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Do You Suffer From Imaginary Lat Syndrome (ILS)?

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What Is Imaginary Lat Syndrome? (ILS)

Have you ever heard of Imaginary LAT Syndrome (ILS)? The Urban Dictionary describes this problem as:

“The awkward stance that some males take in order to swell their chest in a ridiculous attempt at make non-existing muscle seem present. Generally, the arms are lifted away from the body as if huge lat muscles were pushing them away.”imaginary-lat-syndrome-2 

Although there has been a recent rise in gym memberships, this terrible affliction still holds many of the country’s gym-goers in its sway.

It tends to affect either those who are excessively heavy or skinny.

It’s not to say that all males that suffer from this affliction are out of shape, there are many whose biceps might be a little bigger than the average Joe’s.

The problem here is that their lats are those of a gym beginner and except for those boulder shoulders and protruding pecs, they would have nothing to show for their gym memberships.


Why Do Guys Do It?

Although there hasn’t been much research on the subject of imaginary lat syndrome, there are a few reasons that some experts believe that men suffer from ILS. They include:

  • Starved for attention: It’s not uncommon for ILS sufferers to open their arms wide and parade around the gym, usually with a weight lifting belt and gloves to accessorize. These individuals attempt to make eye contact with everyone and to enhance the effect, he may stick his chest out as well.
  • Insecurity: The same reason some men puff their chests out before a fight, they want to look bigger and stronger to their opponent. In this case, the guy believes that everybody around him in the gym environment is an opponent in some way and he must show everyone that he is big and strong.
  • Paying homage to Ronnie Coleman: In case you were wondering, Ronnie Coleman, is an eight-time winner of the Mr. Olympia title. His fans seem unaware that he relaxes his lats in real life and can bring his arms down to his side like a normal human being. Bodybuilders only open their arms wide on the stage and it’s done in an attempt to impress the audience and judges.
  • Searching for love: It is theorized that the primary reason that men use this posture is to impress or attract a mate. Another theory states that it may be used as a dominance or defense posture that gives the ILS sufferer the illusion of appearing larger to a threat or to intimidate rival males and scare them away from the beautiful, fit women at the gym.

Check Out This Video On Invisible Lat Syndrome:

Discouraging Imaginary Lat Syndrome

The best way to discourage ILS is to avoid making eye contact with sufferers.

There is a strong chance they are hungry for your attention and acknowledgment of their gains, withholding attention will make them realize it just isn’t working.

Another strategy to discourage ILS in loved ones is to face it head-on.

Below are some sample statements you can use to confront a person who you may want to confront.

“Dude, your lats are not that big, stop it.”

“Just the two watermelons today then?”


Is There A Cure?

The good news is that imaginary lat syndrome sufferers are not doomed to suffer from this ailment forever, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

All they have to do is develop real lat strength and size instead of imagining it.

The lats must be engaged in a productive way i.e. sufferers will have to reach muscle failure without stopping to take a selfie for Instagram.

One of the best ways to build real lats is by deadlifting, this exercise is guaranteed to transform your upper body.

An added bonus, deadlifting will also help you improve your shoulder and bench press.

There’s no need to fake it at all.

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About author
Trainer and fitness blogger. Originally from London, England. Spending most of my time training and learning about the latest fitness gear. 3 sets of 10 is a myth!
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