Muscles of the Back: Anatomy and It’s Function


The back is one of the most important parts of the human anatomy and is often one of the most neglected in the gym. The reason for this is because the muscles in the back are less visible compared to an individual’s chest, abs, arms, and legs. The upper back and lats form one of the largest muscle groups and when trained properly will help you prevent injuries, improve your posture, and develop the appearance of a slimmer waist.

Muscles of the Back

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A) Trapezius, B) Teres Major, C)Teres Minor, D) Latissimus Dorsi, E) Levator Scapulae, F) Rhomboid Major. Reference : The Fascia and Muscles of the Upper Extremity.


The Trapezius is a triangular shaped muscle that covers almost all of the neck and a large part of the upper back. This muscle is responsible for the up, down, and backward movements of the shoulders, as well as the turning of the head.


The Rhomboids originate on the spinal column and attach to the shoulder blade. These muscles are responsible for squeezing the scapula (shoulder blades) together

Teres Major

This muscle originates on the outer edge of the scapula (shoulder blade) and attaches to the humerus (arm bone). It is responsible for pulling the arm back.

Latissimus Dorsi

This is the largest muscle of the back and is responsible for the V shape. This muscle is attached to the upper end of the humerus (arm bone) and runs down the back towards the hip. It is responsible for pulling the arm downward

Erector Spinae

This is a group of muscle that support the spinal column in the lower to mid back. They are responsible for extending the spine.

Workout Tips

A common complaint about back routines is that individuals are unable to feel the workout in their back and feel it more in their arms. To fix this issue, always start the exercise by flexing your back muscles and keep them flexed throughout the entire range of motion of the exercise.


IV. Myology. 7. The Fascia and Muscles of the Upper Extremity. a. The Muscles Connecting the Upper Extremity to the Vertebral Column. Gray, Henry. 1918. Anatomy of the Human Body. Published 2013. Accessed September 11, 2020.

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