Three stretches for latissimus dorsi

Posted by Stuart Hinds on

Common daily activities such as gardening can lead to active trigger points in latissimus dorsi which in turn can lead to painful and debilitating symptoms. Trigger points in this large muscle can be associated with a number of common conditions including:

  • “Thoracic” back pain that is constant in nature and unrelated to activity
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Back pain turning in bed
  • Dull ache under shoulder blade
  • Sharp pain in the back of shoulder when resting on elbows
  • Pain reported when lifting the arms (eg. reaching up to a shelf or changing a light bulb).

These trigger points are often caused by golf, racquet sports, swimming, baseball, rowing, heavy lifting or gardening, and may also be caused by prolonged use of a poor-fitting bra.

Diagram showing the location of trigger points in the latissimus dorsi

Self Help

Simple daily stretching may help prevent latent trigger points becoming active and can also provide some relief from pain for those who are affected by painful active trigger points.

Here are three more stretches that just about anyone can do at home or at the workplace. These are especially important for those who work out at the gym using heavy weights or people whose work involves heavy lifting.

 

Torso Hug

diagram of stretch for latissimus dorsi

Technique

  1. Stand upright
  2. Wrap your arms around your shoulders as if hugging yourself
  3. Pull your shoulders back

Primary muscles

  • Trapezius
  • Rhomboids
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Posterior deltoid

Secondary muscles

Infraspinatus

Teres minor

Injuries where this stretch may be useful

  • Dislocation
  • Subluxation
  • Acromioclavicular separation
  • Sternoclavicular separation
  • Impingement syndrome
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

Note

Perform the stretch slowly, especially when pulling your shoulders.

 

Kneeling Reach

diagram showing a stretch for the latissimus dorsi

Technique

  1. Kneel on the ground
  2. Reach forward with your hands
  3. Let your head fall forwards as you lean
  4. Push your buttocks towards your feet

Primary muscles

  • Latissimus dorsi

Secondary muscles

  • Teres major
  • Serratus anterior

Injuries where this stretch may be useful

  • Lower back muscle strain
  • Lower back ligament sprain
  • Cervical nerve stretch syndrome
  • Shoulder bursitis

Note

Use your hands and fingers to extend your arms forward. Make sure not to lift your feet.

 

Lateral arm cross

diagram showing stretch for the latissimus dorsi

Technique

  1. Stand upright
  2. Extend one arm across your body
  3. Raise your other arm so that it is parallel to the ground
  4. Pull your elbow towards your opposite shoulder

Primary muscles

  • Trapezius
  • Rhomboids
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Posterior deltoid

Secondary muscles

  • Infraspinatus
  • Teres minor

Injuries where this stretch may be useful

  • Dislocation
  • Subluxation
  • Acromioclavicular separation
  • Sternoclavicular separation
  • Impingement syndrome
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

Note

Keep your arm straight and parallel to the ground during this stretch.

 

Learn more

 

About the author

Stuart Hinds is one of Australia’s leading soft tissue therapists, with over 27 years of experience as a practitioner, working with elite sports athletes, supporting Olympic teams, educating and mentoring others as well as running a highly successful clinic in Geelong.

Stuart has a strong following of practitioners across Australia and globally who tap into his expertise as a soft-tissue specialist. He delivers a range of highly sought after seminars across Australia, supported by online videos, webinars and one-on-one mentoring to help support his colleagues to build successful businesses.

In 2016, Stuart was awarded a lifetime membership to Massage & Myotherapy Australia for his significant support and contribution to the industry.

* * * 

This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell. 

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