Do You Need to Strengthen Your Upper Back?

By Sara Butler

The muscles in your upper back do a lot for you, but most people aren’t aware of just how important they are. These muscles often get overshadowed by the more popular muscle groups such as the biceps, glutes, or abs -- but the lats (your upper back) are essential to your health and making sure they’re strong is important. Here’s what you need to be on the lookout for to see if your lats need some strengthening!

What Do They Do?

The latissimus dorsi (lats) perform a lot of essential functions. These fan-shaped muscles attach to the lower ribs, the lower back, the middle back, and the pelvis. You need strong lats to pull things with your arms and rotate them -- they’re even important for your breathing and body trunk rotation. You want your lats to be strong so they can do the job they were made to do.

Signs the Lats Are Weak

So, what should you be on the lookout for to know if your lats are weak? You may experience:

  • Inability to extend your arms over your head - Weak or tight lats won’t allow for full extension of your arms over your head. Your range of motion will be restricted when you try to reach up without bending your elbows because if your elbows bend, then those lats need some work!
  • Inability to do a pull-up - It’s just like seventh grade gym class all over again when you’re at the gym and can’t do even one pull-up. Even if you regularly lift weights, if pull-ups are a challenge, then you need to work on your lats.
  • Poor posture - A lot of factors can contribute to poor posture, but weak lats are definitely one of them. If you have postural issues, then you may want to work on making your lats stronger so they can better support your back and keep you on the straight and narrow.
  • Pain in your shoulder or upper arm - Pain in your shoulder or upper arms may mean your lats are weak because the other muscles in the area have had to make up for weakness. See a chiropractor at The Joint to help determine if this is the reason for your pain.

It’s worth the effort to make sure your muscles are strong, so they can all work in harmony together. Consult the chiropractors at The Joint if you have questions about how to make that happen! 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Queen Creek, Ariz.

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