7 Rhomboid Exercises You Should Try
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 joints and muscles work together.
When we have a poor posture alignment, this leads to common problems a lot of us deal with — back, neck, and shoulder pain. Poor posture also can cause muscle imbalances, weakness, and muscle atrophy.
Our rhomboid muscles help us maintain a healthy posture.
Related - How to Build a Big Beautiful Back
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 will play a big part in your posture. They pull our shoulder blades together and also rotates your scapular in a downward direction, providing stability for your shoulders.
Many of us have jobs that require us to sit over a keyboard or in a position that causes poor posture. If you’re on the phone a lot, you may suffer from poor posture.
Try these seven rhomboid exercises for a healthier, stronger, more defined back.
#1 Scapular Wall Slides
These may take some time before you are mobile enough to do these but keep at them.
Lean up against a wall and flatten your back against the wall. Leave your knees bent slightly so they aren’t fully locked.
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 one or 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 some boulder shoulders. Your rear delts are often undertrained and along with your rhomboids, need some work.
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and leave your 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.
Bring your arms out to your sides and pull your elbows up and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Slowly lower the weight to your starting position.
Repeat for reps and focus on maintaining a quality contraction and keep the tempo slow for a longer time under tension.
#3 - Incline Pull Ups
Incline pull-ups are great because you can use your own body weight to perform this. This exercise will train your rhomboids as well as other shoulder and upper back muscles.
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.
Tighten your core and glutes so you can pull yourself up.
#4 - Front Raise With Thumbs Up
Lie down on your stomach on a mat or bench. Keep your feet out behind you shoulder-width apart and point your arms straight out above you with your thumbs up in the air.
This is going to be your starting position.
Exhale and raise your arms up straight while you keep them fully extended. Keep your head glued to the bench, so keep your torso and lower body glued to the mat also.
If these are hard for you, that’s okay. Keep working on getting the best range of motion you can and you will improve your mobility.
#5 - 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. You aren’t rowing, you aren’t pulling yourself up.
Hold the retraction for one to two seconds.
#6 - Deadlifts
Deadlifts are great for building overall body mass, but you can get a yoked back if you deadlift more.
Stand with your feet about half-way under the bar and around shoulder-width apart. Bend over and grab the bar, loading your posterior chain, and rip that weight off of the floor.
The deadlift is a technical lift and in order for you to get the most benefit out of deadlifts, check out this article on how to deadlift. You’ll learn how to set up properly and improve your deadlift.
#7 - Face Pulls
Face pulls are another great exercise because it is another rear delt and trap workout. Your rhomboids are just a bonus.
Grab the two hand tricep rope and set the pulley machine on the highest setting. You could also use a pull-down machine.
You don’t need to use heavy weight — the quality of your contractions and time under tension matter more.