Welcome back to the second edition of Foam Roller Fridays.
This week we will be going through my top tips to foam rolling the Latissimus Dorsi commonly known as “the lats”.
The lats are a very large muscle that originates on the spinous processes of T7-L5, the thoracolumbar fascia, the iliac crest, the inferior 3-4 ribs and the inferior angle of the scapula and it inserts into the intertubercular groove of the humerus. In English means it starts on your pelvis and lower to middle back and spans up past the ribs and shoulder blade, underneath the shoulder girdle attaching to the upper arm.
As the lats are such a vast muscle the function of it can affect a lot of other parts of the body along the kinetic chain. For example, shoulder mobility can be limited by the fact that someone is in a state of excess spinal extension causing the lats to tighten up and crank down on the shoulder girdle.
The lats also play a big part in core stability, anyone who has done front squats compared back squats will notice a big difference in what they can lift. In the front squat the shoulders are flexed and lats are outstretched meaning they cannot be engaged well unlike in the back squat where it is taught to pull the lats in to tighten up the back creating greater support or reinforcement of the spine allowing for greater loads to be lifted. Also similar in the deadlift where engaging the lats assists in maintaining a strong, controlled posture throughout the lift preventing the spine from flexing.
The lats perform several movement tasks on the arms/shoulder including shoulder extension, adduction and internal rotation. If the lats are tight, it creates a limitation for the person to raise their arms overhead or out to the side without pain or restriction. Foam rolling the lats will allow a greater freedom of overhead movement without requiring the body to go to a state of spinal extension to compensate.
Foam rolling the lats will benefit a large variety of athletes especially those involving lots of repetitive overhead throwing or movement such as cricket, baseball and the majority of racquet sports. It is also very common in people with office jobs to have tight lats where they are in a state or thoracic flexion, shoulder extension, adduction and internal rotation.
In using the techniques demonstrated in the video it will allow a greater range of motion around the shoulder joint relieving shoulder pain, reduce tightness in repetitive actions and enhance the overall performance function of the shoulder. Due to the sheer size of the muscle it will take longer than the previous ITB release and reposition yourself to vary the angle of contact is important to hit all areas of the lat.
Pay carefully attention around the edge or “border” of the scapula as this tends to create the greatest sensitivity as the scapula provides a solid surface beneath the muscle increasing the pressure on the muscle. Work with the muscle to find trigger points and allow sufficient time for them to release, concentrating on deep controlled breathes will enhance the release of the fascia and muscle tightness.
Look out for my next video in March when I will be focussing on the lower back, predominantly the spinal erector muscles.
Watch my video on “the lats” here
By oliver ody
Call now 01323 722499