6 Rhomboid Exercises for Better Posture
If your parents ever told you to “stand up straight,” they wanted you to pay attention to your posture. The way we stand or sit can indicate how well our body will perform physically and reveal lurking weaknesses.
When we have a poor postural alignment, this drastically increases our risk for potential injuries in the back, neck, and shoulder. Poor posture also can cause muscular imbalances and atrophy.
Our rhomboid, along with the muscles of the posterior shoulder, help us maintain a healthy posture.
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They are located on the upper back underneath your traps. If you have overdeveloped chest muscles or you have shoulders that roll forward, your rhomboids potentially are lagging. They aid in pulling the scapula down and back, providing stability for your shoulders.
#1 Scapular Wall Slides
These may take some time before you are mobile enough to do these but keep at them.
Lean up and flatten your back against the wall with a slight bend in the knee.
Extend your arms above your head with your palms facing away from the wall. This is going to be your starting position. Squeeze the muscles in your midback as you slide your arms down towards your shoulders. You should keep the back of your palms, wrist, and elbows pressed against the wall throughout the move.
Bring your arms down slightly lower than shoulder height and hold for a two-second count. Slide your arms back up to your starting point and repeat.
#2 - Bent Over Lateral Raise
Bent over lateral raises are great for building proper shoulder development if performed correctly.
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart with knees slightly bent.
Grab a pair of dumbbells and hip hinge to about 45 degrees — you need to be bent over, but not completely parallel to the ground.
With slightly bent elbows, raise your arms out to your sides (roughly parallel to the ground) & squeeze your shoulder blades together. Slowly lower the weight to your starting position. Focus on not shrugging the weight upward, but instead using your scaps and mid-back musculature.
This is an exercise than can be performed incorrectly very quickly if the weight becomes too heavy or one is not focused during the movement.
#3 - Incline Pull Ups
Use a low horizontal bar about two to three feet off of the ground. A Smith machine or squat rack works best.
Slide under the bar and grab it with both hands about shoulder-width apart & facing away from you. Your feet are together.
Tighten your core and glutes so you can pull yourself up. Do not let your elbows flare excessively or use momentum to reach the top. Position yourself under the bar so when at the top of the movment, your chest is touching the bar.
#4 - Scapular Retraction
Set up the Smith machine or squat rack like you did for incline pull-ups. Instead of performing a pull-up, you are going to keep your arms straight.
This will take a little time to get used to, but you will notice that you can raise yourself up and down about two to three inches through protracting and retracting your scapulas/shoulder blades. You aren’t rowing, you aren’t pulling yourself up and your are not excessively flexing or extending your elbows.
Hold the retraction for one to two seconds.
#5 - Deadlift
Deadlifts are great for building overall body mass, but you can get a yoked back if you perform the movement properly.
Stand with the bar over your midfoot and your feet just inside shoulder-width. Hinge at the hip and grab the bar keeping a neutral spine & braced core, pull your shoulders down & back and drive your feet throw the floor.
#7 - Face Pulls
Face pulls are another great exercise because it activates all the musculature of the poster shoulder and mid back.
Grab the two hand tricep rope and set the pulley machine slightly above your face. Think about pulling the center of the 2 pulleys to your nose while externally rotating your hands.