I bet you’ve heard of your rhomboids before, but do you really know where they are?  You probably do because if you ever get a massage this is an area people love to have rubbed.  The rhomboids are in the upper back between the shoulder blades and the spine.  They are just beneath your traps.  The rhomboids starts at the very bottom most vertebrae of the neck and continues part way down the thoracic spine, stopping  at the 4th vertebrae below the neck.

We have a rhomboid major and a rhomboid minor.  The name comes from the shape—basically they are a parallelogram (remember that word from geometry?).  Opposite sides are the same length and the angles are oblique.  Picture a squished square.

But what do they do?

When we retract the shoulder blades (think pulling your shoulder blades toward each other), the rhomboids are one of two muscles that help with that.  They also help elevate the shoulder blade (think of a shoulder shrug) and finally they downwardly rotate the scapula.  Imagine someone flapping their arms like wings.  If you were to watch their back you could see the bottom of their scapula move. When their arm goes up the bottom moves toward the outside of their body.  When the arm goes down the bottom moves toward the spine.  That movement toward the spine is called downward rotation of the scapula.

Many of us have tired, weak rhomboids—a symptom of sitting hunched over at computers and desks all day, but exercise, movement and massage can help keep healthy, happy rhomboids.