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Workout Wednesday–Find Those Lats!

Just got back early in the morning yesterday from a wonderful time of visiting my dear friend (well, we decided we were twins separated at birth!) J. and her family in New England!  (Which is why you haven’t heard from me for last Friday or yesterday!)

We had some T-Tapp classes and I had a lot of fun and I hope everyone else did, too!

You hear about the lats in T-Tapp a LOT!  So where are they and how do you find them?

“Lats” refers to the latissimus dorsi.  You can click here  to see where your lats are located.    This is one area that is hard to get and keep activated until you have the mind-to-muscle connection.   One easy way to “wake up” a muscle is to tighten it, then poke it.   This work well for the inner thighs, right before you do Plies, and in The Box, this is partly what you are doing when you are pulling up and in and pressing in with your fingers.

But the lats are a bit harder to “poke at” while you’re in T-Tapp stance!  You could have a friend or husband or child poke there to help you feel it and tighten, but I have found some people will automatically tighten there but still not be aware of it.

Teresa showed us another way to find and engage the lats when we were at Ft. Lauderdale in February.

Stand with your back against a wall–bring your feet out just enough to be able to “curl the core” and flatten the lower lumbar against the wall.   Now bend your arms at the elbows, with the hands straight out in front of you.   Palms should be facing, thumbs on top.   Slowly open out the arms and somewhere close to or when the backs of your hands touch the wall, you should feel the lats kick in!  Remember to keep the core curled while doing this.

Now stand away from the wall, toes forward, bend knees, tuck/curl core, lift ribs and push knees out (T-Tapp stance).  Again, put hands in front as above, and slowly open arms out and keep lifting those ribs and you should be able to feel the lats again, but away from the wall!

“Ribs up” is a BIG KEY to this, so throughout the day, lift your ribs and “set the lats”.  That means just tighten them a bit—do not be overinvasive (yes, I’m talking to you Type A’s out there! ;) ).   This will help improve your posture tremendously!  You will also make more room for your organs.  

Charlotte Siems, the wonderful mama of 12  and T-Tapp Trainer who lost 10 sizes, said that when she won the 60 Day Challenge in 2007 and went to the Safety Harbor Retreat she asked Teresa what she could do for her tummy.

Teresa’s answer?

“Lift ribs, set lats.” 

Charlotte attested that it really helped with the tummy!

Teresa also has shared, especially in the LadyBug move and workout, that stretching that rib to hip really helps with hormonal balance.  But even if you don’t have LadyBug, you can incorporate this.

First of all, find and use your lats!   All throughout the day!  A great way to do this is while driving—hang onto the steering wheel underhanded, pull your belly button up and back to your spine, curl your core, ribs up.  Now, gently squeeze the hands on the steering wheel and tighten those lats!  Release, then tighten, release, tighten, release….etc. 

When you go over to a flat back in Primary Back Stretch, push those thumbs into your hips/back to really get those elbows up.   Pretend you have a beach ball balancing on your back!   Tighten the buns, pull that tummy up to your spine and engage the lats.  Press your breast bone to the floor to help as well.

Keeping ribs up during the head tilting and turning portions of the second half of PBS will also help.

Plies—ahhh!  May I confess to you that the first two sets are tough for me to keep my ribs up and lats set?!    Doing them slowly in front of a mirror is the best way to watch what is happening and get a feel for what “right” feels like as you’re seeing it in the mirror.   Hold the plie squat to really focus on ribs up, lats set throughout the Plie sequence.   A good tip on the Chest Press portions is to think “ribs up, ribs up, ribs up,” as your elbows come in, then “elbows up, elbows up, elbows up,” as your elbows go back out, to keep from dropping them below shoulder level.

Reach Scoops—here’s a great one for practicing that rib to hip stretch!   Get into position, making sure you are standing as between two panes of glass.  Tilt, keeping that alignment (not leaning back or forward).   Keep that belly button to spine at all times,  and as you reach up and inhale, reach down with the other arm, too.  Keep those ribs UP (think breastbone to ceiling) while stretching.  Now flip the palm and reach away as if someone else is pushing against that top hand to help keep the lats engaged.

Jazz Twist—you know what I’m going to say—ribs UP!  :)   Thinking ribs up right before you twist helps, as does really pushing with that thumb into the back of your hip.  Get that back elbow back, using the thumb to help press it back.   Initiate the move with your back shoulder, but use the lats on your reaching side to keep that shoulder from climbing towards your ears.  This is also a good move to do slowly in front of a mirror to check on your form, and doing it slowly helps you feel the muscles work!

I’ll share more tips to keep the lats engaged next week for the rest of the moves in BWO+.   Try these in your workouts this week as well as throughout the day, standing, walking, sitting (especially at the computer!) think, “Ribs UP, SET lats!”  and see if you don’t feel better!   You might even see a little trimming of the tummy, pec and bust measurements from getting those lats on board!  ;)

Until next week, happy Tappin’!

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2 Responses to “Workout Wednesday–Find Those Lats!”

  1. Mrs. S says:

    These really do work! My LATS are STILL it after this past weekend! If anyone can get some with the “new” T-Tapp trainer in Training, Trisch, do it! You won’t regret it! Hi “Sis”…waving madly ….

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