The latissimus dorsi muscle, also called the “lats,” is one of the largest surface muscles on the back. It is located on both sides of the backbone. It is a wide muscle that stretches diagonally upwards across the back. The latissimus dorsi muscle’s origin attachment points are the lower spinal cord, the lower ribs, and the lumbar region. Its insertion point of attachment is on the front side of the humerus, especially the bicipital groove, with tendons wrapping around the bottom of the humerus.
The lats tend to be one of the weakest muscles in many people. Fortunately, this also makes them an excellent target for strength-building programs. Below is a brief overview of the latissimus dorsi muscles.
What Does The Latissimus Dorsi Muscle Do?
The latissimus dorsi is a large, triangular muscle that lies underneath the shoulder blades. It extends from the base of the skull to the hipbone and inserts into the humerus bone at the elbow. The latissimus dorsi helps to rotate and flex the upper body.
In addition to these actions, the latissimus dorsi also plays a role in stabilizing the shoulder joint and keeping it in place during movement. It also helps to stabilize the scapula, or shoulder blade, during movement.
The latissimus dorsi also contributes to stabilization of the scapula during side bending and overhead movements. The role of the latissimus dorsi is complex, and there are many ways in which it’s involved when working out. For example, it can help support anterior core contraction during leg raises and side bends.
What Are The Three Main Functions Of The Latissimus Dorsi?
The function of this muscle can be divided into two categories: dynamic movement and static movement. Dynamic movement refers to smooth movements where small, quick movements occur at a fast rate without pauses or rest periods in between.
Static movement refers to slow, controlled movements that require more time to complete, such as sitting still or standing still. Within these categories, there are different types of movements. Even though it is placed at the rear of the torso, this muscle is primarily responsible for the mobility of the shoulders due to its wide, flat V form. When the arm is flexed, the latissimus dorsi muscle allows it to move in three distinct directions.
The shoulders are opened, which results in the backward movement of the arm.
The shoulder and arm are moved closer to the body’s midline.
3. Medial rotation
The inward rotation of the arm.
The latissimus dorsi is responsible for pulling the midsection of the torso upwards when the shoulder is in a fixed posture. It is the primary muscle utilized during chinup and pullup exercises.
The latissimus dorsi also helps with breathing by making it easier to force air out of the lungs and take deep breaths in.
What Are The Manifestations Of Latissimus Dorsi Pain?
As a result, the muscle is vulnerable to strains or tears. If you have pain in your shoulder or midback, or if you can’t lift your arm above your head, you may have a latissimus dorsi injury. Here are some symptoms you may experience with this condition:
- A “catch” in your stomach – When you breathe in, you may feel pain in your lower ribs. This is because there are two sets of muscles that run down your abdomen and flank – the diaphragm and transverse abdominis muscles. These stays relaxed during breathing but can become tense when we perform other movements. This leads to a feeling of pain in your lower abdomen as well as around your lower ribs.
- Aching under your arms – The pectorals lie over top of the latissimus dorsi and result in a feeling of tenderness or ache under the armpits. This feeling is often experienced by women who have recently given birth, as well as by people with high blood pressure.
- Muscle spasms – Sudden, involuntary contractions that affect one or more groups of muscles. They usually last only a few seconds but can recur throughout the day if they are not treated properly. A spasm refers to an involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles that tends to increase their tone and trigger referred pain syndrome to other areas of the body (like myofascial pain syndrome).
What Exercise Works Out The Latissimus Dorsi?
There are many different exercises which can be used to work the latissimus dorsi muscle. Below are some of the most popular exercises that can be used to work this large muscle:
1. Barbell or dumbbell pullovers
This classic exercise works the lats and upper chest muscles (the pecs major) by holding a weight behind your head with straight arms while lowering yourself to the floor. When you reach the bottom position, reverse direction and lift yourself back up. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.
2. Dumbbell rows
This classic exercise is performed using a dumbbell and involves bending over from a standing position at torso’s width with feet slightly apart. Keeping your legs straight, grab onto dumbbells which are resting on the ground and lift them up until they’re sitting on top of your feet while straightening up at the same time. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.
3. Chinups or Pullups
Grab a bar above you with a wide grip, palm facing you, then release yourself so that you are hanging underneath it. Now lift yourself up until your chin is above the bar to complete one rep. You can add weight if needed by wrapping it around your ankles or shoes. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.
4. Lat raises
Using a cable machine or resistance band, place one end around one foot and extend both arms out in front of you from behind your head, then raise them up until they’re above your head to complete one rep. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps.
How Do You Stretch The Latissimus Dorsi?
The latissimus dorsi (lats) are the large, triangular muscles that run from your lower back down to your hips, and come into contact with your upper arms. Stretching these muscles can improve your posture, create a healthier back and make you feel more comfortable in your body.
There are several ways to stretch the lats, but the most effective way is through open- and closed-chain exercises. Open-chain exercises involve movement in all three joints of the arm: the shoulder, the elbow, and the wrist. Closed-chain exercises only involve movement in two joints: the shoulder and elbow.
To stretch your latissimus dorsi, you can do the following:
1. Wall push-offs
An open-chain exercise that stretches the lats. Stand with your back against a wall, feet about six inches away from the wall. Push yourself off of the wall using both arms at the same time. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
2. Closed-chain chest routines
These stretch out the lats. Lie on your stomach with both hands out in front of you on the ground. Lift both arms up at the same time, using only your shoulder joints, keeping your elbows on the ground throughout the movement. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
3. Kangaroo kicks
Another closed-chain exercise that stretches the lats. Lay on your back with both hands behind your head. Lift both legs up simultaneously, using only your shoulder joints, keeping your arms and elbows on the ground throughout movement. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
4. Standing front kicks
Open-chain exercises that stretch the lats. Kickboxers need to do this daily to stay ready.
5. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
Hold one foot slightly higher than normal so that it touches your other leg’s shin or calf muscle while kicking forward towards a target (usually a heavy bag). This move helps stretch out your hip flexors and lower back while also working on building up strength in those areas as well as having to kick frequently without “limiting” range of motion like so many people do when kicking; additionally making all these muscle groups more flexible, which ultimately improves kicking power!
6. Stretching using resistance bands
Let one end of the resistance band be tied around something sturdy like a doorknob or furniture leg, and then hold onto the other end of the band so you are in a standing position. Lean forward and grab your foot or ankle with one hand and pull it toward you while you bend your knee. Put your other hand on whatever you are leaning on for balance if necessary. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You can also use this pose while standing up straight.
You can stretch with a resistance band or with weights at your side or front. It is important to move the muscle in all directions, so it doesn’t get tight. You can also perform static stretches after your workouts.
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