A Better Way to Stretch Your Lats

Static stretching of the lats is helpful, but to get a complete stretch and improve your shoulder range of motion and mobility, there are a additional things to do beyond static stretching.

In this post you will learn a 3 step routine to stretch your lats:

  1. Foam rolling
  2. Active lat stretching
  3. Eccentric loading

It’s important to understand the anatomy of the lats so you understand why you need to stretch a certain way.

Want better shoulder mobility? Download Day 1 of our Shoulder Mobility Program for free:

Foam Roll Your Lats

lats stretch

Equipment Needed: Foam roller

Duration: 30 seconds per side

How to perform:

  1. Lay on your side with the foam roller under your lat
  2. Roll your lat from your lower back up to your armpit region
  3. Repeat for 30 seconds

Tips:

  1. Use your other arm and legs to decrease pressure of the foam roller into your lat
  2. Roll side to side as well as up and down
  3. This should be 2-3/10 discomfort maximum

Active Lat Stretch

lats

Starting Position

Equipment Needed: None

Reps: 10 per side

How to set up:

  • Get into a kneeling position as shown in the photo
  • Bend away from the side you are stretching
  • Place your non-stretching forearm on the ground near your knee
lats exercises

Finishing Position

How to Perform:

  1. Once you are set up, reach up and around as far as you can
  2. Hold in this position for 1 second
  3. Slowly return to the starting position
  4. That is 1 rep
  5. Repeat 10x
  6. Repeat on other side

Tips:

  • Your lats attach to your lower back; letting your lower back round and side bending maximizes the stretch
  • If you don’t feel a stretch, try rounding your back more or bending to the side more
  • For more stretch, rotate your chest through (in the photo, it would be rotating so you can see more of the chest)

Eccentric Chin Up / Eccentric Load

lats stretch

Starting Position

Equipment Needed:

  • Pull up bar
  • Band or Box if you need assistance

Set Up:

  • This stretch begins at the top of a chin up
  • If you need, use a box or a bench under your feet to assist
  • You could also use a band to assist
lats

Finishing Position

How to Perform:

  1. Begin in the starting position
  2. Keeping your abs tight, slowly lower yourself
  3. Remain in the finishing position for 1 second
  4. Drop off the bar
  5. Reset at the top
  6. Repeat for 3-5 reps

Tips:

  • Drop off the bar after each rep for safety of your shoulders (to avoid doing a pull up after a strong stretch
  • Keep your abs tight the entire time to make sure you don’t extend your lower back
  • If you don’t have access to this equipment, just alternate between foam rolling and active lat stretch - it will still be beneficial

Need more hip and low back mobility? Start with Day 1 of our Hip/Low Back Mobility Program for free:

Need more shoulder help?

If you need more help with your shoulder mobility, we have a 12-week shoulder mobility program that will guide you through the process of improving your range of motion.

We also have these related articles and videos:

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