Broad back muscle


Latin: Latissimus dorsi muscle
German: broad back muscle
English: latissimus dorsi muscle

Synergists: Pectoralis major muscle, pectoralis minor muscle
Antagonists: Deltoid muscle, Trapezius muscle


The broad back muscle (Musculus latissimus dorsi) lies directly under the skin surface of the back and makes up the largest muscle in our body in terms of area. It consists of a flat, 5mm thick muscle plate, which turns into a 3 cm thick muscle strand in its course to the humerus.

Here you will find information on the subject of back pain, therapy for back pain and the spine.


Approach: Small tuberosity of the humerus (Crista tuberculi minoris humeri)


  • Vortex part (pars vertebralis): Spinous processes of the 7-12 thoracic vertebrae, as well as lumbar and sacral vertebrae
  • Rib part (pars costalis): 10 - 12 rib
  • Pelvic part (pars iliaca): Iliac crest (crista iliaca)
  • Scapula part (pars scapularis): lower part of the shoulder blade (Anglus inferior scapulae)

Innervation: Thoracodorsal nerve, C 6-8

Illustration of the broad back muscle (M. latissimus dorsi)

Illustration of the broad back muscle (Musculus latissimus dorsi): chest seen from behind (A) and from the side (B).

Broad back muscle
(Musculus latissimus dorsi)

  1. Broad back muscle -
    (1.a + 1.b + 1.c + 1.d)
    Latissimus dorsi muscle
    1a. Shoulder blade proportion -
    Pars scapularis
    1.b Rib portion -
    Pars costalis
    1.c Spine part -
    Pars vertebralis
    1.d ilium portion -
    Pars iliaca
  2. Sacrum - Sacrum
  3. Iliac scoop -
    Ala ossis ilii
  4. Iliac crest -
    Iliac crest
  5. Upper arm shaft -
    Corpus humeri
  6. Shoulder blade - Scapula
  7. Big hump -
    Greater tuberosity
  8. 10th rib - Costa X
  9. 12th rib - Costa XII
  10. Lumbar vertebrae -
    Vertebrae lumbales

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations

How is the muscle trained / contracted?

The muscle is contracted when the arms are raised. The best exercise for training the broad back muscle in weight training is therefore

  • Lat pull

For detailed information on this topic, visit our topic back muscle training


The latissimus pulls this down when the arm is raised (Lat pull) This Adduction, retroverion and Internal rotation take place in backward movements of throwing and shock disciplines in athletics. It works with propped up arms Latissimus (M. latissimus dorsi) as holder of the trunk.

The broad back muscle (Musculus latissimus dorsi) develops the greatest force, similar to the large chest muscle after a pre-stretching. This can be seen very well in the example of a swinging stroke with an ax.

Strengthening and stretching

The athlete kneels and supports himself with one hand on the side. The other hand becomes similar to the stretch exercise for that oblique abdominal muscles held above the body. The body is leaned to one side and the upper body is turned slightly inwards.