Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
Muscular System - Back Muscles

About Your Back Muscles

The Latissimus Dorsi muscles (also known as the Lats) are the largest muscles of the back.

Being large, fan-shaped muscles, they are able to provide force in a wide range of body positions, e.g. leaning back to straight vertical and all points in between.

The Lats are attached to the upper end of the humerus with fibers running down in a fan down the vertebral column and pelvic girdle.

The Trapezius (trap) muscle is a long, trapezoid-shaped muscle that runs down the upper section of the spinal cord, originating at the base of the skull and attaching down in the middle to lower back.

The angles of the Trapezius fibers provide pull in three different directions: up, down and in towards the centerline of the body.

Back Muscles Anatomy - Lats Traps RhomboidsBack Muscle Functions

The function of the Latissimus Dorsi is to pull the arm down towards the pelvis. When the arm is fixed (e.g. during a chin-up), the lats serve to bring the body up towards the arm. It is the same basic movement but with the directions reversed. The Lats also function to stabilize the torso during many movements, including the flat bench press.

The functions of the Trapezius muscle include scapular elevation (shrugging up), scapular adduction (drawing the shoulder blades together) and scapular depression (pulling the shoulder blades down).

Back Muscle Exercises

Bent-Over Barbell Row
Barbell Shrug
Lat Pulldowns
Dumbbell Shrug
One Arm Dumbbell Row
Dumbbell Pullover
Two Arm Dumbbell Row
Stability Ball Pullover Row
Stability Ball Supermans
Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns
Wide Arm Chin Up
Wide Arm Cable Rows
Twisting Dumbbell Row
Straight Arm Pull Down
Reverse Back Extensions
Jockey Row
High Pull
Hanging Row
Close Grip Pulldowns
Close Grip Seated Cable Rows
Pull Up

Back Muscles

The muscle anatomy descriptions and picture on this page were provided courtesy of Nick Nilsson.


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