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Strengthen Your Rhomboids To Rebalance Your Shoulders

Intense contraction of the rhomboids is essential for strengthening and Long Head of the Triceps does just that. By bringing the shoulder blades into full retraction on the upper back (watch for this cue at 0.34 in the video clip below), the alignment of this pose demands that the rhomboids overdo their job, therefore bringing strength to the weakened muscle while dramatically stretching the pectoral muscles and challenging the cervical spine to retain its arrangement over the pelvis in spite of the tendency to jut the chin forward. Finding an aware tadasana stance after the practice of this pose can illuminate the balance between strong rhomboids and open pectorals, as well as imprint proper posture. Practicing this YTU pose will inform the body of the strength and stretch available in these muscle pairs and, over time, will bring the upper back into balance, enabling the upper arms to reside alongside the body, the spine to roll its curves out naturally and the breath to reach down into an open and supple chest – lifting the physical and energetic body upward into correct and inspired posture.

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About This Author

From the start, the practice of yoga did it all for me – fitness, awareness, breath, alignment and clarity of mind. My YogaWorks 200 hour training, with the divine Natasha Rizopolous, provided an exceptional foundation of yogic knowledge from which to learn, teach and cast a wide net for continued study. Yoga Tune Up teacher training refined my lens of understanding to shine it upon the anatomical and corrective aspects for practice – helping students, alongside myself, identify and address postural habits that impair efficient, effective movement in the body. Smooth joints, lean muscles and boosted proprioception make each visit to the mat an individualized, satisfying and fun exploration of the human body in motion and stillness.

10 Responses to “Strengthen Your Rhomboids To Rebalance Your Shoulders”

  1. Christine Colonna says:

    Strong rhomboid are important but creating balance in the shoulder girdle is necessary too. Many people suffer from impingement syndromes of the shoulder due to overactive rhomboids which downwardly rotate the scapula. Strong upper traps and serratus ant are also necessary to create a balanced posture and ensure correct scapula movement with shoulder flexion and abduction activities.

  2. John Menist says:

    With all of the shoulder issues I’ve dealt with in the past, I am always looking for new ways to increase my strength in the supporting areas to relieve any pains that occur, and this exercise is perfect to add to my repertoire! And it’s so interesting to me that by recruiting your triceps in this exercise, you are able to further contract your rhomboids and increase strength in that area to relieve tension in the shoulders and open your chest further.

    Thanks for the info Kate!

  3. Cait says:

    Once again, further proof that our bodies are incredibly interconnected. It’s amazing that to target the tricep you can focus on the rhomboid. As mentioned, this is also logically key for good posture, as the way Jill opens up the chest seems like it will counter the curving of the chest many of us experience while at our desk jobs.

  4. [...] Tune Up® Blog « How To Get The Pop In Your Popliteus Strengthen Your Rhomboids To Rebalance Your Shoulders [...]

  5. Susan says:

    Greatly appreciate the strengthening aspect of this post. Too often yogis focus too much on the lengthening and forget to include strengthening also. thanks!!

  6. Janet says:

    This comes at an incredibly important time, as I just found out the nerve to the long head of my triceps is submitting a very weak signal. Opening up space for that nerve to work by using this exercise is going to help me, I think. Thank you so, so much.

  7. Nancy says:

    Introducing proprioception to my class tonight ! This will be a beauty, unless they have eyes in the back of their heads ! Thanks . Nancy

  8. katie says:

    This one has always been one of my favorites from Jill! Your commentary on it helps me understand it more…I’ve always been one who wants to know “why”. Great blog.

  9. mimi martel says:

    definitely one to recommend to all desk workers … where the rhumboids are lock long, shoulders internally rotated and pecs lock short! even better if they do a bit of rolling before hand !
    the fact that this is an open chain movement definitely bring the full awareness to the muscles more than the joint as when you do it with interdigital hands like in prasarita C!

  10. Helen McAvoy says:

    Love it!!! Proprioception…mmmm!

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Jill Miller, Creator of Yoga Tune Up®

After studying yoga, movement, and the human body for over twenty years, I created Yoga Tune Up® as a simple way to restore my body and mind, keeping me balanced and free of pain. Using a specific and unique set of poses, movements and self massage tools, you too can LIVE BETTER IN YOUR BODY WITH YOGA TUNE UP®.


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