Unfortunately, due to the inability to see the back while training combined with the extreme volume of work performed for the pectoralis major, many trainees neglect proper balance... Here are details and exercises to change that. Learn more.
Unfortunately, due to the inability to see the back while training combined with the extreme volume of work performed for the pectoralis major, many trainees neglect proper balance in their upper body training opting to prioritize chest development.
The latissimus dorsi has two main actions on the arm. It functions in adduction (pulling the arms to the sides of the body form an out - to - the side position) and extension (pulling the arms down horizontal position straight out in front of the body ).
As we will see, knowing these two primary actions will be a great tool in understanding the proper biomechanics for the latissimus dorsi exercises.
As noted above, the latissimus dorsi has a strong action in the adduction of the humerus. Whenever we have two hands above our head, as with seated pulldowns or while doing pull-ups, due to the upward rotation of the scapula that accompanies glen humeral abduction, the latissimus dorsi effectively downwardly rotates the scapula by the pulling the entire shoulder girdle downward in active glen humeral adduction.
What Are Abduction And Adduction Actions?
Abduction, in functional anatomy, is a movement which draws a limb away from the median (Sagittal) plane of the body.
It is thus opposed to adduction which brings a limb closer to the sagittal plane of the body.
Since it is one of the most important extensor muscles of the humerus, it contracts powerfully in chin-ups and supinated pulldowns. Any exercises in which the arms are pulled down bring the latissimus into a full contraction. A common mistake most people use too much weight and this causes them to use more of their arms instead of getting this full contraction.
Any discussion of the latissimus dorsi must include a mention of the teres major muscle. The teres major is commonly referred to as the "lats' little helper" because the two have the exact same action on the arm. It is impossible to train one without the other. The origin of the teres major is on the edge of the lower edge of the scapulae (shoulder blades) above the latissimus dorsi. The insertion is on the head of the humerus, in virtually the same spot as the latissimus dorsi.
The origin of the latissimus dorsi is the posterior crest of the ilium, back sacrum and spinous process of the lumbar and lower slips of the lower three ribs. The insertion is the medial side of the intertubercular groove of the humerus.
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Keep the torso and knees in the same position through the exercise.
Inhale on the downward eccentric movement and inhale on the concentric phase.
In summary, I have just mentioned a few exercises, however there are more which you can do. For instance, I do dumbbell rows right before bent over rows because this isolates each latissimus before I hit both which seems to give me better concentric contraction during the bent over rows. I gauge my reps between 12-15 because I am concentrating on the retraction and squeeze of the scapula and contraction of the latissimus. I see so many people jerking and swinging through the movements because they worry about how much weight they use instead of a good concentric contraction.
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