Rhomboid Stretching Exercises

rhomboid muscle stretches
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Just like my post on how to stretch the piriformis muscle, I wanted to write another tutorial on how to stretch an often-ignored muscle group that can get sore and ache after long periods of sitting at a desk.  The rhomboid muscle also can hurt due to strange sleeping positions, heavy lifting, carrying a backpack, and poor posture.  Lucky for you, I have some great rhomboid stretching exercises that will feel great, reduce the soreness, and increase flexibility!  Continue reading to learn more about how to stretch this smaller, but important muscle group.


Before I demonstrate any rhomboid stretching exercises, you need to know what and where it is:

The Rhomboid Musclesrhomboid stretching exercises

Locations:  These “A-shaped” muscles extend down from the bottom of the neck out to the edges of the shoulder blades, not exceeding the lower part of your upper back.  They attach your inner shoulders to your spine.

Functions:  Posture is the most obvious function.  They support the scapula muscles which move the neck, and are critical for your inner shoulder and upper back support.

Common Problems:  Poor posture is the most common and apparent problem.  This is a habit that can be fixed with practice, but it is hard for people who sit at desks for long periods of time, carry backpacks, or have repetitive motions like heavy lifting at work.



Rhomboid Stretching Exercises

Neck-Shoulder-Arm Stretch on Wall

rhomboid muscle stretches

Step 1:  Stand with your side next to a wall.

Step 2:  Lift your arm, and place your palm flat against it so it is slightly above your head.

Step 3:  Slowly turn your chest further away from the wall to begin feeling a stretch in your shoulders and upper arm.

Step 4:  Slowly tilt your head in the same direction as your chest.  You should feel more stretching in your neck and inner-back now.

Step 5:  Hold this position for 20-30 seconds before slowly returning to a normal position.  You may need to lift or lower your hand to increase or decrease the stretch.

Step 6:  Repeat with the other arm.



Neck-Shoulder-Arm Pull

rhomboid muscle stretches

Step 1:  Stand in front of something very sturdy and upright, like a flagpole, door, doorframe, etc.

Step 2:  Grip the right side of the object with your left hand, and the left side of the object with your right hand.  One arm will be on top of the other.

Step 3:  Slowly lean your upper body back to begin feeling the rhomboid stretch.  DO NOT lean to much.  You want to feel a gentle stretch.

Step 4:  Slowly tilt your head downward toward your arms.

Step 5:  Hold this position for 20-30 seconds before slowly returning to a normal position.

Step 6:  Switch your upper and lower arms and repeat.

NOTE:  If you don’t have access to a doorframe or sturdy object, you can still do this same motion by simply pushing forward.


Rotator Cuff Stretch

rhomboid muscle stretches

Step 1:  Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart.

Step 2:  Reach one outstretched arm across your chest and grab its elbow with your opposite hand.

Step 3:  Use the shoulder of your bent arm (the one that’s doing the “holding”) to gently pull the stretched arm inwards toward your upper chest.  Your arm and hand should only be supporting the stretched arm – your shoulder is doing the pulling work.

Step 4:  Hold this position for 20-30 seconds before slowly lowering your arms back down.

Step 5:  Repeat for the other arm.



Supine Cross-Over Stretch

rhomboid muscle stretches

I have to say, this stretch feels AMAZING for many other muscle groups too!  It has many great uses.

Step 1:  Find enough floor space so you can lie down on your back with your arms and legs outstretched.

Step 2:  Arms outstretched fully to your sides, place your palms flat on the floor

Step 3:  Slowly lift one leg up and bend at the knee for a 90-degree angle.

Step 4:  Slowly move your bent leg over to the other side of your body as far as it can comfortably go.

Step 5:  Now, slowly turn your neck in the opposite direction of your bent leg.  You will feel an amazing stretch from your neck all through your spine, as well as your buttocks, hamstrings, shoulders and arms.

Step 6:  Hold this position for 20-30 seconds.

Step 7:  Slowly return your head so you’re look up at the ceiling, and then slowly bring your bent leg back up above your body, and then lower it back to its original position on the floor.

Step 8:  Repeat this motion for the other side.


Bodyweight Row Scapular Pulls

rhomboid muscle stretches

This rhomboid stretching exercise can be done with a sturdy table, but it’s best if you have a dip bar station or low pull-up bar.

Step 1:  Grip the low bar, palms facing away from you.  For dip bars, just grip them normally.

Step 2:  Lower your body so your arms are outstretched, and move your feet forward so you are at about a 45-degree lateral angle.

Step 3:  With this supported hang, slowly lift and lower your body using only your shoulder muscles.  Both lowered and raised positions should be held for about 2 seconds each.

Step 4:  Complete 10-15 reps.


Superman Holds

rhomboid muscle stretches

Step 1:  Find enough floor space so you can lie down on your stomach with your arms and legs outstretched.

Step 2:  Arms outstretched fully to your sides, place your palms flat on the floor

Step 3:  Lift your head up as much as you can to look forward.

Step 4:  Lift your arms and legs as if you were flying like a superhero, and hold that position for at least 2 seconds.

Step 5:  Lower your arms and legs back to the floor and rest for another 2 seconds or so.

Step 6:  Complete 10-15 reps.

rhomboid muscle stretches

ALTERNATIVE SUPERMAN HOLD:  you can do the same motion with your arms outstretched past your head, instead of at your sides.  Give a thumbs up sign with each hand, and do the same motions as above.



Rhomboid Stretching Exercises – Improve Posture and Reduce Soreness!

Rhomboid stretching exercises are easy to do no matter where you are, and they are so important because they can help get rid of aches and pains when you do them regularly.  Do you have to do all of the exercises I demonstrate in this post?  Of course not – pick your favorites and do them with your workouts, during the workday, or while you watch TV!  This small but valuable muscle group is ignored too often, so make sure you don’t forget your rhomboid stretching exercises.

Do you have any of your own rhomboid stretching exercises?  Let me know in the comments below!



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