Monday, 31 March 2014


A PAIR OF MUSCLES: Major & Minor (BFFs!)

These upper back muscles sit on an angle between your spine and your shoulder blade!* There is RHOMBOID MAJOR and just above (and about half its size) is RHOMBOID MINOR:
* More specifically:

RHOMBOID MAJOR attaches to the 2nd through 5th thoracic vertebrae (T2-T5) > crossing at a downward angle and attaching to the MEDIAL (inside) border of the SCAPULA (shoulder blade)

**even more specifically > between the root of the spine of the scapula & the inferior angle of the scapula**

*RHOMBOID MINOR sits above Major > attaching to vertebrae (spine) C7-T1 
> C7 is the last vertebrae of neck bones > & T1 is the first vertebrae of the thoracic spine.


 When contracted, both Rhomboid Major & Minor work together to perform THREE different muscle actions.  All actions are moving the SCAPULA (shoulderblade) at the SCAPULOTHORACIC JOINTS (across the back of the ribcage) aka S/T joint
(but can also be referred to as S/C joints >aka SCAPULO-COSTAL joints (costal meaning ribs))

The 3 actions are:

1-RETRACTION of the scapula at the s/t joints (shoulderblades intending towards the spine (centerline of body) >causing chest to open)

2-ELEVATION of the scapula at the s/t joints (this looks like a shoulder-shrug)

3-DOWNWARD ROTATION of the scapula at the s/t joints (pointed corner of shoulderblade (looks like an upside-down triangle) swings down and in toward the spine (centerline of body))

Most of us are battle posture issues like rounded shoulders and head forward, the more we hunch over - the more this encourages muscle imbalance.  Chest muscles get tight, we round forward causing our shoulder blade to sit further and further away from each other!  Poor RHOMBOIDS get over-stretched, contracting becomes difficult and rhomboids become weak.
Here is an easy way to fight this muscle imbalance! And all you need is a wall!


- begin by squatting slightly with your back against the wall, heels of feet are not touching the wall > knees softly bent, knees & ankles aligned (without knee bending forward past ankle!) What IS touching the wall is your bum and upper back.

-then place backs of your arms against the wall in a 90/90 degree position which looks like the "don't shoot!" position - see picture :) this is the FIRST position

- next you will slowly raise your arms together whilst keeping your elbows and backs of hands flat against the wall.(they may want to 'lift off' you'll see ;)

-Remember to contract your back muscles at the same time, intending shoulder blades to touch (intending, not forcing)
MOVE SLOWLY to avoid injury. Know your limits and trust your intuition.  If you feel shaking that's okay it means your rhomboids need this! If its difficult then your rhomboids probably need this! If discomfort crosses that line into pain/the threat of injury) slowly lower arms and back out.

Repeat this up and down motion nice and slow - like!  For strengthening I like to recommend 10 reps x 3 sets or until muscles feel exhausted. 

DO THIS EVERY DAY TO ENCOURAGE A happy and balanced posture! *note there will most likely be a sore muscle/transition period if these muscles are not used to working so much ;) warm epsom salt baths. rest and drinking lots of water will help speed along this muscle soreness ;)

I love showing this one to my clients because I feel it doubles as a chest opener as well! - time management!

Show your Rhomboids some love today!