The latissimus dorsi originates along the length of the lower thoracic vertebrae, thoracolumbar fascia, the lowest three ribs, and the iliac crest of the pelvis. It inserts at the bicipital groove of the humerus.The latissimus dorsi is a primary shoulder extensor in the sagittal plane. The latissimus dorsi is a primary shoulder adductor in the frontal plane
Why are the Lats important?
The lats connect the pelvic girdle and shoulder girdle and provide great stability to the torso. When performing barbell exercises the lats are key in keeping the bar close to the body and have a good bar path during deadlifts, snatches, etc.
Inverted Row versus Bent Over row
Inverted row: more lats and TS erector spinae. (better with barbell than TRX)
Bent over Row: more lower lumbar erector (Fenwick et al 2009)
Lat Pull down versus Pull-Ups
Vertical Pulling and Grip Width
During vertical pulling there is no difference between wide or narrow grip, but pronation does cause more activity in the lats
Horizontal pulling (rowing)
The Lats are more recruited when the torso is supported and when the arms are in supination. One study (Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College) shows 40% more lat recruitment with rowing compared to wide grip pull down.