Back Muscles Anatomy

The back muscle anatomy includes the teres major, rhomboid, erector spinae, trapezius and latissimus doris muscles. In this article, we will be discussing each of these back muscles, their functional anatomy and where they are located.

Function Of Your Back Muscles

Your back anatomy includes several individual muscles. They include some of the most functionally important and largest muscles within the human body.

Your back muscles allow you to stand upright; protect and support your spine; and extend, pull and reach your torso and arms.

When the back muscles are poorly developed and weak it can lead to numerous problems ranging from muscles tweaks, imbalances and pulls of the musculature as well as a hunched-over appearance. These things may all result in lower back pain symptoms.

1. Back Muscles

2. Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)

Your back’s latissimus dorsi muscle is also referred to as “wings” or lats” and is the most well-known and largest back muscle.

When lats are large enough, they give the body a V-taper look due to their protruding appearance on the back of the ribs and under the armpits.

Your lats muscles help you reach with your arms and pulling, as well as support your body in various situations and with many movements.

To develop your lats muscles, various back exercises can be employed, including deadlifts, dumbbell one arm rows, barbell bent over rows, pull ups and lat pulldowns.

Trapezius (Traps)

Your trapezius muscles are located in between your neck and shoulder. Given that they extend higher than your collarbone, they are the most noticeable from the front; although the reach all the way into your lower back area.

The traps are comprised of three muscle fiber sections: the upper trapezius, the middle trapezius and lower trapezius. The trapezius are very complex back muscles. They control your shoulder blades (scapulae), which play a major role in such functions as head support, neck movement and shrugging.

Well developed and even trapezius muscles can prevent neck and shoulder problems as well as finish off and highlight your physique. The upper traps are hit the strongest by power cleans, deadlifts and shrugs. To target the lower and middle traps, do seated rows, barbell rows, cable face pulls or dumbbell rear deltoid raises.

Erector Spinae (Spinal Erectors)

These muscles line the spinal ranging from your upper to lower back. Your spinal erectors let you extend and flex your back in all directions. They also protect and support your vertebrae, which means that having strong spinal erectors will improve core stabilization and posture.

Good back training will result in them developing and providing your total body strength with a boost. It will also help to improve the density or thickness of your back. The best exercise to develop these muscles with are deadlifts. Other exercises all hit these muscles, including the barbell squat (particularly when heavier loads are used), barbell good morning and hyperextensions.


The location of the rhomboid muscle is on the upper part of the back anatomy, under the trapezius. These muscles originate from the vertebrae before inserting into your scapulae. Your rhomboid muscle is activated whenever you bring together and squeeze you shoulder blades or scapula together and back. The best back exercises to perform to target the rhomboids muscles are chin ups, pull ups, one-arm rows, t-bar rows, seated rows and barbell rows.

Teres Major

These are small but important back muscles. They are located under the lats, and have been nicknamed “Little Lat.” The teres major works along with the lats. However, it works as well with the rotator cuff muscles. The functions that it performs including rotating your arms inward and pulling them downward.

This muscle is most directly targeted by dumbbell pullovers and straight-arm lat pulldowns. However, it is rarely necessary to perform these kinds of isolation muscles. That is because the teres major muscle can be worked by performing compound back exercises, which include various rowing and pull up movements.

As you can see the anatomy of your back muscles is quite complex and involves a number of distinct and separate muscles that all work together. It is very important to keep your back muscles healthy and strong in order for them to function properly and support the rest of your body.