Latissimus Dorsi (lat) is a muscle of the back that extends, abducts and internally rotates the arm. The Lat is a large muscle that works in all pulling motions. Due to its large origin points, it also works a secondary muscle to stabilise the spine, as well as being an important muscle in most shoulder and arm movements. The nerve which supplies the lat muscles comes from the lower spinal segment levels of the neck.
Building Strong Lats
The Latissimus Dorsi (lat) is a muscle that is working more often than we think. The obvious times is during pull ups and lat pull downs.
Did you know your lats are also working during:
Squats – Your lats are engaged to pull the bar down and stabilise our back.
Dead Lifts – Your lat will maintain your shoulder posture and stabilises the spine.
Bench Press – Your lats will stabilise your shoulders to prevent injury.
Often neck and shoulder pain can be a symptom of an imbalance between the lats and trapezius. Commonly, trapezius is pulling up more which can cause impingement in the shoulders cause headaches and neck pain/stiffness.
How To Activate My Lats
As with any activation exercise, the aim is NOT to fatigue the muscle to the point of failure. An activation series is to target a muscle and ensure it is “switched on” and ready to work for more complex movements using the associated muscle group. In keeping with this mindset, the easiest way to target your lats is using a cable machine or a light power-band.
Lat Activation Exercise
Single Arm Pull Down – Perform this exercise from an overhead position and ensure the hand stays neural and does not supinate and focus on pulling the elbow towards the hip. Ensure the spine stays stable, and work within the 12-15 rep range for 2-3 sets. Choose a weight that will not fatigue you but will feel like you need a little effort. For even more targeted lat activation, a small side flexion can be performed when the elbow is down to the hip. The thought process for this is “rib cage to hip bone”.
East Perth Trained Physio Can Help
Our East Perth Trained Physio’s can provide a thorough assessment of your current and previous training, taking into account all lifestyle factors that may be adding to your injury or pain state. A full body and movement assessment will identify any weakness, imbalances or loading issues and can provide you with movement retraining and strength and conditioning programming and load management advice to keep you training and prevent or resolve any current pain or injuries.
East Perth Trained Physio
Did you know at Trained Physio we have a fully equipped rehabilitation facility? Physiotherapy has several goals including promote healing, reduce pain, avoiding aggravation, optimising physical function and global strengthening to restore normal movement patterns. To see how I can help you BOOK ONLINE TODAY
Written by: Andrew Brady