The Teres Major Muscle
aka "The Little Lat"
Anatomy of the Upper Back Muscles

The Teres Major is an upper back muscle that is also known as "The Little Lat". It's called the little lat because it does the same motions at the shoulder as the latissimus dorsi (the lats).

The Teres is located on the outside edge of the shoulder blade and it goes to the shoulder just next to the lats.

Origination/ Starting Position:

This upper back muscle begins on the back of the inferior angle of the scapula.

Insertion/ Ending Position:

This muscle inserts on the medial lip of the intertubercular (bicipital) groove.


This muscle adducts, extends, and medially rotates the arm. These are the same 3 actions that the latissimus dorsi does on the arm.

Nerve Supply:

This muscle is innervated by the lower subscapular nerve.

Teres Minor and the Rotator Cuff

There is a smaller teres muscle known as teres minor. Teres Minor is part of the rotator cuff, and it is located just about the major.

The major is not part of the rotator cuff.

Exercises for the Little Lat

Since this teres muscle does the same actions as the lats, any arm exercise that works the lats will also work "the little lat".

Pull ups, the lat pull down, and the seated row machine all work the "little lat".

This muscle always works with the lats, so you can't isolate it. Just know that it works with the lats, so including back exercises in your workout will work this upper back muscle.

Yours in health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT

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