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Latissimus dorsi stretches

The latissimus dorsi stretches are designed to improve flexibility in the latissimus dorsi muscle.

Relevant Anatomy: The Latissimus Dorsi muscle has a wide range of actions. It assists in arm rotation and it pulls the arm  backward and inward from an outward position. It also pulls the body up in climbing. It plays a part in breathing as well, it aids in that last puff of expiration just when you think you’ve finished breathing out. It is also active when playing a wind instrument.

 Anatomy for Latissimus Dorsi Stretches
Relevant Anatomy for Latissimus Dorsi Stretch

Starting wide and ending up by converging to a point it arises from a sheet of fascia known as an aponeurosis.This one is a broad sheet that arises along the vertebral column, from the spinous processes of the lower six thoracic vertebrae and from all of the lumbar vertebrae. It passes over the top of the illiac crest of the pelvis, or hip bone, and from there it passes over the tip of the scapula where fibers arise to join the main body of the muscle. All parts of this broad muscle converges to a small tendon that inserts on the humerus, its place of attachment being called the intertubercular groove. The tendon blends with the insertion fibers of the teres major just above it.

When translated from the Latin latissimus dorsi means “the widest back muscle.”

Following stretches are helpful in maintaining the flexibility of the Latissimus Dorsi Muscle :

Latissimus stretch standing
Latissimus stretch standing

Latissimus stretch standing

  • Raise arm overhead behind head, holding with other arm.
  • Bend knees slightly to provide better balance.
  • Pull arm as you bend trunk hold for few seconds.
  • Repeat with other side.

Latissimus stretch
Latissimus stretch lying

Latissimus stretch lying

  • Lie on back, low back flat against floor, arms at side, palms down.
  • Move arms out to side until overhead while rotating palms up as shown.
  • Hold arms flat on the floor.
  • Maintain the low back flat against the floor.
  • Hold for few seconds, return to start position, and repeat.

Model performing Latissimus stretch in kneeling position
Latissimus stretch kneeling

Latissimus stretch kneeling

  • Kneel on floor as shown.
  • Reach forward with arm, grasping a secure object.
  • Lean back toward heels hold for few seconds.
  • Repeat with other side.