Rhomboid Muscle Anatomy &
Exercises 101: The Upper Back Muscles

This rhomboid muscle lesson covers the functional anatomy and exercises for this back muscle.

It is responsible for retracting the shoulder blades together and rotating them in a downward direction.

It's other notable role is to secure the scapula against thoracic wall, which is located on the area of the back ribs. So it's essential to adequately strengthen these and related muscles, in oreder to prevent injuries that occur from loose, or "winged" scapula.

At the end of this page, you will find a glossary, which defines the less-than-obvious anatomy terminology within this guide.

Use the table of contents (TOC) for immediate navigation between sections of this guide.

Rhomboid Muscle Anatomy

Rhomboid Muscle

Rhomboid Major

  • Origin
    • Spinous Processes of the Thoracic Vertebrae
  • Insertion
    • Inferior Part of the Medial Border of the Scapula
  • Function
    • Scapular Retraction
    • Downward Scapular Rotation

Rhomboid Minor

  • Origin
    • Ligamentum Nuchae of the Spine
    • Spinous Processes of the Cervical Vertebrae
    • Spinous Processes of the Thoracic Vertebrae
  • Insertion
    • Superior Part of the Medial Border of the Scapula
  • Function
    • Scapular Retraction
    • Downward Scapular Rotation

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Rhomboid Muscle Exercises

Exercises. You can achieve plenty of rhomboids work, incidentally, with any of the following exercises:

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Related Muscles. Muscles that perform similar functions include the following:

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Glossary

Functions

  • Downward Scapular Rotation. Lowering the scapula, while also rotating the inferior angle of the scapula medially (i.e. to the inside).
  • Scapular Retraction. Moving the scapulae together.

Anatomy

  • Cervical Vertebrae. The individual back bones of the cervical spine. There are 7 cervical vertebrae, beginning from the base of the skull to the end of the neck region.
  • Inferior. Below, or lower; located closer to the feet, away from the head.
  • Ligamentum Nuchae. A powerful ligament that supports the head without muscular effort. It extends from each spinous process in the cervical spine to the crest on the occipital bone (i.e. occipital crest).
  • Medial. On, or extending toward, the inside.
  • Scapula. Shoulder blade.
  • Spinous Processes. The portion of each individual vertebra that extends downward and backward, away from the arch. Many back muscles attach at these points.
  • Superior. Above, or higher; located closer to the head, away from the feet.
  • Thoracic Vertebrae. The individual back bones of the thoracic spine. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae, beginning from the base of the neck region and extending through the chest and rib area.

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