If you have not been following a long I have been discussing the beginning stages of what some may consider as an epidemic; “postural syndrome.” So far we have addressed two very important groups of muscles that are necessary for proper postural alignment. If you missed these posts simply click on the links to catch up (click here for Part 1, Part 2). It is important to not that these changes however do not just affect the head and neck but rather the entire spine. Moving down now to the mid-back we will begin to discuss the Rhomboids.
As discussed previously, many of us develop these postural changes due to our daily lifestyles. It is important to continue to stretch and strengthen these muscles, as many of our daily habits are fighting against proper posture; remain patient! In the image to the left we see the relative change in weight of the head due to the “slumped” posture. This position will pull he shoulders forward neurologically inhibiting the Rhomboid’s. The rhomboids are composed of a major and a minor. They are responsible for scapular retraction (pinching the shoulder blades together) and rotation of the scapula (the opposite of the picture to the left.) The rhomboids are very important for scapulothoracic rhythm ( raising your arm above your head without impingement) so Cross-Fitter’s tune in! Many people will develop rotator cuff issues due to inactivity of these muscles. Pay attention to how you are sitting currently, you will probably notice that your shoulders are pulled forward. This position means that the rhomboids are not currently active. The issue with this is over-time many of us will adapt this posture no matter what the position, seated or standing, walking, running, working-out etc. This is a recipe for disaster for anyone who is actively into working out. In fact, many of you probably do not even know how to properly contract your rhomboids. With over activity of the upper trapezius and levator scapulae the rhomboids often forget how to work properly so it is important to include rhomboid work into your routine on a weekly basis even after you have began to notice improvements in your posture.
Corrective Exercise to Activate and Strengthen the Rhomboids:
Scapular Setting- Perform 3 sets, 10 reps 1x/ day (see picture below for example)
- – Place your arms at your side and your palms down.
-Pull your shoulders back and down. Hold this contracted position for 2-3 seconds, then relax and repeat.
-If done correctly, you will notice a contraction in between your shoulder blades.
- – Once you have learned to properly do this exercise you can, you can apply these same principles to other more complex back exercises such as a seated row.
Stay Tuned for next weeks post when I will the discuss a commonly over-active muscle that is a common cause of neurological problems; the Pectorals.
If you would like to have your posture professionally evaluated and develop a plan that will meet your specific needs Click Here to schedule a consultation.