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Effective Strengthening Exercises For Teres Major And Teres Minor

Teres major and teres minor are two muscles in your back, located in your shoulder area. They are smaller than other upper back muscles such ...

by Jessica Bennet

This article was created after thorough research and has been improved with the assistance of AI technology. Furthermore, our dedicated editorial team has meticulously fact-checked and polished its content for accuracy and clarity.

Teres major and teres minor are two muscles in your back, located in your shoulder area. They are smaller than other upper back muscles such as the latissimus dorsi, or trapezius. So, they often get neglected in many popular workout routines. However, they are crucial in improving your strength, stability, and definition of your upper back. 

In this article, we will see some exercises you can do to strengthen your teres major and minor so that you can have a healthy and more defined upper back. We will also explore how to train your teres major with dumbbells. Before hitting your gym and just adding more weight to your bars, read this article and find out some of the easiest ways to improve your upper body strength. 

Top Strengthening Exercises For Ters Major And Teres Minor 

Teres major is a thicker muscle that helps to extend and internally rotate your arm. It is sometimes called “lat’s little helper” because it works alongside the latissimus dorsi muscle (the lat’s). Whereas, teres minor is a smaller muscle that helps externally rotate the arm and stabilize the shoulder joint. It is a part of the “rotator cuff” muscles. 

Teres Major And Teres Minor Strengthening Exercises

Both teres major and teres minor are important for your shoulders’ movement, flexibility, and strength. Overuse and repetitive motion of weak teres muscles can cause strain and injuries.

Here are some of the best exercises you can add to your workout routine to strengthen your teres major and teres minor muscles. 

  1. Dumbbell Pullover
    One common question regarding Teres Major is, “How Do You Train a Teres Major with Dumbbells?” the answer is dumbbell pullovers. Lie across a bench face up, supporting only your neck and upper back. Hold one dumbbell with both hands in a way that the weight plate(s) faces you. Use your core muscles to slowly lower your arms without bending your elbow. Reach as far as you can and come back to the initial position. Repeat this workout for 10 – 20 times.
  2. Face Pulls
    Stand firmly on the ground and pull the cable towards your face while keeping your elbows close to your body. You can either attach a resistance band or the cable machine for this exercise. This can target both the teres major and the latissimus dorsi muscles of your body.
  3. Inverted Raw
    To do this exercise, set a barbell or a pull-up bar slightly above your hands can reach. Lie down face up and grab the bar with an overhand grip, so that your whole body other than your heels is above the ground. Keep your hands about shoulder width apart and start pulling yourself up, till your chest touches the bar. Then, lower your body back slowly and repeat the exercise.
  4. Pull Ups
    Grab onto the pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Make sure that your hands are about shoulder width apart and pull your chest towards the bar. Pull as high as you can and hold for a moment before returning to the starting position. Repeat for desired reps.
  5. Chin Ups
    Grab the pull-up bar with an underhand grip, arms shoulder-width apart. Pull your chest as close to the bar as you can, hold the position for a moment, and come back to the initial position. Repeat the process for desired reps. 

The above strengthening exercises for teres major and teres minor muscles will also work for multiple muscle groups including other neighboring shoulder muscles. Remember to start light and gradually increase the reps as you get more stronger. Try to follow proper posture with the help of tutorial videos or by asking the instructor to avoid injury.

If you have any pain or discomfort, stop the exercise and get the help of a medical professional immediately. 

Also Read: Can You Mix Creatine With Pre-workout? Is It Better? Check!

How Do You Fix A Teres Minor Muscle?

Like any other muscle teres minor is also susceptible to strains, injuries, inflammations, and other diseases. Factors such as overuse of the muscle, sudden exposure to intense force, repetitive stress, physical injuries, poor workout posture, and underlying medical conditions can be the cause of teres minor related problems which can lead to pain, discomfort, reduced flexibility, mobility, etc. You can reduce the risks of these conditions by strengthening your teres minor muscles. 

If you are experiencing any discomfort or pain in your upper back, consult a healthcare professional for further diagnosis. Depending on the severity of your condition, the treatments may include rest, topical creams, pain medications, physical therapy, and surgery. This is also applicable for injuries related to Teres major.

Also Read: Leg Press Vs. Hack Squat: Understanding The Differences


Teres major and teres minor are two important muscles in the back of your upper body that support the strength and stability of your shoulder. Since they are smaller muscles when compared to others in the shoulder region, they often get neglected in many of the workout routines, which can lead to back pain and discomfort.

In this article, we have explored some of the exercises you can do to strengthen your teres major and minor muscles, which include dumbbell pullovers, face pulls, inverted raw, pull-ups, and chin-ups. 

Many factors including overuse, and improper posture can lead to strains and injuries of teres muscles. Start light and ask for help from trainers at least in the beginning to avoid any risks related to overdoing or poor form. Here is hoping for healthy and more defined back muscles. 

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