Latissimus dorsi: Anatomy and function – Muscles


The latissimus dorsi is a large triangular back muscle that helps you do things like pull-ups, swim, and even breathe. Stabilizes your back and flexes your shoulders at the same time. The latissimus dorsi is often called the latissimus or the widest muscle for short.

Latvians are superficially located, which means that they are clearly visible (when removing the skin). In other words, it is not necessary to tear off layers of muscle to locate the lats. And, fortunately for us non-medical personnel (especially when looking at people with well-developed back muscles), it is not at all necessary to remove the skin to notice the lats; Instead, you can identify this important back muscle by its shape.

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Anatomy of the latissimus dorsi

Usually, but not always, each end of the muscle attaches to a bone. These binding sites are known as muscle origin and attachment .

When it comes to lat, the origins are complicated, but the insertion is simple.

At the top, the widest muscle originates from the six lower thoracic vertebrae and the last three or four ribs. The starting part also includes the thoracolumbar fascia at the level of the lumbar and sacral vertebrae , as well as the posterior vertebra. one third of the outside of the upper part of the femur. Finally, the origin of the lats includes only a small portion of the lower corner of your shoulder blade.

As the lats 'muscle fibers extend from the origin to the point of attachment (the lats' attachment is on the inside of the shoulder bone, just below the shoulder joint), they taper to a point. This broad beginning at the point of attachment forms the muscle in a triangular shape.

The latissimus dorsi muscle is innervated by the long scapular nerve, also known as the pectoral nerve.

Function of the latissimus dorsi

Strong lats allow you to use your arms to lift body weight. Good examples of exercises in which the lats are widely used include chin-ups, climbing, and swimming .

The lats also help the breathing process. They are called "accessory respiratory muscles," which means that they increase the movement of the trunk during inhalation and exhalation. They do this by raising (expanding) the girth of the chest as they inhale, which can increase the volume of the chest. air entering the lungs. During exhalation, the latissimus dorsi helps reduce the circumference of the trunk, which can cause more air to be squeezed out.

When your torso is still, the lats rotate your arm, bringing it closer to the midline of your body and pulling the shoulder joint back (essentially the same as bringing your arm back). They can perform these movements individually or in combination with each other.

Additionally, the latissimus dorsi lowers the entire shoulder girdle (this is called depression) and also promotes lateral flexion (called lateral flexion). When both lats work at the same time, they help arch the spine (this is called hyperextension ) and tilt the pelvis forward .

Latissimus dorsi

Weak lats can make it difficult to bring the arm to the body or the body to the arm. Weakness can also interfere with your ability to flex your torso to the sides.

If your lats are narrow or short, it will be difficult to lift your arm in front of you or to the side. The dorsal muscle tends to hold the shoulder girdle down and forward.

If you have scoliosis (the C-curve of the spine), one side of the latissimus dorsi muscle is likely tighter than the other. If you have kyphosis, the front of your lats are likely tight.

Thoracic nerve injury that occurs at the sixth, seventh, and eighth levels of the cervix can lead to latissimus dorsi muscle weakness or paralysis .


If you have a back injury, you should see your doctor immediately. He or she can diagnose the problem and begin treatment. Treatment and rehabilitation for a problem with the widest muscle in the hip will vary depending on the problem. Most of the time, working with a physical therapist can help you fully recover your lats.

Exercises for the latissimus dorsi muscle may include:

The latissimus exercise program should be tailored to your needs. Working with a professional can ensure that you do the right thing at the right time to quickly get back to your full-time job.

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