Latissimus Dorsi – The Back
February 13, 2017
February 13, 2017
In March, we will be going in depth on one of the largest superficial muscles of the body – the latissimus dorsi, or “lats”. This muscle is personally my favorite muscle because the latissimus dorsi is a very powerful muscle and can be quite identifiable on a physically fit individual.
The latissimus dorsi is a very thin broad triangular shape muscle located in the middle of our back and is partially covered by the trapezius. This muscle is quite large; it extends from our waist to our axilla (armpit). The latissimus dorsi originates at the spinous process T7 – L5 vertebrae, 9th to 12th ribs (lower ribs), the lumbar and sacral vertebrae (via the thoracolumbar fascia), the iliac crest, the inferior angle of the scapula, and it extends to its insertion point on the humerus (upper arm bone). Latissimus dorsi is a back muscle but is a key shoulder muscle that assists the arm during movement. The latissimus dorsi is a powerful extensor muscle of the arm and is used extensively in movements like climbing.
Latissimus dorsi is not a muscle that gets used strenuously in common day-to-day activities but it is an important muscle in many different exercises such as lat pull downs, chin ups, and staff pose (dandasana) lift – a posture you might see in one of our flow classes. The primary function of the latissimus dorsi is the adduction (moving towards the body) of the arm. An example of latissimus dorsi adducting the humerus would be when performing a chest press or lat pull down. Another function of the latissimus dorsi is extension of the arm. An example of the latissimus dorsi extending the arm would be slamming resistance balls with an overhead squat – something you might perform in our Athletex or YAX classes. Finally, the latissimus dorsi medially rotates the humerus, moving the front of the arm towards the midline of the body. An example of the latissimus dorsi medially rotating the humerus would be when doing cross body hammer curls; medial rotation of the arm brings the hand towards the chest. Latissimus dorsi also aids in deep inspiration, such as sneezing, and coughing. This muscle also assists in prolonged forceful expiration as in singing or blowing a sustained note on a wind instrument.
It can be hard to fathom that a back muscle aids the shoulder in so much movement of the arm.
Come to any of our classes from the Hustle Room to the Flow Room and strengthen this muscle one movement at a time! Book your spot here! Can’t make it in to one of our classes but you want to start strengthening your latissimus dorsi now? Check out this blog post to learn how to strengthen this muscle at home!