Lats Sore After a Shoulder Workout? [Here’s Why]

Although they are not a primary muscle used during shoulder workouts, your lats are essential for performing many shoulder exercises. In fact, an intense shoulder workout often results in lat soreness. This may be due to increased workout intensity, improper exercise form, or lats that are much weaker than your shoulders. To prevent sore lats, make sure to gradually build up to heavy shoulder workouts. Slow down your reps so you can focus on maintaining proper form during each shoulder exercise. Additionally, make sure your workout schedule contains days that focus on building muscle in your lats, mid-back, and the rear of your shoulders to prevent future soreness.

Lats sore after shoulder workout

Why Do Shoulder Workouts Cause Sore Lats?

The latissimus dorsi, or lats, are the largest muscles in your back. They play a vital role in many upper body movements, including those involving your shoulders. Your lats help with shoulder adduction, extension, and internal rotation. So, it’s no surprise that they get involved during shoulder workouts.

  • Your lats assist during several shoulder movements.
  • The lats are responsible for shoulder stabilization during exercises that target the shoulders.
  • Although your lats are secondary muscles used during a shoulder workout, this is still enough to cause sore lats.

When you’re targeting your shoulders, your lats are often working as stabilizers or secondary movers. This means they’re helping to support the targeted muscles and maintain proper form. If you’re doing exercises like shoulder presses, lateral raises, or even push-ups, your lats are engaged to some extent.

3 Common Reasons for Lat Soreness After a Shoulder Workout

Now that we understand the relationship between the lats and shoulder workouts, let’s dive into some common reasons for lats soreness.


One possible reason your lats are sore after a shoulder workout is simply overloading. If you’ve increased the weight, volume, or intensity of your workout, your lats may have taken on more work than they’re used to. This can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue. This can be a good sign, since it shows you are challenging your muscles. However, overworking fatigued muscles can cause injury, so be careful.

Poor Form

Another reason for lats soreness could be poor form or technique. If you’re not executing your shoulder exercises with proper alignment and control, your lats may be compensating for other muscles’ weaknesses or imbalances. This overcompensation can lead to strain and soreness in your lats. Make sure to perform each shoulder exercise with your back straight and your shoulder blades retracted. Remember to move the weight in a slow, controlled manner. Additionally, exhale during the strenuous movement of the exercise. Then, inhale as you return to the starting position.

Imbalanced Muscle Groups

When some muscle groups are stronger or more developed than others, it can place undue stress on the less developed muscles, like your lats. If your lats are less developed than you shoulders, they can become sore after a shoulder workout. To prevent this, make sure to work out your lats and other back muscles as often as you exercise your chest. Additionally, incorporate these rear delt exercises into your routine to build balanced shoulder strength that takes the strain off your lats.

3 Remedies for Sore Lats

If you do find yourself with sore lats after a shoulder workout, here are the best ways to alleviate the discomfort.


Giving your muscles time to recover is essential for reducing soreness. Allow your lats to rest for two days before working them again. This gives them the opportunity to repair and rebuild, ultimately making them stronger. Working your lats again less than 48 hours after a tough workout can result in injury or overtraining. Both of these negative outcomes will slow your fitness progress.

Ice and Heat Therapy

Applying ice to your sore lats can help reduce inflammation and provide some pain relief. After the initial swelling has subsided, you can switch to heat therapy. Using a heating pad or taking a warm shower can help increase blood flow to the area and promote muscle relaxation. Using the “cold-then-hot” method will help to soothe sore muscles and prepare you for your next workout.

Massage and Foam Rolling

Massaging or foam rolling your sore lats can help alleviate discomfort by breaking up muscle knots and increasing blood flow. Be gentle and start with light pressure, gradually increasing it as your muscles start to relax. After your massage, make sure to drink plenty of water. Medical professionals state that hydrating after a massage helps your body flush out waste. Staying hydrated will reduce lat soreness more quickly.

Is it Common to Have Sore Lats After a Shoulder Workout?

Lats soreness after a shoulder workout is not uncommon, but it’s essential to understand why it happens. Here are the key facts:

  • Many shoulder exercises engage your lats as secondary muscles.
  • Your lats may get an intense enough workout that they are sore after your shoulder workout.
  • Adding more weight, reps, or exercises to your shoulder workout increases the chance you’ll have sore lats.
  • Incorrect form during shoulder exercises can cause sore lats.
  • Underdeveloped lats are more likely to become sore after you work out your shoulders.
  • If your lats are sore, allow at least 48 hours of rest before targeting them in another workout.
  • Use ice and hot showers to soothe lat soreness.
  • Massage and hydration will help reduce late soreness more quickly.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to keep your lats in great shape, even after those intense shoulder workouts.

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