The teres major is a thick, flat-shaped muscle in the outer upper-back region. It originates at the back of the scapula, or shoulder blade, and insets at the inside of the humerus, or arm bone. This muscle has three main functions: shoulder extension, shoulder adduction and internal shoulder rotation. The teres major acts as an assistant muscle to the latissimus dorsi during exercises such as pullups and lat pulldowns. In fact, the teres major is often called the little helper to the larger latissimus dorsi. When doing stretches for the lats, you will also be stretching the teres major. For each stretch, you should complete three sets, with a one-minute rest period in between each set.
Kneeling Lat Stretch
Kneel down on the floor and lean forward at the waist until your back is about parallel to the floor.
Extend your arms and place your hands on the floor.
Move your hands forward until you feel a stretch in your back.
Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
Take a one-minute rest and repeat for two more sets.
Standing Overhead Lat Stretch
Stand with your body upright.
Lift your right arm overhead and bend your right elbow.
Hold your right elbow with your left hand and pull it toward the left until you feel a stretch in your back.
Stay in this stretched position for 15 to 30 seconds.
Take a one-minute break and repeat the stretch for two more sets
Standing Wall Lat Stretch
Stand a few feet away from the wall and face toward the wall.
Lean your torso forward until your back is about parallel to the floor.
Extend your arms and put your hands on the wall.
Maintain the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
Take a one-minute rest and repeat the stretch for two additional sets.
- You can also perform the kneeling lat stretch and the standing wall lat stretch unilaterally, or one side at a time. Doing so helps you better concentrate on the muscles being stretched, which can result in a better stretch.
- Do not execute the lat stretches prior to your back workout, as it may cause a hindrance in your performance.
Richard Choueiri is a fitness and nutrition expert and the author of "The Human Statue Workout." He began writing professionally in 2007 and his work has been featured in Bodybuilding.com and "Physique Magazine." Choueiri studied exercise science and nutritional science at Rutgers University. He holds an American College of Sports Medicine CPT, and a National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association CMMACC.