The rhomboids are – wait for it – two rhomboid shaped muscles that lie between the shoulder blades.  I love anatomical terms, they tell it like it is.  Rhomboid Major and Minor connect the medial edge of the scapula to the spinous processes of the spine (those dinosaur-like nubs that stick out the back of your spine). In the complex shoulder joint, they guide retraction(adduction), elevation (think shrugging) and downward rotation of the shoulder blades.  If you read my article on cycling you will know mine live in protraction a lot of the time.  In fact, in our society of computer users and drivers, many  of us are chronically protracted, which means leads to chronic weakeness. These muscles can help up open doors, pick up bags and a ton of other daily tasks.  It’s important to keep them healthy and strong.  YTU Scapula Squeezes bring circulation into the muscle as well as focused movement.  Check out the full Yoga Tune Up® 5 Minute QuickFix for Shoulders Video for more on healthy shoulders and relieving shoulder pain.  Seriously, don’t shrug it off.

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Heidi Broecking

I've been a yoga practitioner for 13 years and took my 200-hour certification in 2010. I received my Level 1 YTU certification with Jill Miller in March of 2011 at the Kripalu Center. When I'm not with my husband and son, I love to geek out on anatomy and ride a road bike, really fast. Providing a science based system of total body fitness, Yoga Tune Up® has provided me a seamless bridge between enhancing my performance and recovery as an athlete. Yoga Tune Up® has also given me greater understanding of mobility and biomechanics as it relates to the practice of Yogasana. YTU inspires curiosity for me as both a teacher and student of Yoga.

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Michelle Officer

Love the Love for the rhomboids! Both geometrically and in the land of YTU! it is an almost daily go to for me with my YTU therapy balls. living in NYC schlepping everything with throughout the day all over this city…the rhomboids need their love! great article, thanks!

Monique Blackman

My rhomboids are often VERY tight- and have a lot of scar tissue from an accident I was in when my car was rear ended a couple of years ago. Thanks for the tips! will definitely try 🙂


Great piece! Many of us during our daily routine keep our scapulae protracted without even realizing it. Since starting my yoga practice, I catch myself through the day in this suboptimal posture- (and my job doesnt involve sitting at a desk using a computer all day)- and apply the corrections using my rhomboids. It feels great and it is a great stretch pulling those shoulder blades together!

Jiin Liang

It is great to meet Rhomboid in your article. Recently, I have been practice Chatturanga, which, among many other muscular actions, engages Rhomboid for its actions in Scapula retraction/addction and downward rotation. I am including Rhomboid in my mantra of keeping an upright torso!


Sooooo many of us could benefit from Rhomboid love. The “protracted shoulder” syndrome seems to be systemic in our modern culture. The majority of the Yoga Tune Up shoulder treatments would go far to balance the Rhomboids and give more of us the victorious chest that points to a healthier back, improved breathing efficiency, and flat out better looks!


Had to laugh at the start of the article because it is so kind of anatomy to give us straightforward terms for all of the many parts of the body. QUadriceps? Oh! got it 4. Subscapularis? Oh I see! Below the scap. So very helpful. As for those rhomboids, im pretty sure my left rhomboid needs some serious reverse shrugging/ retraction. May just be a good time to isolate my bag-lifting and door opening to the left arm.

silvia marisol

Exactly, I SO love it when the muscles have a name that is SO EASY to remember and obvious! Rhomboid muscles are that rhomboid shape we studied in geometry; like a rectangle that got squeezed down and it tips over! I really appreciate the strength and limberness of my rhomboids and shoulder muscle group as I need to lift up and carry all these bags to class.


I think the combination of spinal flexion and rhomboid protraction can really do a number on us. It’s so hard to remember the extend the spine, retract the shoulder combination…

Kate Kuss

I never thought to retract my shoulder blades while typing but that helps with my overall posture. Thanks!


Thanks Vrinda! Long head of the Tricep is one of my go-to YTU exercises for my students who are cyclists. See the sister article “Tri a Little Tenderness”.

Vrinda Eapen

Go Heidi! Retract those Rhomboids and be freeee!! Well, not quite but you could try the ‘ Long head of tricep arms’ YTU exercise whic encourages retratcion and extension of the shoulders. Really pops those babies back in.