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Home > Dysfunction Tests > Latissimus Dorsi Dysfunction

Latissimus Dorsi Dysfunction

latissimus dorsi


If your latissimus dorsi are short, this will screw up your shoulder range of motion.  What this basically means is that you can’t get your arms up over your head without pain in the shoulder joints (there’s four of them, you know), and even when you do, you can’t reach up and back as far as a healthy latissimus would allow.  Tight latissimus dorsi will cause your shoulder blades to be rotated forward (i.e. the top of the shoulder blade is farther forward than the bottom).


  1. Lie on the ground on your back.
  2. Bend your knees to 90 degrees with your feet flat on the floor, making sure your lower back is flat against the floor.


Without shrugging your shoulders, reach your arms up over your head (in this case, parallel to the floor, because you’re lying down) without bending your elbows at all.


If your hands/arms cannot rest on the floor, you fail.  If your hands/arms rest on the floor but you had to arch your back (lift it off the ground) to any degree, you also fail.

trapezius dysfunction test

too tight - notice the hands can't reach the ground

trapezius dysfunction test

too tight - notice the arched lower back

trapezius dysfunction test

just right - complete range of motion

If you failed the test, all this means is that your latissimus dorsi are tighter/shorter than is optimal for full range of motion and shoulder joint health.  All you have to do to correct this problem is stretch your latissimus dorsi, and, ideally, use self-massage on your tight latissimus dorsi to work out any soft tissue adhesions. The Floota.com article on back massagers is a good place to start.

Further Reading: Related Floota.com Articles

  1. Desk Jockey: What Sitting All Day is Doing to Your Back
  2. Stability Ball Back Stretch
  3. Thoracic Stretch


  1. Health Science Center, SUNY

Last Updated: 6/7/2011
Originally Posted: 4/7/2008