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Lats, Not Traps By Heath and Nicole Reed 84 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k j u l y/a u g u s t 2 0 2 2 essential skills | SAVVY SELF-CARE dorsi extends, pulls together, and internally rotates the shoulder joint. It not only assists in scapular stability and movement but also acts as an accessory breathing muscle. It even plays a key role in both extension and lateral flexion of the lumbar spine. And because the latissimus dorsi attaches to the pelvis, Goodman and others argue it should be classified as a core muscle. All in all, your latissimi dorsi are huge and mighty muscles involved in pretty much every compound movement of your upper body— whether that be as a primary mover or stabilizer. The latissimi dorsi contribute to just about every push and pull we make with our arms and shoulders, and they support good posture and happy alignment. It has been our experience that the body loves to move, especially in the ways it was designed to. If we learn to strengthen, lengthen, and regularly check in with the latissimus dorsi, we can create new patterns of alignment that diffuse pain and give a well-deserved respite to the overworked trapezius. You can start with a simple muscle relationship test. ASSESS AND ADDRESS THE LATISSIMUS DORSI Stand in front of the mirror, with your arms down by your sides and palms facing your body. Raise one or both arms out in front of you, extend overhead as far as possible, and then release back down. Now bring your arms straight out lateral and bring your biceps next to your ears, and Do you ever experience pain in the neck? Tight shoulders? Upper or mid- back discomfort? As bodyworkers, many of us walk away from our sessions with tension in these areas, and it's common sense to stretch, massage, or otherwise release the usual suspect: the trapezius. However, if you or your clients are experiencing neck, shoulder, or back pain, or even sinus and jaw tension, there may be an area of weakness you haven't suspected yet. Consider the golden rule of pain according to Ida Rolf, founder of structural integration: "Where you think it is, it ain't." And what if the skeleton key to unlock these upper body aches and pains is as simple as relaxing the trapezius by learning to engage the latissimus dorsi? It's time to give the trapezius a break from unnecessary pain and tension by instead learning to activate and strengthen the powerhouse of the latissimus dorsi. By turning on the latissimus dorsi, we free the trapezius from overworking and innervate the latissimi dorsi to do the work they were meant to do. In his superbly practical new book, Foundations for Health, Eric Goodman, DC, outlines the common reasons people experience pain and shares reliable practices to get out of pain. Goodman argues that "Pain is the price we pay for weak muscles." Here, we share strategies to strengthen, lengthen, and activate the biggest and broadest muscle on your back, the latissimus dorsi. The latissimus dorsi is the beautifully V-shaped muscle arising from the spine (T7 down to the L5 vertebra), extending down to the iliac crest via the thoracolumbar fascia, wrapping around the lower part of the scapulae and inserting into the humerus underneath the biceps. The latissimus

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