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Foam Roller: Lats Relief

Sore, tight, or injured lats might make it uncomfortable to take deep breaths. Tight latissimus dorsi has been shown to be one cause of chronic shoulder pain and chronic back pain. Because the latissimus dorsi connects the spine to the humerus, tightness in this muscle can manifest as either sub-optimal shoulder function which leads to chronic pain or tendinitis in the tendinous fasciae connecting the latissimus dorsi to the thoracic and lumbar spine.

Foam rolling your lats is a simple process that helps and prevents. Please, read the general instructions on how to foam rolling, here.


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Resistance Band Standing Row

Time to work our lats with resistance bands.
Anchor the band at the bottom of the door. Facing the door, grip a handle in each hand and stand 3 to 4 feet away from it. Feet with a wide stance, bend your knees and keep your back and head straight, your chest up, and shoulders backward. Your arms should be straight and pointed up towards the door anchor.
Exhale, gently contract your lats, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and pull the handles back until your hands are right below your chest.
Inhale and gently return to the starting position. Repeat.


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Reverse Grip Bent-Over Rows

Barbell Rows are a full body, compound exercise. They work your upper backlower backhips, and arms.

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, with your toes pointed forward.
Grasp the bar just wider than the knees with palms facing up. Keep your spine straight, shoulder blades pulling down and back, chest lifted and head in line with your spine. Your heels should be on the floor.

Exhale. Lift the bar off the floor by simultaneously straightening your hips and knees to a 3/4 upright position where the barbell rests midway on your thigh with your arms straight. This is the starting position. Inhale.

Exhale again and slowly pull the bar toward your torso, contracting your lats, until it touches your abdomen. Maintain a rigid spine without any movement or change in the shape in your back. Keep both feet firmly planted on the floor while maintaining a slight bend in the knees and hips.

Inhale and slowly lower the bar back to the starting position while maintaining your back, hip, knee, and foot position. Keep the shoulder blades squeezing together and the abdominal muscles engaged. Repeat.

At the end of the set, bend the hips and knees to lower the bar to the floor.


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Standing barbell row

Barbell Rows are a full body, compound exercise. They work your upper back, lower back, hips, and arms. They build a stronger, muscular back and bigger biceps. Technique is very important in this lift. The tendency is to increase the curve in the low back during the lifting phase. Engage your abdominals to maintain a normal-to-flat spine through the entire lift.

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, with your toes pointed forward.
Squat down to grasp the bar just wider than the knees with either a knuckles forward or palms-forward grip.

Prepare for the lift by keeping the spine in neutral, shoulder blades pulling down and back, chest lifted and head in line with your spine. Your heels should be on the floor.

Exhale. Lift the bar off the floor by simultaneously straightening your hips and knees to a 3/4 upright position where the barbell rests midway on your thigh with your arms straight. Inhale.

Exhale again and slowly pull the bar toward your torso until it touches your abdomen. Maintain a rigid spine without any movement or change in the shape of your back. Keep both feet firmly planted on the floor while maintaining a slight bend in the knees and hips.

Inhale and slowly lower the bar back to the starting position while maintaining your back, hip, knee, and foot position. Keep the shoulder blades squeezing together and the abdominal muscles engaged. Repeat.

At the end of the set, bend the hips and knees to lower the bar to the floor.


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Wall Lats Stretch

This one is the easiest way to stretch our lats.

Facing a wall, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides. Brace your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Do not allow the low back to arch. Keep your chest lifted and your chin tilted up slightly.

Exhale as you shift your weight over your heels and slowly begin bending forward at the hips. Keep the abs engaged and the back flat. Place your hands on the wall. Keep the arms straight so there is a straight line from the shoulders, through the elbows to the wrists.

Hold the stretch position for 15-30 seconds. Repeat for a total of 2-4 repetitions. To increase the stretch, rotate your thumbs to point toward the ceiling.


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