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Why Do My Lats Hurt After Shoulder Press?

Numerous times I have been asked the question: Why do my lats hurt after shoulder press?

After completing a workout session on overhead pressing, you might experience lat soreness, which is natural. Ultimately, shoulder press exercises are very strenuous and put a lot of pressure on your back.

Although muscle soreness while doing overhead presses is normal, you might feel alarmed if the pain lingers long after your workout. But there is nothing to worry about. You can overcome this tight sensation with just some changes in your workout routine and position.

We have listed out what causes your lats to hurt after shoulder press and what you can do to eliminate it. So let’s get right into it.

Where Are My Lats Located?

The latissimus dorsi muscle, more commonly known as the lats, is the largest muscle in your upper body. This muscle begins from under the shoulder blades and reaches all the way to the spine and lower body.

When you do overhead or military presses, your lats are in action and help to firm and strengthen the shoulders. Unlike the serratus anterior, which is at the side of the ribs, a sore back can mean pain originating from the lats muscle.

Common Reasons for Sore Lats after Shoulder Press Exercise

Although it is not preferable to oversimplify the reasons for your back pain from pressing movements and exercise, a few common causes can be highlighted.

1. Arching Your Back Too Far

One important thing you should know is that your lats work to stabilize your shoulder blades and the weight you are carrying during the shoulder press exercise.

So if your back is arched while doing heavy bench presses, your lats have to strain harder to stabilize your back. Hence, you will end up feeling a discomforting tight feeling in your muscles.

2. Weak Lats in General

If you constantly feel soreness while doing overhead presses, then your lats are likely weak. But no need to worry because this can be overcome by putting more emphasis on pulling exercises rather than pushing.

You will see a noticeable difference in your lats afterward.

3. You Have Tight Lats

Having tight lats is one of the most common reasons for feeling lat soreness. This is mainly caused due to poor posture resulting from extensive hours of sitting.

We have previously mentioned that pulling exercises are better than pushing when it comes to your back. But sometimes, too much pulling can be a bad thing.

So rather than focusing on just one type of exercise, you should work on balancing your workouts and building a proper form for your body.

4. Pain Originating from Serratus Anterior

The soreness you feel while doing weight overhead presses might not be in lats at all. Instead, it is possible that your serratus anterior muscle is sore.

This set of muscles aids in the movement of your shoulders and arms. They are quite close to where your lats are located, so the area of the sore feeling can be easily mistaken.

But there is not much to worry about because there are special exercises to strengthen the serratus anterior muscles too.

Are Lat Muscle Activation and Shoulder Press Difficulty Related?

Lat muscle activation plays a crucial role in shoulder press difficulty reasons. Strong lats stabilize the shoulder joint during this exercise, enhancing your pressing power and reducing strain on the deltoids. Insufficient lat activation can lead to shoulder instability and decrease the overall difficulty of the shoulder press.

How Do I Stop My Lats from Hurting after Shoulder Press?

Exercises like military press and pull ups are undoubtedly difficult, so some amount of soreness afterward is expected. But when the pain in your lats becomes a regular thing, there are a couple of corrections you should consider.

1. Correct Posture

One of the most important things for any sort of exercise is being in the proper position. Otherwise, you could get an injury and other sore body parts.

Be sure not to arch your back too much, and keep your head straight. If you are used to doing overhead press exercises while standing, try switching to bench press exercises.

Moreover, you should also make sure that your posture is correct when doing bench press activities.

2. Consider Weight Training

As you already know, shoulder press and military press exercises are very difficult and involve a lot of weight. So before you go ahead with heavy military presses, it is essential that you do some training in regard to different weights.

That way, you will get accustomed to the different levels of weight, know what to lift, and focus on the correct areas of muscle growth. Also, instead of trying to get more reps done in the first few days, start slow with arms overhead and no extra weight.

Doing squats while carrying dumbbells is a really good way of weight training which will help build muscle in your biceps and triceps.

3. Try Foam Rolling

If you have tight lats, in particular, foam rolling before or after your presses can help eliminate the tightness and sore feeling. In addition, the stretching motion achieved from this will ease up the muscles in your lats and make the pressing motion during exercise much easier.

Your hip flexors will release while doing this activity, which eases the pelvic muscles as well.

4. Do More Pulling Exercises

Although you shouldn’t be doing too much pulling, considerably, it should be more than the pushing you’re doing in the gym. So, considering your weekly routine, multiply your pulling exercises by two compared to the pulling ones.

Not only will your lats stop hurting, but your chest muscles will also firm up at some point.

Final Words

As we’re all familiar with the term “no pain, no gain,” – it is most true when the premise is the gym. But even after some point, there shouldn’t be too much pain after your workouts.

Once you can figure out the core reason for the pain in your lats after shoulder pressing, you can start from there and take the corrective actions accordingly. As discussed, the most common reason is incorrect posture while exercising the wrong focus on muscles.

So you actually don’t have much to worry about. When you finally find out all the issues, you can hit your objective and become a master at overhead pressing!

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About Ben Adler

I'm Ben, a passionate fitness enthusiast on a mission to help you achieve your fitness goals. With a love for lifting and building a well-rounded physique, I founded Swole Class to provide beginners with the guidance and knowledge they need to navigate the gym and embrace a healthier lifestyle. Join me on this journey as we unlock our potential and inspire greatness together. Learn more about me