Training

The Ultimate Guide : Why You Get Sore Lats From Burpees

April 8th 2019

Most people keep asking whether developing sore lats from burpees is normal.

The answer to this common question is, no! Doing burpees does not necessarily mean that you will experience some sort of pain on your latissimus dorsi or serratus anterior muscles.

The pain is not just a normal thing even if it is your first time to try doing burpees.

Usually, there are some causes of feeling soreness on the lats after burpees.

The first cause of soreness on your lats is when you perform burpees incorrectly.

A second cause is that you have weak lats. And the other one is when you overdo them.

Every stage of working out and performing burpees has its limits.

When you exceed the recommended sets and reps, the engaged muscles, nerves, and even ligaments may break down, causing the pain.

Keep reading to understand more about this abnormal soreness from burpees.

Why are sore lats from burpees not normal?

The main reason as to why sore lats from burpees are not normal is because burpees do not break down the lats when they are well-performed. Incorrect burpee technique, weak lats, and lack of recovery are several culprits that can contribute to sore lats.

In this section, therefore, you will apprehend how burpees cause back pain and specifically a sore latissimus dorsi muscle.

Looking at the movements from the bottom of your squatting to the top of the pushup position during a burpee; and back to the bottom of your squatting, there is a huge amount of hip-flexion that is required.

If you perform your regular burpees without adequate hip mobility, your lower back will need to flex.

This flexion will definitely occur at least twice during each repetition in your burpee exercise.

Therefore, when you perform a 7-minute burpee exercise and then you complete exactly 75 repetitions, you will quickly flex the lower part of the back for exactly 150 times.

This act increases the way you change the aggravation of your lower back.

To perform it well, you need to keep your lumbar spine neutral in every movement you make.

Also, each movement should majorly come from your hips.

If you are not able to get down to a complete squat then you should consider using a gym bench to place your hands on rather than putting them on the floor.

It is very important to improve core stability and as well as increase your hip mobility.

Another burpee action that may cause soreness on your lats is when transitioning from landing to the plank and then reverting back to the bottom of the squat.

If your lower back sags or extends excessively, the facet joints on each vertebra will become irritated.

Therefore, sore lats from burpees can come as a result of performing pushups while your hips are sagging.

Other mistakes in burpees

In addition to sore lats, here are three common mistakes gym-goers can make when doing burpees.

  1. The first mistake that most people commit incorrect positioning of the shoulder.

This means you do not have proper form. Burpees need significant upper body strength.

The strength that is required should specifically come from your shoulders.

Since most of the athletes out there are newbies, they often perform burpee movements with their elbows bent and shoulders asymmetrical.

That stresses the upper torso muscles, tendons, and ligaments which can cause back and shoulder injuries.

You should perform your burpee correctly by maintaining a proper pushup position throughout.

Also, ensure that your shoulders are squarely and symmetrically positioned over the wrists and elbows should be locked.

  1. Another common mistake that causes sore lats from burpees is committed during your second half movement.

Most people when they are transitioning from low squats into high plank positions, they can commit this mistake.

Putting your hands to the ground and jumping your feet back will automatically drop your hips and that adds pressure on your lower back.

Therefore, you should maintain painless lats after burpees by keeping your hips in proper alignment at this phase.

  1. The third mistake during burpees is the failure to enhance proper hip mobility.

If you get stuck during the movements especially after jumping the feet towards the hands, you are likely to squeeze your hips very tight.

That will not be an efficient burpee.

You will risk injuring your hips and hurting your back.

What are burpees?

First, you need to comprehend more about burpees, how they are performed, their benefits, and the repercussions of performing them wrongly.

So, what are burpees? Burpees is basically a conditioning exercise where an individual squats, places their palms on the floor just in front of their feet, then jumps back in a pushup position.

In some cases, the performer is required to complete a single push-up then returns to a squatting position and then jump up while extending their arms overhead.

Burpees are essential dubbed as one of the greatest bodyweight exercises which are used in metabolic conditioning.

The burpees exercise targets to workout multiple muscle groups in a single set than any other related bodyweight exercise.

The burpee exercise can as well be referred to as a squat thrust. Most people confuse that this exercise is used to enhance strength.

For very new lifters, this can be a strength workout.

