Question

Flexibility Training

How do I stretch my latissimus dorsi muscle?

A Answers (2)

  • ARick Olderman, Physical Therapy, answered
    Lie on your back with knees bent so your lower back remains flat; this anchors one end of the latissimus dorsi (a back muscle that begins on the pelvis and lower and mid-back) so you can achieve a better stretch. Draw your belly button in toward your spine to keep your back flat on the ground. Raise your arms overhead by leading with your thumbs. Remember the shoulder blades should slide up toward your ears a little as you do this. Feel the stretch in your armpit, ribs, lower back, or upper arm. Make sure your lower back remains flat throughout the stretch as this is anchoring one end of the latissimus muscle. Hold for 5 breaths or longer. Perform 3 - 5 repetitions.

    If you feel pain in the top of your shoulder, begin the exercise again and stop when you feel a stretch but before pain. Position your arm slightly away from your head. Supporting your arm on a pillow while stretching also helps. Your elbow may have rotated out too far, so monitor it and don't let it rotate.
  • The ball lat stretch is a very effective exercise for stretching the latissimus dorsi. Get on all fours with a physioball placed directly in front of you. Place your arms in the ball, with your arm straight and your thumb up. Round your back like the “camel” stretch. Roll the ball out away from you 4-6 inches until you feel a stretch in the latissimus dorsi, hold for 30 seconds, repeat on the other side.
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What is the purpose of the latissimus dorsi stretch exercise?