These exercises will work to add size and definition to your back.
Too often do we focus on our front and unfortunately neglect a seriously vital component to the make-up of our entire body. We love pushing our pecs to pop, rounding out those boulder shoulders, working on those bulging biceps and horseshoe-shaped triceps, and leaning down to expose a shredded six-pack. But our backs need love to and working on back muscles can have real effect on our physique but other areas of our physical health and wellness that can boost our gains and performance results to the next level.
Your back muscles are beyond important when it comes to things like balance, support, and posture. So many of us suffer from rounded shoulders, caving in towards our chest as a result of slumping and slouching and not standing up straight. We all know how important posture is. So why do we continue to neglect the muscle groups that can help us? Back strength and the development and definition of our backs is so important for many of our physical functions, so let’s stop and take a second and look at some awesome back exercises.
In this case, we’ll focus on rhomboid exercises as we tell you what they are, some of the great benefits, and exercises to really work those muscles to grow. Able to help in a number of ways, your rhomboids will prove to be quite helpful.
What Exactly Are Your Rhomboids?
Your rhomboids are two fairly small back muscles located in the upper back. These two are called the rhomboid major and rhomboid minor. They run diagonally and work to connect your shoulder blades to your spine. So, while they may be small, their role is quite important.
Other back muscles like your traps and lats tends to pop more and add to your physique, but your rhomboids are humble muscles, far less prominent in your back than it’s larger counterparts. What your rhomboids do is they work to bring your shoulder blades together, as well as raising and lowering your shoulders. Essentially, they are connectors but also great supporters and stabilizers for muscles and movements within your back (1).
Benefits Of Strong Rhomboids
The benefits of rhomboids may be a bit more subtle and not as noticeable, but they are still incredibly important nonetheless. The goal is to keep you physically healthy and safe and training your rhomboids can prove to be very much worth your while.
- Support movement: These muscles work to connect and support your shoulder blades, as well as other movements so each exercise and activity can be done smoothly (2).
- Promote better posture: Posture is so key in keeping us engaged and lifting big while also boosting our confidence. Having solid rhomboids will really work to pull those shoulders back and down to improve posture.
- Help prevent injury: Like many strong muscles, having them can prevent injury. When the muscle is weak, it leaves the door open for minor pains and strains to grow leading to injury. Don’t let the vulnerability affect your goals (3).
- Strengthen back: Working any muscle in the back will enhance strength and this is very important when looking to maximize gains.
Best Rhomboid Exercises For Growth & Definition
Front Raise Thumbs Up
Lying on your stomach, put your arms out above you with your thumbs into the air. Keeping your torso and lower body on the ground, engage your core and raise your arms overhead, really feeling a squeeze in your shoulder blades. Pause at the top and lower back to the starting position. Repeat for your desired number of reps.
Prone Lateral Raise
Lie on your stomach and hold a dumbbell in your hands. The weight should be fairly light. With your arms extended out beside you, lift and squeeze your shoulder blades keeping your arms perpendicular to your torso. Pause at the top and lower back to the starting position. Repeat for your desired number of reps.
Set your rope attachment to the cable machine and stand in a neutral stance. Take some steps back until your arms are completely straight and engage your core. With your chest high, pull the weight towards your face and don’t let your elbows drop. When the rope is close to your forehead, pause for a moment and return to the starting position.
Barbell Bent Over Rows
Hold the barbell in a pronated position and slightly bend your knees. Bend at the waist until your back is parallel to the floor. Lift the barbell to your chest, really feeling a squeeze in your back muscles and return to the starting position. Repeat for your desired number of reps.
Stand against a wall ensuring your butt, back, arms, and head are all touching the wall. In a controlled manner, raise your arms over your head without breaking contact on the wall. Only go as far as your body will let you and gently slide up and down your desired amount of reps.
Arm Across The Chest
A classic stretch for all athletes, stand tall and cross one arm across your chest. With your other arm, slide it under and grab your shoulder, cupping it with your hand. Really give a squeeze as you extend the arm out and repeat with the other side.
Having a strong back is essential and something we absolutely cannot overlook. The benefits to our physical health being stability and support on top of a massive physique and increased confidence should be enough to get you to want to work these muscles hard.
Your rhomboids may be small but you cannot overlook them. Give these rhomboids exercise a try and see what they can do for you. From warm-ups, to workouts, to stretches, all of your bases are covered with some great and worthwhile exercises to see great growth.
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*Images courtesy of Envato
- Fennell, Jeremy; Phadke, Chetan P.; Mochizuki, George; Ismail, Farooq; Boulias, Chris (2016). “Shoulder Retractor Strengthening Exercise to Minimize Rhomboid Muscle Activity and Subacromial Impingement”. (source)
- Williams, Martin R. Jr.; Hendricks, Dustin S.; Dannen, Michael J.; Arnold, Andrea M.; Lawrence, Michael A. (2020). “Activity of Shoulder Stabilizers and Prime Movers During an Unstable Overhead Press”. (source)
- Lieberman, Raquel L.; Wolfe, Michael S. (2007). “From rhomboid function to structure and back again”. (source)