Do you have a nagging discomfort in the back of the shoulders? Is your mid or low-back constantly feeling tight? Do you have rounded shoulders that make you look slouchy?

If you said yes to any of the above, keep reading to find out more about the latissimus dorsi! Latissimus dorsi, commonly referred to as “the lats”, is a large muscle of the back that originates from the vertebrae of the lower thoracic spine, vertebrae of the lumbar spine, and the top portion of the pelvis. It then inserts into the inner part of the upper arm bone.

The words latissimus dorsi come from the Latin words meaning “broadest” and “back”, respectively. And indeed, the latissimus dorsi covers surface area like no other muscle in the upper body!

Functionally, it is responsible for adduction (arm moving towards the midline), extension (arm moving backwards), and internal rotation (arm rotating inwards) of the shoulder. Proper function of the latissimus dorsi is important for the optimal balance of forces around the involved joints. And as you can tell from the broad area it covers, dysfunction in the latissimus dorsi can lead to various aches and pains in the body, including the shoulders, low back and pelvis.

This dynamic exercise lengthens the latissimus dorsi in a functional way, thereby allowing proper contraction of the muscle overall. Try it out and let us know how it went!

Lucia Yoon

Lucia Yoon

Physiotherapist

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