Today’s featured PT is Dr. Eric Broadworth PT, DPT of Fuel Physical Therapy and Sports Performance in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Eric is an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  Check out his video and read the full blog article below:

Do You Have Tight Lats? Perform this test to determine if tight lats are limiting your overhead mobility.

The latissimus dorsi, also known as the lat, is the largest muscle in the upper body. It is a large, flat, triangular muscle that has attachments at the spine from the 7th thoracic vertebrae to the 5th lumbar vertebrae, the iliac crest, the thoracolumbar fascia, the inferior angle of the scapula, the lower 3 or 4 ribs, and the bicipital groove of the humerus. The lat is responsible for extension, adduction, the transverse extension is also known as horizontal abduction, flexion from an extended position, and (medial) internal rotation of the shoulder joint and is important for many exercises and movements such as the pull-up, lat pull-down, swimming, deadlift, and squat.

Decreased flexibility and muscle length of the lat can cause problems at the shoulder and back when performing overhead activities and exercises such as throwing, the jerk movement with lifting, the snatch, pull-ups, and kipping.

A quick and easy way to determine if this muscle is tight, or shortened in length, is to stand with your back to the wall and feet away from the wall. Keep your low back flat against the wall by performing a posterior pelvic tilt to take the slack out of the thoracolumbar fascia and maintain contact with your upper back and head. Next raise your arms up overhead, keeping your elbows straight, and try to touch the wall behind you. If you are unable to touch your arms to the wall, and keep your back flat against the wall, then the lats are likely “tight”, or shortened in length, and limiting your overhead mobility. Performing stretching exercises that target the lat may be beneficial in helping to increase the muscle length of the lat and improve your ability to perform overhead activities. If you are having any pain then you should seek out a healthcare professional such as a physical therapist for further evaluation!

Written by:

Dr. Eric Broadworth, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist

Owner of Fuel Physical Therapy & Sports Performance

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