Your lats (latissimus dorsi) is the largest muscle in the upper body. And when overactive, it can cause many postural deviations and result in chronic upper back and lower back pain.
It’s very hard to notice tightness in this muscle whew the discomfort caused by its over-activity is felt in a different spot in your body.
So let me show you how you can release it at home! Scroll down for the video tutorial.
Tight Latissimus Dorsi and Postural Distortion Syndromes
A quick overview of how a short (overactive) latissimus dorsi can affect your posture…
When this muscle is shortened, it can contribute to upper crossed syndrome (rounded upper back, rounded shoulders, forward head posture).
If you have an exaggerated anterior pelvic tilt (lower crossed syndrome), the latissimus dorsi is also one of the short overactive muscles contributing to that posture.
If you’re performing exercises like the squat for example, and notice your back isn’t able to stay straight (you’re leaning forward too much), this is another indication that this muscle is tight.
Lats Assessment Exercise
Here’s a quick test to see if this muscle is really tight and overactive:
Lift your arms up (straight up) with your feet straight and shoulder-width apart. Now try to squat down (not too low – aim for a 45 degrees angle).
See if you’re not able to keep your arms parallel to your head as you move down. If your arms are falling forward as you squat down, it’s an indication of a short, overactive latissimus dorsi.
Oh, and when you’re trying to assess the lats tightness, please don’t try to correct yourself. The goal of the assessment is to see how you would normally do it.
You can film yourself or have someone take photos of you as you perform these assessment exercises.
Now I’m gonna show you how to release the lats with a foam roller.
Do You Have Forward Pelvic Tilt?
If you have an exaggerated anterior pelvic tilt, it’s important to also release some other muscles that tend to be overactive, contributing to this postural imbalance.
So in addition to releasing the latissimus dorsi, we want to also release the TFL and the PSOAS. And of course, don’t forget to also strengthen your glutes.
Video tutorial on how to release the TFL
Video tutorial on how to release the PSOAS