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The rhomboids are a two-headed muscle group located in the middle to upper back region. The upper head is known as the rhomboid minor, the lower, the rhomboid major. The rhomboids primarily function to adduct the scapula (shoulder blade), a movement in which you move your shoulder blades back. The movement is also referred to as scapular retraction. By performing resistance exercises that involve this movement, you will target the rhomboids. After several months of regular exercise, you will induce hypertrophy, or muscular growth in the middle to upper back region. This muscle mass increase may not be so apparent: The rhomboids are a small muscle group, and their location is deep, lying underneath the middle trapezius of the back.
Bent-Over Dumbbell Row
Stand with your torso parallel to the ground and knees bent. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand in an overhand grip and with your elbows extended. Turn your forearms to a semipronated position, so your wrists are facing one another.
Raise the dumbbells to the sides of your torso by adducting (bringing back) your scapula and flexing (bending) your elbows.
Lower the dumbbells down to the initial position by protracting (bringing forward) your scapula and extending (straightening) your elbows.
Seated Machine Row
Sit on the machine, place your feet on the floor, and put your chest up against the upright machine pad. Hold the machine handles using an overhand grip with your hands and with your forearms in a semipronated position. Straighten your arms out.
Adduct your scapula and flex your elbows until the machine handles are by the sides of your torso.
Protract your scapula and extend your elbows until the machine handles are returned to the start.
Seated Machine Scapular Retraction
Sit on the machine with your feet on the ground and with your chest against the machine pad. Grasp the machine handles with an overhand grip and with your forearms turned to a semipronated position. Straighten your arms and keep them in this position throughout the movement.
Adduct your scapula, moving the machine handles slightly toward your torso.
Protract your scapula, moving the machine handles forward to the beginning position.
- Use a heavy-enough resistance that allows you to do no more than 12 repetitions when doing the exercises for the rhomboids. This is important for maximizing the stimulation of the larger type IIb muscle fibers and to promote hypertrophy.