Self-Myofascial Release and Stretching For the Lats

Posted on by Ben Bruno

Today I want to share a few quick, easy, and effective drills you can do to perform self-myofascial release and stretch your lats.

If you’re someone that does a lot of pullups, chances are you’ve experienced some gritty and sore lats at some point or another. In fact, I’m going to wager that many of you are probably dealing with it right now, even if you might not realize it.

Try this: raise your left arm straight up into the air. Take the index and middle finger of your right hand and stick them directly into the center of your left armpit (deodorant is probably a good idea first). Now go back about two inches to the place where your posterior deltoid meets your lat and start digging your fingers around—deep.

If you jumped up from your computer or let out a few choice four letter words, the following three drills can probably help you out in a major way.

You can do any or all of these prior to your workout, after your workout, on off days, or really whenever else you feel like doing them. I personally like to do them either pre-workout or on off days because I know that if I save them for the end, chances are I’m going to skip them. I’ll be honest; I like doing soft tissue work about as much as I like cooking or going to the dentist, which is to say I don’t like at all.

1. Foam Roll

Here is a short foam roller series you can do to address the upper back and lats. I do about 10-20 passes on each position but shortened it for the sake of the video since watching someone foam roll is like watching grass grow.

I start with rolling the upper back with my arms crossed across my body, then do the upper back with my hands behind my head, and end doing each lat individually (make sure to have the palm facing up towards the ceiling).

2. Lacrosse Ball

This one hurts, but it’s one of those “hurts so good” kind of hurts because you’ll feel great afterwards. Pin the ball between your lat and the wall and slowly move back and forth for several passes.

One thing you can’t really see in the video is that I have my feet and torso angled slightly away from the wall. This isn’t crucial, but I find it lets you get at the lat a little better.

3. Band Lat Stretch

You can do a similar stretch grabbing a stationary object like a post or a bench, but I like using the band because it allows you to rotate your arm to move the shoulder through internal and external rotation, and it also allows you to sway gently from side to side, which can enhance the stretch.

There are lots of other stretches and self-myofascial release techniques you can use for the lats, but these are probably my top three.

This stuff isn’t nearly as fun or sexy as training, but if you want to train at your best for the long haul, it’s a necessary evil.

I hope some of this stuff can help. If there’s interest, I may share a few more upper body and lower body stretches that I use to get ready for workouts and just generally feel better. Let me know.

Also, if you missed this week’s For Your Viewing Pleasure post, be sure to check out those awesome videos for some great training motivation.

  • camarohair1

    I’d be very interested in seeing more of the stretches that you do, Ben.

    An article on how you construct an effective warm-up would be great

    • Ben Bruno

      I can do that man. I just filmed a shoulder stretch that I’ll share soon, and at some point I can go into my lower body warmup. It’s a little different right now with my knee though.

  • Nick

    I don’t know how much a lacrosse ball costs, but I have used a Tuff Balls dog toy with a lot of success since before I knew that what I was doing to relieve pain in my shoulder not only had a name, but was an advanced training and recovery technique. They are basically extra-firm tennis balls, in a variety of sizes, for like $1 each. Good stuff!

    • Ben Bruno

      Nice! That’s good to know. Lacrosse balls are about the same price, so I guess they’d both work well for the job. Thanks for the idea.

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  • http://homefitnessmanual.com/ Mitchell Wright

    Lacrosse ball?…hmm…very ingenious.

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