Tutorial #2331

Lengthening the Lats

5 min - Tutorial


Karen Sanzo teaches this informative tutorial on the latissiums dorsi, or the "lats." The goal of this tutorial is to teach you where the latissimus dorsi are and how to find the areas of tightness in them. You'll also learn how to use myofascial release to relieve that tightness for more optimal movement in the back, neck, and shoulders.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Franklin Ball

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Oct 18, 2015
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Hi, I'm Karen. And this tutorial is on the Latisimus. We know that that leftism is muscle and its broad origin is way down on the pelvis, comes all the way up, attach with Lumbo Dorsal Fascia, comes all at the side of the body and attaches into the humerus bone. And we know that the function of the Lattisimus is humeral bone extension and internal rotation. So one of the things that's so important when we test the length of the Lattisimus, which is what the crux of this little tutorial is going to be, it looks like this. I'm just going to move this out of the way for now. So as my body is long here, I take my hands over my head and I just take them behind my head in lie them on the table here. So you know, checking for the normal rib arching and all that sort of stuff that goes without saying, but just feel the ease of which your arms can rest down. Okay.

And then bring the arms back down by your side. So now to use up the origin area of the [inaudible], I bend one knee well into my chest. I take the other knee all the way in, kind of rock around a little bit to give myself a posture. Your tilt. Okay, so I don't want to pause Jerry tilt so much that my neck lifts cause that's not what I'm going for. I'm using a posture, your tilt to kind of, I'll use the word lockup but I don't mean lock, but to use up the length of the lumbar curve and to kind of link them out. The lumbo Dorsal fast as much as I can. So I'm going to hold these in, take my arms in the same position again all the way up over my head and I'm going to feel what it feels like. Okay.

I don't particularly have tight lats. I'm going to show you a couple things that are going to happen. I do have a tight posture of your neck, so sometimes when I use up my lats and use up trunk flection down here and I go to take my hands up over my head, I'm going to exaggerate. Sometimes the back of my neck shortens. Okay, so then I get the shortening here, but I don't want that to happen. So I have to resist that with what the deep neck flexor so that now I can see that my lad is okay in the back of my neck is okay and this becomes an exercise that Dan, if you or your client have a hard time holding yourself in a posterior tilt it, it's important to understand how you can put the body in what we call a passive posterior tilt.

So it's important that they're not up on like a squishy ball or anything because you want the pelvic tilting to be passive. And what I mean by that is you want the body to just be able to be maintained without any active participation. So you'll even see in this position, this is actually even a little bit better for me as well, that the blanket is kind of come right underneath my sacral area and it is tilted my pelvis posteriorly to allow me to stay in that position. And then I check my arms over my head, maintaining the position of my neck right here. Okay. But some people, when you do this, there aren't starts to come over their head and one arm goes down on the other arm, woe starts to go off to the side or, or can't be maintained here because they're, they're trying to arch their back and they can't arch their back because you've prevented them from arching their back because you have tilted their pelvis in the opposite direction. Okay? So that's the way you check for the length of [inaudible].

And the other thing that's important is since the leftism is an internal rotator, it even helps when the hands go over your head. If you actually externally rotate the arms a little bit. And so then you can feel where a different piece of the lap might be tight because some of them may not be tight in the extension phase, it may be tight [inaudible] rotation phase. So that's why you can play with that external rotation of the arms as well. So when that leftism is, is tight, what do you do?

A couple of different things you can do. I'm going to put this down. One of the things that I like to do is some rolling and you know rolling there, there's no magic place to put the ball or to put the foam roller, so I just kind of find a hotspot if you will, and actually you could use two balls and you can first kind of put it at the Lumbo Dorsal Fascia. Sometimes this feels really good. Go back to that same tilting of the pelvis or just do one leg at a time. Some people can't tolerate both those balls in the back at the same time. So I'm going to pull this knee in and I can use the other leg to kind of press up and down.

I can lift my head and curl my trunk a little bit to kind of flex the back of body. Remember as I do this releasing, I don't want to turn it into a a hundred beat exercise that there's all sorts of contractions in the front of the body. I want to treat it as a lengthening of the back of the body and then other things may happen to your benefit as you let go of some of the tightness in the back. Sometimes the roll up actually becomes easier. So moving up the Latissimus, I can take this ball now and kind of put it on the side of my ribs here. Kind of like behind my shoulder blade. You can't really see exactly where it is and I can support my head and I can work on some rotation forces in my spine.

I can roll forward and roll back, put the hand behind my head, you know, open my chest this way, just releasing all that Fascia underneath there. And, and again, this is just a little concept here. I can take it right into my arm pit there and lengthen out. Okay, I can like flex my trunk and then I can open my trunk, look at, I can bend my arm in, rotate my humorous bone all around, support my head so I can do all these different things to effect that fashion. The last place that indirectly affects the Fascia of your, uh, latissimus muscle is actually behind the head. So you can actually use two of these balls or one of the balls to lengthen the back of the cervical curve, just like you use a ball down here to lengthen the back of the lumbar curve.

So as we do that from both ends, we kind of free up the, the Fascia that's down on the posterior chain. And sometimes what that does, it allows us to activate the front of the body better. So two concepts, Latinas lengthening, releasing some of the Fascia to effect shoulder blade movement, shoulder arm, bone movement, and spine movement. Thanks.


1 person likes this.
Thanks Karen. As always very articulate and helpful.
1 person likes this.
Fascinating! Thanks Karen, your work is always so insightful, especially when you explain restrictions some may encounter.
Theresa L
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much for sharing. Very valuable and interesting!
1 person likes this.
Thanks for all the new tutorials Karen! As always, I learn so much from you.
1 person likes this.
This is very useful Karen. Thanks! And I always appreciate the anatomy reviews too.
1 person likes this.
Straightforward and quite comprehensible. Thank you!
Jamie H
1 person likes this.
I appreciate how straightforward and informative Karen is. I thoroughly enjoyed watching her segment over the latissimus dorsi. I followed her moves precisely and used a massage ball. It is amazing how much power the back of the neck has over the lats! I would have never guessed.
1 person likes this.
Thank you,Karen! Very helpful!

I've got a client with tight/painful QL..(per her chiropractor)...any suggestions?
1 person likes this.
Fantastic as always
Sara P
1 person likes this.
Big fan of you! Love it

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