Transform Your Training by Focusing on the Upper Body’s Glutes (The Lats)

Transform Your Training by Focusing on the Upper Body's Glutes (The Lats)


While many fitness enthusiasts in Boston concentrate on training the lower body’s glutes for aesthetic and strength reasons, it’s time to shift focus to the upper body’s powerhouse—the Latissimus Dorsi, or lats. At Sustain Physical Therapy, we regard the lats as the ‘glutes’ of the upper extremity, playing a pivotal role in trunk and core stability, and thus, overall athletic performance and injury rehab.

The Significance of Latissimus Dorsi in Core Stability and Pain Alleviation:

The lats are instrumental in ensuring trunk and core stability, facilitating contralateral glute activation, and preventing low back pain. Much like the fascial lines that traverse our body, imbalances in lat strength can lead to dysfunction and pain across various activities. By incorporating targeted lat exercises, individuals can significantly improve their core connection, enhancing both athletic performance and daily functional movements. At our Boston clinic for sports physical therapy and performance training, we emphasize a holistic approach to strengthening these crucial muscles.

Reframing Upper Extremity Training :

Reframing Upper Extremity Training :

Understanding the lats’ role beyond mere back strength to core stability and force transmission can transform how we approach upper body training. Just as the glute maximus is crucial for rotation and force production in the lower body, the lats serve a similar function for the upper body. By focusing on exercises that promote unilateral patterns and full lat lengthening, athletes and non-athletes alike can unlock new levels of strength and efficiency in their movements.

Key Exercises to Strengthen the ‘Upper Body Glutes’ :

  1. Split Stance Rotational Row: This exercise emphasizes hip rotation and lat engagement, fostering a seamless kinetic chain connection.
  2. Split Kneeling Single Arm Lat Pull Down: Offering stability and a full stretch through the lats, this movement integrates hip engagement, crucial for comprehensive physical therapy and performance training regimens.


At Sustain Physical Therapy in Boston, we’re dedicated to innovating how individuals train and rehabilitate their bodies. Recognizing the critical role of the lats—or the ‘glutes’ of the upper extremity—in maintaining core stability, enhancing athletic performance, and facilitating injury rehab, including tendinopathy recovery, is just the beginning. Embrace these insights and exercises to transform your approach to physical wellness and strength.

For personalized guidance on integrating these strategies into your routine, or if you’re seeking expert physical therapy in Boston, reach out to Sustain Physical Therapy. Let us help you achieve your performance and rehabilitation goals with our comprehensive approach to physical wellness.

a man in a green shirt smiling in front of a gym.

Dr. Adam Babcock PT, DPT

Sustained Fitness and PT

"We Help Active Adults Quickly Recover From Pain Or Injury So They Can Stay Active, Get Back To What They Love To Do, and Do It For Decades"