.

We deserve to be strong, fast, flexible, and resilient. To feel good all the time and perform at a high level (whatever the task may be).

There are several ways to go about achieving this, but today I’m going to talk about the biggest, and most underutilized muscles in the body.

They are called the Glats.

The Glats

The “X”

You may have heard of Lats and Glutes, before, but those are just pieces of the Glats. The Lats, independently, are the largest muscles in your upper body. The Glutes are the biggest in the lower body.

It only stands to reason that they would be the largest so they could do the most work. And the fact that they connect together across your back suggests that they play well together.

Not only do the Glats help provide support and structural integrity for the neck and shoulders, but they also help in stabilizing the pelvis. This means that they don’t JUST make you stronger, but more flexible and resilient to injury.

Unfortunately this ridiculous powerhouse of a muscle tends to be underactive in most people. The Glutes and the Lats get sleepy and don’t fire well. This is largely due to the fact that we sit on our butts all day and don’t hang or climb stuff as frequently as we were built to do.

So how do we fire up these bad boys?

Full Front Lever

Full Front Lever

Front Lever

The Front Lever is an awesome way to activate the lats. Start with the knees tucked to the chest. If you can’t do this yet, no big deal, start out on the floor and grab on to a suspension trainer or martial arts belt. The key is to keep the arms straight, the shoulders away from the ears and push towards your hips.


Bridges or Hip Lifts
Bridges: Lay down on the floor, bend your knees so the feet are flat on the floor and lift the hips by squeezing the Glutes. Do enough reps so that the Glutes literally catch fire.

Bridge Top Position

Hip Lift: Lay down on the floor and bend one knee to 90 degrees. Lift foot up into the air by squeezing the glute and pushing the hip down into the floor. Again, repeat until fire.


Next we want to strengthen that X and integrate them.

My favorite option is a flexibility movement that I call the Thoracic Bridge

Note that the Lat of the supporting arm connects straight across to the opposite glute, the “X.”

The Glats are the largest muscle in your body, so whether you are doing upper body or lower body, you better be feeling the Glats.

I have a dream that one day the anatomy chart will change to include the noble Glats. Share the good word with your friends and let’s hope it catches on.

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3 thoughts on “The Glats

  • Max Shank Post author

    Hi Elise!
    Yes you COULD do that, provided you don't lose the bottom shoulder and start pointing the chest to the floor. I also like to use the top arm reaching down to facilitate more rotation.

  • elise

    Hi Max, I love your work! Can I do/teach this move by stretching the free arm toward the sky in order to emphasize the vertical line you're creating and the thoracic stretch, to keep from flipping over too far? thank you!