How to Remember The Latissimus Dorsi Muscle Anatomy

This blog will teach you how to remember the Latissimus Dorsi Muscle for your Anatomy Exam

You’ll discover:

  • Why FitPros find muscles hard to revise
  • The origin, insertion, location and action of the Latissimus Dorsi
  • 5 steps to remember the latissimus dorsi muscle
  • How to learn muscle anatomy with simplicity
  • Three Example Mock Question about the Latissimus Dorsi

Why FitPros find Muscles hard to revise

Muscles are notoriously claimed to be one of the hardest topics within Level 2 and 3 Anatomy and Physiology exam syllabus, so you are not alone if you find this area difficult to understand.

There are 26 muscles to learn at Level 2 Anatomy and Physiology, and 50 to learn for Level 3 anatomy and physiology exam.

This volume of knowledge can be overwhelming enough, and then add to it the requirement to learn 4 items of information per muscle:

  • origin
  • insertion
  • location
  • action

Although you might not actually be quoting the detailed facts for muscles with your clients, the knowledge of this is foundational and absolutely crucial in order to create balanced workout plans and understand how the body moves.

The origin, insertion, location and action of the Latissimus Dorsi

Note: The above image is taken form the Parallel Coaching Muscle Memory Sprint

Origin of the Latissimus Dorsi:

Remember the origin is the attachment closest to the heart (except rectus abdominus). As the Latissimus Dorsi is so large there are a few origins

So the origin is the vertebrae T5-T12, as well the Thoracolumbar fascia, which is the large sheet of fascia spanning over the lumbar spine.

The Latissimus dorse also originates at the Iliac Crest (large boney arc of the pelvis) and the inferior (lowest) angle of the scapula.

Insertion of the Latissimus Dorsi:

Although the lats have multiple origns there is only one attachment. This is on the anterior (front) upper humerus.

You can often feel this area fatiguing during a Lat Pull Down Exercise, with a dull ache just under the triceps halfway up the upper arm.

Location of the Latissimus Dorsi:

The lats cover the posterior torso (back) and side of the torso, as seen in the image above.

Actions of the Latissimus Dorsi:

The fact that all origins are on the torso, and the insertion is on the humerus tell you that the main joint action must be movements of the shoulder girdle and arm, bringing it closer to the torso.

During concentric contraction the origin and insertion get closer together.
Because there are do many origins you’ll notice that there are three main joint actions that occur, and these are all in different planes of motion. This means that the Latissimus Dorsi can be targeted in lots of different exercises.

Concentric Contraction of the Latissimus Dorsi causes the following actions:

  • Adduction of the Shoulder (frontal plane movement)
  • Extension of the Shoulder (sagittal plane movement)
  • Internal Rotation of the Shoulder (transverse plane movement)

Exercises for the Latissimus Dorsi:

Exercises that work the latissimus dorsi in the concentric pahse include:

  • Lat-Pull Down
  • Chin Ups
  • Seated row
  • Bent Over Row
  • Straight Arm Pullover (isolation exercise)
  • Straight Arm Pull Down (isolation exercise)

5 steps to remember the latissimus dorsi muscle

Use these 5 steps to help you memorise any muscle in the body.

Infographic - how to remember the muscles of the body

In summary

  • Muscles might appear difficult to learn and memorise, but learning them will really help you as a FitPro and help you pass both level 2 and level 3 anatomy exams
  • Use the 5 steps to easily remember the key facts about every muscle for your exam
  • Here’s what Lydia had to say about our Revision Resources

I can’t recommend Parallel Coaching enough their learning material is fantastic and definitely was a huge factor in me passing my A&P level 3.


Test your knowledge with today’s latissimus dorsi mock questions:

[NOTE: The answers are below the 3rd questions]

1. Which joint action occurs at the shoulder during concentric contraction of the Latissimus Dorsi?
A. Shoulder Extension
B. Shoulder Flexion
C. Shoulder Abduction
D. Scapula Elevation

2. Which exercise would target the Latissimus Dorsi as a Prime Mover?
A. Frontal Raise
B. Lateral Raise
C. Press Up
D. Chin Up

3. Where does the Latissimus Dorsi Insert?
A. Radius
B. T5-T12 vertebrae
C. Upper Humerus
D. Iliac Crest

What’s the CORRECT answer?

Answers to the mock questions are :

Question 1= A, Question 2 = D, Question 3 = C

If you want more mock questions like this, then you can download more Free Mock Questions: DOWNLOAD NOW

How to learn orgins and insertions?

Learn, Revise & Remember All 50 Muscles In The Level 3 Anatomy & Physiology Exam.

(and the BEST part…You can do all this in as little as 5-minutes a day)

Each flashcard gives you a clear image and six clear muscle facts:

  •  Name and Location
  •  Origin and Insertions
  •  Muscle Actions
  •  Joints Crossed
  •  Primary Planes Of Movement
  •  Exercise Examples

Dedicated to More

Hayley “How to Remember The latissimus dorsi” Bergman

Parallel Coaching

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