The Best Lat Stretches For Before And After Your Workout

When it comes to working out, one of the most important – but often overlooked things is stretching. Stretching before and after a workout can help you stay flexible and avoid injuries. And, let’s be honest, nobody wants to be sidelined by an injury. So today, we’re going to take a look at some of the best lat stretches for before and after workouts. Keep reading to learn more!

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Lat Anatomy

The latissimus dorsi, or “lats” for short, are a large pair of muscles that run from the lower back to the upper arm. They help to stabilize and protect your spine, as well as promote good posture.

They’re responsible for many of the motions we make with our arms, including pull-ups, rowing, and even some pushing motions. Because of this, they can often get tight and sore, especially if you’re someone who works out a lot.

lats
By OpenStax College

What causes latissimus dorsi tightness?

There are a few different things that can cause tight lats. One of the most common is simply not stretching enough. If you’re someone who works out regularly, it’s important to make sure you’re taking the time to properly stretch both before and after your workouts.

Another common cause of lat tightness is poor posture. If you sit at a desk all day, chances are you’re not sitting with the best posture. This can lead to the lats becoming tight and uncomfortable.

Finally, another cause of lat tightness is simply doing too much too soon. If you’re starting a new workout routine or increasing the intensity of your workouts, your muscles will need time to adjust. This is why it’s important to ease into new workout routines and increase the intensity gradually. Otherwise, you may find yourself dealing with soreness and tightness.

Can you prevent lat tightness?

There are a few things you can do to help prevent lat tightness. First, as we mentioned above, make sure you stretch your lats both before and after your workouts. This will help keep your muscles loose and prevent them from becoming too tight.

Another good prevention method is to focus on good posture. If you sit at a desk all day, make sure you’re sitting up straight and not slouching. This will help keep the lats from becoming too tight.

Finally, make sure you’re gradually increasing the intensity of your strength training workouts. If you go too hard too soon, you’ll likely find yourself dealing with some muscle soreness and tightness. So take things slow and increase the intensity of your workouts gradually.

How do you get rid of lat pain?

One of the best ways to get rid of lat pain is to stretch lats regularly. Static stretching along with dynamic stretches should be used to specifically target the latissimus dorsi muscles to increase your range of motion, overhead shoulder mobility, and increase flexibility.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the best stretches for before and after workouts.

Doing these lat stretches on a regular basis will help keep your lats loose and prevent them from becoming too tight. As a result, you’ll likely find that your workouts are more comfortable and you’re less likely to experience pain or discomfort.

Lat stretches before a workout?

Using dynamic stretches before your workout is a great way to warm up your muscles, and prevent injury. Below are two of our favorite dynamic lat stretches.

1. Arm Circles

arm circles - warm up

This is a great active lat stretch to do before a workout as it gets the blood flowing and warms up the muscles.

To do this stretch:

  1. Simply stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  2. Slowly start to make small circles with your arms.
  3. As you circle your arms, make sure to keep your shoulders down. Also, keep your core engaged so that you don’t arch your back.
  4. After a few seconds, start to increase the size of the circles you’re making.
  5. Continue for 30-60 seconds, then reverse the direction and circle your arms in the opposite direction.

2. Thoracic Rotation

This is another great lat stretch to do before a workout. It helps to increase mobility in the upper back and shoulders, which can often get tight during workouts.

To do this stretch:

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Place your hands on your hips and rotate your torso to the right. As you rotate, be sure to keep your hips facing forward.
  3. Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then rotate to the left and repeat.
  4. Do this stretch for 30-60 seconds.

Yoga for your lats

Try these yoga poses to release tension in your lats:

1. Downward Facing Dog

Best Lat Stretches: Before & After Your Workout

This is a classic yoga pose that helps to stretch the entire back side of the body, including the lats.

To do this pose:

  1. Start on all fours with your hands and knees shoulder-width apart.
  2. Tuck your toes under and lift your hips up and back, coming into an upside down “V” shape. Keep your knees slightly bent if you can’t straighten them all the way.
  3. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds, then release and repeat.

2. Cat-Cow Pose

Best Lat Stretches: Before & After Your Workout
Best Lat Stretches: Before & After Your Workout

This is a great dynamic stretch to do if you’re experiencing lower back pain. It helps to stretch and release the muscles of the lower back, including the lats.