However, many gym-goers will quickly realize burpees can be used to improve your conditioning and endurance.

As aforementioned, when burpees are performed the right way, you will not feel any pain.

So now, how do sore lats from burpees come up?

To understand this phenomenon you need to know the anatomy of lats and how they respond when someone is performing burpees.

What is Lats?

Having sore lats from burpees is not normal.

In this section, you will learn more about lats and how they are affected by performing burpees wrongly.

Lats is simply the short form of the latissimus dorsi.

Latissimus dorsi is, in essence, a large and flat muscle that covers the width part of the middle and the lower back.

These muscles connect the upper arm bone to the spine and your hip bone.

The latissimus dorsi muscle is also the largest v-shaped muscle in your back.

It covers the entire width of your back and it helps in controlling all shoulder movements.

Anatomy of latissimus dorsi muscle

Latissimus dorsi muscle (lats) originates from the lumbar vertebrae, iliac crest, and the lower thoracic.

Lats are attached to the scapula’s inferior angle as it spans up to form a ball and socket joint with the humerus bone.

The latissimus dorsi contributes to the excessive internal rotation of your arms and even the scapular abduction.

Also, this muscle is responsible for causing extension problems whenever the abdominal is weak.

How do sore lats feel?

When the latissimus dorsi muscle (lats) is injured, you are bound to feel pain.

This pain or soreness is fest on several parts of your back.

When you perform certain exercises or strain this muscle you will feel pain in the low back, middle to your upper back, through the base of the scapula, and even in the back of your shoulder.

The pain can as well extend to the inside of your arms and even down the fingers.

Ultimately, the soreness felt in the latissimus dorsi muscle (lats) is usually a result of overuse.

More about the latissimus dorsi muscle and other causes of soreness from burpees

Basically, the pain felt in burpees comes as a result of muscle overuse, weak muscles, exercising burpees without warming up, and poor techniques for performing burpees and other related activities.

Therefore, in this section, you will learn about other functions of lats and the things that trigger pain after burpees exercise.

The latissimus dorsi muscle is used mainly in:

  • Chest expansion during breathing in and out
  • Pushing against the armrests of a sit when you want to sit or stand
  • Weightlifting with your upper body
  • Rowing and throwing
  • Performing bench presses and burpees

Actually, it is very much possible to break down your latissimus dorsi muscle (lats) if you keep doing them and not taking adequate rest.

How to detect sore lats from burpees

It can be quite hard for you to tell which specific muscles are hurting because the latissimus dorsi muscle is closely connected to other muscles on your back.

However, there are major signs that can tell you that your latissimus dorsi muscle is injured from burpees.

If you are feeling pain in the following parts, then you might have suffered an injury during the burpees exercise.

  • The back of your shoulders
  • The middle and upper back
  • Tingling of your lower arms
  • Around the scapula base (shoulder blade)
  • The inside of your arms and sometimes extending to the fingers
  • Difficulty in breathing

Exercises for relieving sore lats from burpees

Physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises can help to treat sore lats from burpees or other exercises.

The following are the most effective exercises which can relieve the pain on the latissimus dorsi that is associated with burpees.

You should consult an expert to ensure that your exercises are correctly performed to avoid further injuries.

1. Back Bow

Performing a back bow pose, also known as the ‘Superman’ in rehab or yoga, can alleviate the pain in the lats.

This exercise is also used to stretch and strengthen your latissimus dorsi muscle.

To perform a back bow pose exercise you need to;

  • Lay face down on the yoga mat or the ground
  • Straighten your legs and arms and extend them away from your body. Ensure the arms are ahead of your head.
  • Use your back to raise your shoulders and then extended your limbs towards the roof.
  • Hold on in that position for 15 seconds before lowering.

2. Bridges

To perform bridges, you need to;

  • Lay flat on your back while the arms are placed aside.
  • Bend your legs till the heels are close to the buttocks.
  • Lift up your pelvic area towards the ceiling.
  • Keep repeating this and then slowly lower your pelvis to the floor. Make sure you keep your hands and feet intact.

Always remember to stay hydrated, apply a heating pad on the affected area before the exercise, warm-up, and warm-down before and after the workouts and going for occasional messages


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