Original Editor - Naomi O'Reilly

Lead Editors - Naomi O'Reilly, Ilona Malkauskaite, Kim Jackson and Kai A. Sigel  


The Rhomboids are two muscles - Rhomboid Major & Rhomboid Minor. The two rhomboids lie deep to trapezius to form parallel bands that pass inferolaterally from the vertebrae to the medial border of the scapula. Rhomboid Major is thin and flat and twice as wide as the thicker Rhomboid Minor which lies superior to it. Usually there is a small space between both rhomboid muscles, however in some cases one may find one single blended muscle instead.


Rhomboid Major & Minor Scapular Muscles

Origin & Insertion


Proximal Attachment


Distal Attachment

Rhomboid Major Spinous Processes T2-T5 Medial Border of Scapula from Level of Spine to Inferior Angle
Rhomboid Minor Nuchal Ligament
Spinous Processes C7 & T1
Triangular Area
Medial End of Scapular Spine


Rhomboid Major

Nerve Supply

Arising from the anterior ventral ramus of the C5 Root of the Brachial Plexus

Occasionally with additional contribution from the C4 Nerve Root.

  • Dorsal Scapular Nerve (C5)

Blood Supply

  • Dorsal Scapular Artery



  • Scapular Retraction
  • Scapular Elevation
  • Scapular Rotation Inferiorly to Depress Glenoid Cavity
  • Assist Serratus Anterior to Fix Scapula to Thoracic Wall and Fix Scapula during movements of the upper limb
Scapular Movement

Strength Testing


Trigger Point Referral Pattern

The referral pattern of the Rhomboids is not as widely distributed but local to the muscles. The pain generally extends from the edge of the shoulder blades to the spine. Since the Rhomboids on both sides are almost always affected, this is a primary source of mid back tightness or aching between the shoulder blades.[4]




Palpated together. Covered by trapezius so need to relax trapezius by placing hand in small of back. Palpate along vertebral border by placing fingers under it. Have patient lift hand off back (with resistance if needed) and the rhomboids push fingers out. 


  • Massage & Myofascial Release
  • Exercise Prescription
  • Stretching
  • Foam Rolling
  • Taping


  1. Anatomy Online Course. Rhomboid Major. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_RvgWQj_DQ [last accessed 19/03/2015]
  2. http://brentbrookbush.com/rhomboids/
  3. Manual Muscle Testing Rhomboids. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4slWVLd4aj4
  4. http://www.pressurepointer.com/Rhomboid_trigger_points.htm
  5. Texas Massage Education. Rhomboids. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rph0_lwn3DY [last accessed 27/05/2015]
  6. Texas Massage Education. Rhomboids. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zqpgr3zn9uA [last accessed 27/05/2015]
  7. Massage Sloth.Massage Turorial: Rhomboids. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9AvpcYNerg [last accessed 27/05/2015]
  8. eHowFitness. What Exercises Can Strengthen the Rhomboids?: Fitness Advice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jkbxsSamo8 [last accessed 27/05/2015]
  9. Myclinicspace. Shoulder Series - Rhomboid Strengthening https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTPSqazRgSQ [last accessed 27/05/2015]
  10. Green Chiropractic Clinic. How to stretch the Rhomboid Muscles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJOzZ3GRuJg [last accessed 27/05/2015]
  11. jjaimedc. Stretches: Mid-Back (Rhomboids). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFhzvbDyQVQ [last accessed 27/05/2015]
  12. Nowcast. How to Foam Roll your Rhomboids. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUXnptJLG4g [last accessed 27/05/2015]
  13. Robb Beams Foam Roller - Rhomboids. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDrOnY_RSrY [last accessed 27/05/2015]
  14. John Gibbons. How to treat thoracic Back Pain and Rhomboids using Kinesiology Taping. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jey-TYJRZAo [last accessed 27/05/2015]