Teres Major Muscle Anatomy
& Exercises 101: The "Little Lat"

The teres major is a small back muscle located on the outside of the lat. It plays a role in various arm and shoulder movements.

Due to its proximity to the latissimus dorsi, it has been nicknamed the "Little Lat"...

...Although I like to call mine "Lat Junior."

As with the lats, its major role is moving your arms downwards from a raised position (think of pull ups).

There is a glossary of anatomical definitions at the end of the page, in case you have trouble with some of the terms throughout this guide.

Use the table of contents (TOC) to jump to any section of this page.

Teres Major Anatomy

Teres Major

Teres Major

  • Origin
    • Posterior Aspect and Lateral Side of the Inferior Angle of the Scapula
  • Insertion
    • Medial Lip of the Intertubercular Groove of the Anterior Aspect and Medial Side of the Proximal Humerus
  • Function
    • Internal Shoulder Rotation
    • Shoulder Extension
    • Shoulder Adduction

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Teres Major Muscle Exercises

Exercises. Below is a list of the exercises that most directly workout the teres major muscle.

  • Barbell Pullovers
  • Bent Over Row
  • Cable Internal Shoulder Rotations (Seated or Standing)
  • Dumbbell Internal Shoulder Rotations (Lying)
  • Lat Pull Downs
  • Machine Internal Shoulder Rotations
  • Pull Ups and Chin Ups

Related Muscles. Back muscles that perform similar functions include:

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  • Internal Shoulder Rotation. Turning the upper arm toward the inside.
  • Shoulder Extension. Pulling the upper arm downward from an elevated position.
  • Shoulder Adduction. Pulling the upper arms downward and to the side of the body, from an elevated position; exemplified by the pull-ups or pull-downs exercises.


  • Humerus. Upper arm bone.
  • Intertubercular Groove. The groove between the tubercles (bony protrusions) at the head of the humerus.
  • Proximal. Located closest to the origin.
  • Rotator Cuff. A complex shoulder structure comprised of muscles and tendons, which enables omnidirectional rotary movement (movement in all directions) via the ball-and-socket shoulder joint.
  • Scapula. Shoulder blade.
  • Spinous Process. The portion of each individual vertebra that extends downward and backward, away from the arch. Many back muscles attach at these points.
  • Superior. Above, or higher; located closer to the head, away from the feet.
  • Supraspinous Fossa. The small concave surface in the upper-right corner of the scapula (from the posterior, or rear-view), just above the spine of the scapula.

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