#PTonICE Daily Show – Tuesday, April 16th, 2024 – Optimize your lat mobility

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, Extremity Division Leader Lindsey Hughey reviews the anatomy of the latissimus dorsi muscle, its relevance to overhead movement, and discusses two ways to begin to improve long-term functional mobility. Lindsey also provides a rehabilitation every minute on the minute (rEMOM) program to begin to use for an HEP for patients who need to improve their own lat mobility.

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PT on Ice daily show. How are you? I am Dr. Lindsay Hughey from our extremity division, here with you today on a clinical Tuesday to share some pearls of how we’ll get after our LAT mobility. So I first wanna just briefly unpack the function of the LAT, so a little anatomy review, and then I wanna discuss two ways to really get after mobility access, demo those two ways, and then suggest them in a rehab EMOM sequence for you all, so you can directly use it yourselves, or use it with your patients in the clinic. A lot of our overhead athletes, our weightlifters, our crossfitters, maybe even just our stiff shoulders need more access to lat mobility.

So let’s first just review what is the lat and where is it? Well, the latissimus dorsi is responsible for internal rotation of the arm, arm adduction, arm extension, and it even assists in respiration. in both inhalation and exhalation. It spans quite a big area of our extrinsic superficial back muscles. So we have a vertebral part that goes from our spinous processes and converges into the thoracolumbar fascia, goes all the way down to our iliac crest. There are even connections into that inferior angle of the scapula, and then even 9 through 12 ribs. So it spans quite a bit of area. The reason we review all of those areas is when you’re doing your mobility work, you really want to make sure you hit all of those and make sure to challenge them.

So I’m going to show you how we can do two versions, a way where we fix the arms overhead and move the body away to traction the lats from below. And then I’m going to review how you can fix from below and then move lats from above. What we won’t do this morning, though, is just a static hold stretch. So before I review these two with you, I want you to know that purposely these two moves are so effective because in the first we’re going to use a hold relax technique. So we’re going to actually use isometric contraction, hold, and then lengthen tissue longer. And what we see with our ISOs, as long as you hold it at least six to seven seconds, I’m gonna make you all push to 10, but we see this increase in neural drive and we get those Golgi tendon organs to chill out and make that agonist, the deltoid relax so that we can actually gain more lat access. The second exercise, we’re gonna actually go after eccentric training. So the reason we choose eccentrics as we see constant and ongoing research links to improve strength and length and even greater cortical excitability when we train in eccentric fashion versus just like a static hold or even doing concentric work for our lats. So without further ado, let me show you these two exercises. So number one, we’re going to fix from above by putting our elbows on a surface. I’m going to show you on a bench here today, but it could be a bar. It could be a foam roller, whatever feels good for your body. It could even be the counter or a wall surface. So we’re going to put our elbows in like a goalpost position, and then we’re going to fix our arms here. And we’re going to lean our hips back, but we’re going to actively contract our arms down for a hold of 10 seconds, then relax and push our hips away. So we get this tractional effect from below. So it’ll look like this. So elbows down, and we’re going to push into the object while we push our head down. And we’re going to push down for 10 seconds. and then access greater length. So you’ll notice that I push my hips back and away as I gain access to new length, but that key piece is activate for 10 seconds into the surface, pushing down, and then move away. To fully maximize this particular movement, we’re also going to tie our breath work, because remember I said function of lats is helpful in inhalation and exhalation, And then we have links directly to those ribs. So we’re going to pair our breath with this. So we’ll do it one more time, but this time we’re going to link that isometric hold with an inhalation. And then on our exhalation, we’re going to move away. So it looks like so we’re going to go hold for 10 seconds, pushing down and then exhale and push the body away. And then we would do another rep pushing down 10 seconds. Inhale. And then exhale. For those that are just listening to this this morning, I do suggest watching the video so you get the visual. But we would repeat that for at least five to six reps. I’m going to show you how we’ll do that in a rehab EMOM. But we really want to get at least a six to seven second hold of that isometric where we’re pushing down before we lengthen. The key parts here being tie breathwork with it. And then don’t forget to access more length and maintain it. So that next isometric hold where you’re pushing down in the hold relax sequence should be in that newer length. The second exercise we are going to review today is eccentric training. So we are going, I’m going to lay in either hook lying position or you can put your legs up to put further tension on the thoracolumbar fascia. My palms are going to face toward the ceiling and I’m going to slowly lower a bar. Right now I just have a PVC pipe with a plate on it and I’m going to slowly lower eccentrically. I want the slowly lower to be three to four seconds and then a hold for three seconds at the bottom. And you’ll repeat this with a goal of eight to 20 reps or what in extremity management we would call our rehab dose. Keys being that eccentric slowly lowering on the way down and the hold at the bottom. So we want about three to four seconds in each of those parts. Don’t care as much about that concentric raising portion. Appreciate this eccentric could be done with dumbbells as well or kettlebells. I love starting with a PVC pipe and just a five pound change plate for those that are new to lat access. So we have two things that we’ve reviewed so far. We are going to do Number one, our ISO hold, where we get into a position where our lats are on tension and you push and drive the elbows down for 10 seconds. And then after that 10 seconds of inhalation and pushing down, you’ll exhale and lengthen those lats into a new mobility access area. The second one is that eccentric overhead with the either Dow or PVC pipe and weight. Just these two things done.

So if you do each of these for a minute and you do three rounds, you have yourself a very efficient six minute rehab EMOM to attack lap mobility access. Nothing gets more bang for the buck when you combine both of these and you’ll get relaxation. Start subbing your static hold stretches that either you’re doing or that you’re doing for your patients and really get the neuromuscular system on board to see change more rapidly. From a frequency perspective, at least two to three days a week is something I would recommend for my patients to get after and even using it as like a precursor before they do some overhead work because we know what will solidify this even more is then to actually load it and do some functional meaningful thing.

If you want to learn more about how to even test if your patient has lat mobility tightness, if you want to dive a little bit more into dosage and the rationale behind eccentrics and why we don’t use static stretches in our course at extremity management, Mark, Cody, and I and our extremity team would love to see you on the road. Um, and literally we have courses all throughout this year, almost every month in May, May 18th, 19th, I’ll be in Bellingham, Washington, and our director of marketing say will be with me. So if you want to join us, that is sure to be a blast. And then June 1st and 2nd, we have two offerings, one in Wisconsin and then one in Texas. So check us out on ptlnice.com. if you want to learn more about how we think and treat the lats. Thanks for tuning in with me today. And if you’re listening, be sure to watch the video later. Take care, everybody.

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