To do this pose with proper form:

  1. Start on all fours with your hands and knees shoulder-width apart.
  2. As you inhale, arch your back and look up toward the ceiling.
  3. As you exhale, round your back and tuck your chin to your chest.
  4. Continue moving back and forth between these two positions for 30-60 seconds.

3. Cobra Pose

Best Lat Stretches: Before & After Your Workout

This yoga pose is great for stretching the muscles of the upper back, including the lats.

To do this pose:

  1. Lie on your stomach with your feet hip-width apart and your hands placed palms facing down next to your shoulders.
  2. Take a deep breath and press down into your hands and lift your chest off the ground. Keep your elbows close to your sides and only raise your upper body as high as is comfortable.
  3. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, then release and repeat.

4. Child’s Pose

Best Lat Stretches: Before & After Your Workout

This is a restorative yoga pose that helps to stretch the muscles of the back and shoulders.

To do this pose:

  1. Start on all fours with your hands and knees shoulder-width apart.
  2. As you exhale, sit back on your heels and slowly lower your forehead to the ground. Stretch your arms out in front of you.
  3. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds, then release and repeat

Lat stretches after a workout?

Lat stretches shouldn’t just be done pre-workout, but post-workout as well.

Stretching your lats after a strenuous workout helps to prevent soreness and speeds up the recovery process.

Try these lat stretches:

1. Standing Lat Stretch

lat stretch

This is a great static lat stretch to do after a workout as it helps to lengthen the muscles of the back.

To do this stretch:

  1. Start either standing with your feet hip-width apart or in a seated position.
  2. Interlace your fingers and raise your arms overhead, with your palms facing the ceiling
  3. Stretch to the right side of your body until you feel a good stretch in your back
  4. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, then release and repeat.

2. Seated Lat Stretches

lat stretches

This is a great stretch to do if you’re feeling tightness in your lower back. It helps to release the muscles of the lower back and lengthen the lats.

To do this stretch:

  1. Sit on the ground with your legs extended straight in front of you.
  2. Bend forward at the hips and reach your hands toward your feet. As you bend forward, be sure to keep your back straight and your core engaged.
  3. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, then release and repeat.

3. Foam rolling

To complete this lat stretch, you will need a foam roller. A few benefits of using a foam roller are that it can reduce soreness, improve your range of motion, and fix posture issues caused by tight muscles or knots.

  1. Lie on your right side with the foam roller under your lat keeping a straight spine.
  2. Extend your right arm above your head, and both legs are bent at the knee.
  3. Slowly roll back and forth from your lower back up to your underarm.
  4. Using your body weight continue to roll up and down for 60 seconds.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

4. Doorway Lat Stretches

This is a great stretch to do if you’re feeling tightness in your shoulders or upper back. It helps to release the muscles of the upper back and lengthen the lats. To do this stretch:

  1. Stand in a doorway with your arms extended straight above your head.
  2. Place your forearms against the door frame and lean forward until you feel a stretch in your shoulders and back.
  3. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, then release and repeat.

What exercises work your lats?

There are a few different exercises you can do to stretch your lats. One of the most popular is the lat pull-down. This exercise can be done with a resistance band or at a gym with a lat pull-down machine.

Lat pull down

Best Lat Stretches: Before & After Your Workout

To do this exercise:

  1. Start by sitting down and grabbing the resistance band or lat pull-down bar with an overhand grip.
  2. Pull the band or bar down to your chest, leading with your elbows. Be sure to keep your back straight and core engaged as you do this.
  3. Hold for a second before returning to the starting position.

Seated Row

seated row exercise

To do this exercise:

  1. Start by sitting down and grabbing the resistance band or rowing machine handles with an overhand grip.
  2. Pull the band or handles back toward your chest, leading with your elbows. Be sure to keep your back straight and core engaged.
  3. Hold for a second before returning to starting position.

Final thoughts

Stretching your lats is important for both before and after workouts. These latissimus dorsi stretches will help to release muscle tension, increase blood flow and prevent soreness.

Try adding some of these lat stretches into your routine and read our article on 10 Easy Rope Stretches That Will Make You More Flexible to add some variety to your exercise program.

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