Rhomboid’s…Part 8 of the grumbly muscle blog…
What are they?
They’re actually two muscles, rhomboid major and rhomboid minor, you have two each side and they sit underneath the trapezius muscle. They are important scapula (shoulder blade) stabilisers but when they’re not very happy, they can cause us sharp pain in the area between the shoulder blades from trigger points which are extremely irritable areas of muscle with heightened sensitivity. These trigger points can also refer pain away from the origin of pain.
What do they do?
They primarily help you squeeze your shoulder blades together but also help elevate the shoulder blade and downwardly rotate the shoulder blade when you are moving your arm. Lastly, they work with serratus anterior to suck the scapula to the ribcage during arm movements.
Rhomboid Minor comes from C7 and T1 (spine) and attaches to the upper medial border of the scapula (shoulder blade).
Rhomboid Major comes from T2 – T5 (spine) and attaches to the rest of the medial border of the scapula beneath rhomboid minor.
Why do they get grumbly?
Poor posture is one of the primary reasons. We have large strong muscles at the front of our bodies, the pectoral muscles (pecs) and latissimus dorsi (lats), and while they come from the posterior, they go under the arm and attach close to the pecs on the humerus (the arm) and together contribute to rounded shoulders, placing the rhomboids on a stretch… and stretched muscles are weakened muscles.
They are the muscles that help us row, so throwing and punching can cause strains and tears.
What can we do about it?
- Strengthen them but stretch off pecs and lats at the same time.
- Consciously improving posture (pulling your shoulder blades together).
- Massage or soft tissue release.
- Foam roll.