I’ve been receiving a ton of questions lately about the lats, these lovely lovely lat muscles that we all have and develop with kettlebell swings and pull-ups done right. If you’re a strength athlete who, like me, loves the pull up bar, the kettlebell swing, and the more advanced but ever-so-epic bent press, you’ll know that your lat muscles are the mother of all power generation with these lifts. That being said, our lovely lats are the muscles that will take an unnecessary beating if we do not give them a chance to relax.
One of the most common complaints I hear with people who are not accustomed to strength training is an increased feeling in amount of tension in their lat muscles. Those “my back feels stiff” or “my back seems really tight and sore” comments in my experience generally indicate some nicht sehr gut tension patters developing in the lat muscles themselves. If you think about it, that makes perfect sense if your pulling and swinging with the right technique. The problem though is that excessive tension in your lats will lead to a sort of radiating pain that can travel up into you shoulder or even down into your lower back. If you take a look at our little diagram above, you’ll notice that the lat muscle itself is spans a fairly large area in your back, and thus can create that sort of tight, annoying, and often painful feeling in your back. So. . .how dost thou correct thine issue?
Watch the video below here for a pretty unique thoracic mobility drill that I learned from the super mobility genius, Dr. Justin Scott, and SMFA chiropractor right here in Pittsburgh! Not only will this increase your thoracic mobility (which you will need for windmills and bent presses), but it will simultaneously help your lat muscles relax to even out all that tension and stress we build up from lifting.
Be sure to practice this drill 3x a week for a solid 3 weeks for noticeable changes if you are experiencing some excessive tension and pain in your back. From there on out, you’ll want to be adamant about this drill on your off days to make sure you recover well from all that pulling, swinging, and bent pressing 😉
That’s it for this week folks! Have a great weekend! Until next time. . .
Master your instincts!