Soft tissue tightness and restriction in the latissimus dorsi is a common problem in overhead athletes, throwers, weight lifters and Crossfit participants.  I often educate clientele on self myofascial release techniques using a trigger point ball or foam roller. But, I also like using a partner technique with the Stick.

Begin in standing grasping the frame of a squat rack.  You may also elect to hold both handles of a TRX.  Next, slowly squat down and lean back allowing the shoulders to move into flexion.  Once in position, the trainer or workout partner will use the Stick to apply pressure and roll up and down along the latissimus especially working on the soft tissue near the shoulder.


Perform this technique for 30-60 seconds and then switch sides.  Adjust pressure and location based on feedback from the client.


This exercise allows for soft tissue work in a stretched position for the muscle.  Alleviating tightness and myofascial restrictions will be especially helpful for pitchers, swimmers, tennis players and those frequently engaging in overhead squats, snatches, and other overhead lifts.  Optimal shoulder mobility will lower the risk of impingement.  in addition, adequate shoulder mobility reduces stress on the lumbar spine as lumbar hyperextension is a common compensation seen for poor shoulder mobility.

If a training partner is unavailable to perform this specific technique, consider using a tennis ball while standing with one arm elevated overhead and leaning into the ball.  Position the elevated arm/side of the body against the wall, and move the body/ball to perform compression and rolling over the latissimus.  Following soft tissue work, doing some active mobility exercise is recommended.

Click here to read an earlier blog entry and see an effective mobility drill to improve your lat flexibility.