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The Geometry of Your Upper Back

The Geometry of Your Upper Back



Where are my rhomboids, traps, and lats?
What do my upper back muscles do?
How do I get a strong upper back?
How do I stretch my upper back?


Where are my rhomboids, traps, and lats?
Rhomboids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi sound like shapes you study in geometry class. But, unlike geometric shapes, you can't see them. These upper back muscles are right behind you.

The latissimus dorsi muscles (called lats) run in a fan-shape fashion from your armpit to your spine. They help you lift your arms up overhead. You use your trapezius muscles (called traps) when you shrug your shoulder. These muscles cross your shoulders and run down along your spine in something like a diamond shape. The rhomboids, which pull your shoulder blades together, sit between your spine and those blades. back to top

What do my upper back muscles do?
You may not give these muscles much thought, but every time you pull something—a tug of war rope, an oar, a car door—your upper back is working. Swimmers, who spend so much time pulling water out of their way, have well-developed upper backs and shoulders. back to top

How do I get a strong upper back?
Any exercise that involves a pulling motion will strengthen your upper back muscles. Since there are a lot of muscles involved, there are a lot of exercises to choose from. Here are two to get you started: pull-ups and one-arm row. back to top

How do I stretch my upper back?
After you finish your strength training routine, be sure to stretch your muscles. Stretching helps your muscles get rid of the lactic acid that builds up and makes you feel sore a day or two after your workout. Here is an upper back stretch that feels great after a challenging workout. back to top

 
 
 
Last Modified Date: 3/22/2001
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